People often ask me the same questions: “How do I lose weight ?”, “Should I be on a high or low protein diet to lose and maintain my weight ?” or the classic one: “Why do I put all that weight back on that I lost a year or two ago when I went on a diet?”

For most people, the word “diet” usually implies some type of short-term weight loss program, but in reality should be considered a lifelong approach to using the correct foods to improve and maintain a healthy life. I am not a big fan of ‘diets’, but believe that a long term sensible and healthy eating approach holds the true key to maintaining the correct weight you desire.

I have an interesting weight-loss advertisement from a 1930s St Louis (USA) newspaper stating: “Are You Too Fat?” Back then there was no pc about your body size; you were simply “FAT”. Most people did not have the weight issues back then as we have today. Those were the days before junk foods and computers. Many worked harder and money was real tight, especially back in the ’30s, but funnily enough – obesity was rare back then. Today we rarely even so much as raise an eyebrow because being overweight and obesity are so commonplace. Are you overweight or obese? I was shocked to hear that 800,000 Kiwis are classified as “FAT” or obese these days.

And now some experts talk about people having “fat genes”, what a cop out. The only fat genes I see are the ones that 800,000 NZers don’t fit into anymore!

Do you feel too FAT yourself? Don’t be hard on yourself; your self-esteem is, in my opinion, a key point in turning your weight around. Feel good enough about yourself to make the right decisions regarding your diet and lifestyle – and do it long enough to see the results, a NEW you. OR – feel bad about yourself – and “treat” yourself to a food or drink you know is not the best, especially for your waistline long term. Then you feel guilty and mentally beat yourself up. Only YOU can make that call, not your wife or husband. Not your doctor. Not your weight loss clinic. YOU make that call every day. The small healthy daily habits you create for yourself will carve your body into the shape you desire, just like water over years will carve a landscape. Persistence breaks resistance.


People don’t decide their future, they decide their habits. Their habits decide the future for them. Do you snack on biscuits, peanut butter, snack bars, cheese and crackers, drink wine, eat chocolate bars, take-away, meat pies, fizzy drinks, or any one of a hundred different snacks or “treats”? STOP.

Remember, it is those small daily habits which pave the way for your body to take the desired shape. Be strong and say NO. Remember, a habit maintained for several weeks can become ingrained.

What’s making us overweight – the fats, the carbs or the lifestyle?

Yes, fat is better than carbs

Recently, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), there was an analysis published of multiple studies (one lasting from five to 23 years involving more than 350,000 people) in which the authors made this shocking statement: “there is NO association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease”.

But what about all the experts telling us that saturated fat is bad for your heart? “That idea was based in large amounts on extrapolations, which are not supported by the data”, according to Dr. Ronald Krauss, director of the atherosclerosis research unit at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and the scientist who oversaw the study recently published in the AJCN.

Finally ! A scientist willing to go on the record stating that the entire Food Pyramid is based on nothing more than “extrapolations” – no doubt one highly influenced by big “sugar dollars”.

A further study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) had very similar results. Researchers placed 32 moderately fat people on one of three different diets: a low-fat, calorie restricted diet that followed the American Heart Association guidelines; a Mediterranean diet, high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meats; and a low carb, eat all the calories you want type of diet.

After two years, the low-carbohydrate group (the ones who ate the most saturated fat) had the healthiest ratio of good cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL) – AND, as an added bonus – they had lost twice as much weight!

And, a final nail in the “carb coffin”, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that overweight women who consumed the highest glycemic load (bread, alcohol, sweets, etc) versus those who ate the lowest, were 79% more likely to develop coronary artery disease.

Whilst eating fat doesn’t make you fat or necessarily cause heart disease, it can cause problems with your heart and arteries, liver and kidneys over time because the fatty tissue of an animal is where the toxins are shunted to.

If you do eat beef fat, or chicken fat – try to at least aim for home kill or organic produce. Less chance of consuming all those drenches and other harmful chemical concoctions which animals have in their systems today.

Whilst it is true that the Eskimo people have eaten a high fat diet, they have been genetically evolved over many hundreds years to eat this type of diet, not us. In general, most people are consuming less fat than they were 10 years ago. People have become very dietary fat conscious, we all cut the fat from our meat, don’t we now? (Apart from that nice pork crackling) Don’t you just love those advertisements on the TV when they say “98% fat free” when these foods are full of sugars? But if we are eating less fat, then why then as a nation are we getting fatter?

Does this not make sense? After all, carbohydrate foods have a high glycemic index (these are the ones easy to digest and absorb), cause your blood sugar to fluctuate a lot more than protein and fats, and these fluctuating and rising glucose levels stimulate fat production and inflammation in your blood vessels. They increase your caloric load and lower your insulin sensitivity.

Dr. David Ludwig. Director of the Children’s Hospital in Boston, who is in charge of their obesity program said this: “If you reduce a child’s saturated fat intake and replace it with high-glycemic index carbohydrate foods, you do Not get the benefits – you might actually be doing them harm”.

Is all this enough to convince you that eating fat is not that bad after all?

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Eric Bakker is the clinical director of The Naturopaths and holds a Bachelor Degree of Science majoring in Complementary Health Care, as well as separate diploma qualifications in Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy. Eric has 20 years clinical experience in natural medicine, and received post-graduate natural medicine training in Australia, India, America as well as New Zealand. Eric has four children and lives in the sunny Hawkes Bay

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