016: Why High Fat?!?!

As usual, we start the episode off with catching up with Whit and Ash. However unlike usual, we have a guest on the show, Zack (Ash’s brother). He is curious about LCHF (low carb, high Fat), and wants to ask me a few questions. Since he doesn’t mind being behind a mic I recorded our conversation.


His first question was about bacon fat. Specifically asking about why we do not shy away from using it is out cooking. My response is that bacon fat, and many other shelf stable fats, have been demonized because they are saturated fats. Other saturated fats include:

  • bacon fat
  • lard
  • tallow
  • butter
  • coconut oil

Saturated fats were associated with heart disease in the 1950s by a man named Ancel Keys. He saw a correlation to the amount of fat you ate, and your relative risk for developing heart disease (atherosclerosis.) His main study at the time was the 7 country study[1, 2, 3, 4]. The 7 country study was an epidemiological study that took the diet of these countries and teased out the diet-heart hypothesis. The main problem was that the original data came from 22 countries, and he only used the countries that would fit his hypothesis.

**As a quick note, he has a 7 country study, and a 6 country study[5] talking about the same thing. I reference both, but I did not differentiate between the two.**

Around this same time, there was a competing hypothesis by John Yudkin, who believed that sugar was in the driver’s seat for developing heart disease/atherosclerosis[6, 7, 8]. He analyzed the same 22 country data that Keys did, and he noted more of a correlation with sugar and heart disease than saturated fat. In The Great Cholesterol Myth, they talk about these points as well, however, their main focus is on what they call the “4 Horsemen Of Aging.” They are:

  • Oxidation
  • Inflammation
  • Glycation
  • Stress


The second part of his question focused on, why keto puts a focus on using fat as a fuel. More specifically, why we (meaning people who follow keto) view it as a more sustainable fuel.

The reason I focus on fat as my preferred fuel is that carbs burn hot and fast, then they have a rebound effect where we are left crashed. Whit mentions the Thanksgiving effect, where we eat turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, pies and other carb-filled what not then we feel tired and be blame it on the tryptophan. When it is more easily associated with the carb rollercoaster then crash that followed that made us tired.

It is also important to note that we only have about 2,000 calories of energy stores for carbohydrates (in the form of glucose and glycogen.) If we run on mostly carbs and if we run out of that energy, we may end up hitting a wall (or bonking) where we cannot keep going. Conversely if we run off fat, most people have conservatively 10,000 calories of fat (I am purposely aiming low). When our bodies are used to running on fat, we can easily utilize both stored and ingested fat for energy.

The way we get to this, is by reducing the carbs, increasing the fat and allowing a period of time to help adapt to that change. A way of knowing you are fat adapted is by not feeling hangry when between meals. If weare not hopped up on carbs and sugar we can easily go longer spurts between meals, and not suffer the sudden need for a meal.

As we wrap up the conversation, I offer book suggestions to learn more about this topic. They are


  1. https://www.sevencountriesstudy.com/study-findings/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/modern-nutrition-policy-lies-bad-science
  3. https://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM?t=2076
  4. https://deniseminger.com/2011/12/22/the-truth-about-ancel-keys-weve-all-got-it-wrong/
  5. http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2017/02/keys-six-countries-graph/
  6. https://www.thenutritionwonk.com/single-post/2016/04/13/Ancel-Keys-and-the-Seven-Country-Study-A-Response-to-The-Sugar-Conspiracy
  7. https://www.truehealthinitiative.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SCS-White-Paper.THI_.8-1-17.pdf

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