Are you a “Fat Head”?
I recently watched “Fat Head.” For those who have not heard about the film, “Fat Head” is Tom Naughton’s, former comedian and health news writer, documentary response to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me.” The film is both entertaining and informative. Tom begins the movie by going on a diet and eating mostly at fast food restaurants. Over the course of 28 days, Tom loses about 12 pounds and improves his blood lipid profile. To the astonishment of his personal physician who admonishes Tom for his actions, the film proceeds to dispel several faulty assumptions and misinformed beliefs that are conveyed in “Super Size Me” and are recounted by the masses, including the FDA and USDA, that saturated fat is harmful for your health and that vegetable oils and carbohydrates in high quantities and from processed foods are healthy.
The second half of “Fat Head” features several well researched and surprising facts regarding the poor health of most Americans in this country. Namely, the film outlines the dual damaging effects of high insulin production (i.e., your body’s response to high intakes of starchy carbohydrates) and low saturated fat and cholesterol levels. While most people understand that insulin helps to lower your blood sugar levels, most people do not understand that the main function of insulin is to act as a fat storage hormone. And while most Americans have bought into the blood lipid hypothesis regarding heart disease, few understand the real dangers of having low saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is essential for your brain’s functioning. Saturated fat actually improves the functioning and protects omega 3 fatty acids in your body. Saturated fats also are an important component of your cell membranes. Saturated fat and cholesterol are essential in order to manufacture most of the hormones in your body. Cholesterol is essential for the integrity and functioning of your cell membranes. Low levels are associated with an increased incidence of depression and even suicidality. Without cholesterol, your body cannot synthesize vitamin D. It is also needed in order to produce the myelin sheath that surrounds your nerves. Low levels of serum cholesterol will lead to impaired serotonin activity as the receptors for serotonin will not function properly without cholesterol. And according to observational studies, cholesterol levels below 160 are associated with an increased incidence of death while high serum cholesterol levels (greater than 200) are associated with longevity.
In all, “Fat Head” is a very well produced film that is both humorous and educational. Tom Naughton also has two very informative lectures that outline many of the facts grounded on good science that are spelled out in “Fat Head“: “Big Fat Fiasco” and “The Food Cops.” If anyone wants to learn more about how a low carbohydrate (i.e., limiting carbohydrates to non starchy, plant based and low sugar vegetables and fruit) and moderate fat and protein diet can improve your health, I suggest reading any of the following books:
- Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes
- Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health–in Just Weeks by Michael R. Eades M.D. and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.
- The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy by Mark Sisson
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon