Let’s talk about fat. When it comes to non-fiction reading, health and diet materials are one of my “go to” topics. I’ve read about dairy to processed foods, hormone-free natural meat, whole foods and more. But I had yet to read a book on fats.
That was until I read “Why Women Need Fat” by William D. Lassek M.D. and Steven J. C. Gaulin Ph.D. as part of my participation in the BlogHer Publishing Network Book Club program. The book is divided into three sections “How and Why We Got Fatter,” “Why Women Need Fat” and “How to Achieve Your Natural and Healthy Weight.”
I read this book for my interest in a healthy diet, not for weight loss, although as stated by the sections a portion of this book discusses adjusting your diet to lose weight, along with showcasing a number of sample graphs and charts to help the reader determine their natural weight.
As a nearly 300 page book, I’ll share some top points that struck me:
• While I’ve questioned eating trans fat before — prior to reading I had never questioned liquid vegetable oils. In this book the authors detail the rise of the use of these oils, not only in cooking but in basically every single food product we consume today. Look at a box of crackers, your cereal, your bread – vegetable oils are bound to be there. Back in 1900 you would be hard-pressed to find these oils in the average American diet. They are readily available now and in mass quantities due to advanced processing techniques.
• Further the authors attribute this historical rise in vegetable oil consumption due to the heart attack scares in the 1950s which prompted an overhaul to how we eat. Suddenly everyone was convinced full fats like butter and animal lard were killers. The authors argue the exact opposite. Vegetable oils are — and in fact attribute to a graduate weight increase in almost all American women, specifically from the 1970s and beyond.
• This book struck me and prompted me to examine my eating habits. It concerns me that after I may have children someday, or just through the normal aging process – I could find myself the 15, 20 or 30 lbs overweight the average American woman is — or more.
• Logistically, this book is a long read and the details become rather redundant at times. If you check it out, be prepared to try and skim a bit to quicken your read. Also, the authors use a fictional woman – Susan – to get the topic to hit home. I liked the visualization of this female character.
• The book is clearly marketed to attract female readers. However, this epidemic plagues both men and women. Men should avoid reading this book. Many of the concepts apply to men as well, although the authors make specific references to the need for fat on the female body for healthy child bearing.
For more information and discussion on “Why Women Need Fat” visit the BlogHer Book Club discussion board this week. As a concluding thought, since reading this book I’ve started looking much more carefully at the ingredients of what few processed foods we buy. I’ve decided to also stop eating “yogurt butter” spread, and instead try using salted butter. Like Grandma does.
What types of fats do you currently cook with or allow in your diet?
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book and a $20 stipend in exchange for writing a book review. All opinions and thoughts here are my own. Some links within this post are affiliate links.