Eat Fat, Lose Weight, this is Atkins right?

You could hardly fail to notice that the latest trend in weight loss seems to be high fat diets!

After forty years of being brain washed by low fat diets It takes a hugh leap of faith for us to take on board a complete reversal of views!
So what do we think of this diet, its it effective and more importantly is it a safe and healthy option?

James Duigan is a celebrity trainer and an advocate of eating fat to lose weight. He has written a book called, ‘ Clean and Lean for Life,’ which was featured in The Times newspaper Saturday 28th May 2016. The feature included a seven-day weight loss plan which in my eyes totally smacked of Atkins!
Atkins was promoted in the early 70’s as a low carbohydrate, high protein diet and it happened to be was very heavy on fat. It is a diet which has had a lot of press attention over the years and an awkful lot of criticism! Duigan’s diet is promoted as a high fat diet and having looking at his menu’s it would be very difficult to distinguish it from Atkins. To me it looks like a very low carbohydrate, high protein diet with fat at every meal.

A typical day’s menu looking like this:
Breakfast: Cheesy Baked eggs
Lunch: Prawns with Avocado Salsa
Dinner: Lamb with Green vegetables

And you can see more at Duigan’s website.

To get back to my questions

Is this diet effective?
I have absolutely no doubt that this diet would work, I haven’t tried it but I’ve tried Atkins in the past and it really does work!

Is it a safe and healthy option?
Well, I don’t think that it is a diet for life because I don’t think its sustainable and I have my reservations from a health perspective too! Just a few points to consider here:

This diet is very high on meat fish eggs and dairy which are all very high in protein. I have nothing against protein per se but it can be very acid forming. If the body is too acidic the body has ways of buffering this effect but it may do so by pulling calcium out of the bones to compensate and leading to an increased likelihood of osteoporosis. This can be combated by eating large quantiles of vegetables which would act as a buffer but I’m not sure that this balance is always achieved effectively in this particular diet and I’m not sure that people realize the importance of this balance.
Dr. Mark Hyman another advocate of eating fat and author of, ‘Eat Fat, Get thin,’ strikes a better balance in his, ‘Pegan Diet,’ where he suggests a diet which is predominately vegetable based with meat being almost a side dish.

In a diet which so heavily promotes meat and fish it’s very important to consider the quality of the produce. For meat or fish to be good for us or at least not cause us harm it should ideally be organic. Poultry should be free range, beef and lamb should come from grazing cattle and sheep and fish should be wild or line caught rather than farmed. Meat and fish are a great source of protein and fat along with other micronutrients but they can also be an unwitting source of unwanted antibiotics, oestrogen and mercury all of which can be very detrimental to health.

Duigans diet contains a fair bit of dairy too which again can provide us with unwanted antibiotics and oestrogen.

Last but not least this diet is excessively low in carbohydrate and we mustn’t forget that carbohydrate is the brains preferred source of energy. Some of the reported side effects of being on Atkins included headaches and mental fatigue and these diets are so similar that it wouldn’t surprise me if this would do the same.

My personal view still remains to keep a bit more carbohydrate in the diet but in a controlled way. I still prefer the Low GL approach to eating which concentrates on blood sugar balance but includes healthy quantities of both essential fats and protein. For more on Low GL see my weight loss page.

If you are minded to go on a high fat diet do it for a short period of time, you will lose weight but it’s not a diet for life, not in Duigans form any way. Dr. Mark Hyman is more measured and I will read his book and let you know what I think. In the mean time I would be interested in your views here?