Updated 15 May 2014

The big fat lie that fat is bad

Sharksrugby editor Michael Marnewick is a ‘fat is good’ convert and invites you to a screening of Cereal Killers in Durban where you can meet and greet the likes of Bruce Fordyce and Shaun Meiklejohn.

Convention tells us that a calorie-controlled weight-conscious (and healthy) breakfast consists of fruit, low fat yoghurt and some form of cereal (oats or muesli). 

Ever since agriculture and the industrial revolution changed the way food was produced, from subsistence to mass production, we have been led to believe that a high carb diet is the way to go.

Read: So which foods are classified as carbohydrates, and which are not?

And if you’re a sportsman, carbo-load before a big event, store all that energy, top-up regularly, drink energy-rich (read: high sugar drinks) and you’ll ace the race.  
Our kids are encouraged to eat cereal with low fat milk.  Read the RDA information and you will find that on some boxes, the guidelines are based on a human adult.  What are they trying to hide?
Because that is exactly it.  The reasons for the explosion of early-onset diabetes and the worldwide obesity rates are being hidden from us.  Modern convention is based on a big, fat lie.

Read: High-protein diets: are they safe?

And this lie is simple: That “Fat is bad.”  This generalisation is tantamount to genocide because it promotes the opposite – that sugar is OK.  And people struggling with health issues related to diet are not aware of the consequences and science of their eating habits.
Why are obese people often malnourished?

Obese people are often malnourished because the foods they eat are simply nourishing the fat in their body.  Fat doesn’t cause fat, sugar does, but a diet of pizzas, sodas, burgers, donuts, sweets and ice-creams is just as bad as eating the honest and innocent sandwich.
Why are carbohydrates to blame?

It’s not so much junk food that’s to blame as refined carbohydrates. Carbs are quickly turned into glucose which feeds our immediate energy needs, but as an energy source, has to be regularly replenished to maintain levels and avoid spikes and ‘sugar lows’.

Read: Professor Tim Noakes on carbohydrates
Coupled with the fact that sugar is addictive like cocaine and it’s easy to see why we crave sweet foods (and bread too) and why our bodies need it when they are a primary source of energy.
Having established that sugar (through carbs) is unhealthy, what about the high fat, high protein revolution that we’re hearing so much about and what Professor Tim Noakes is so passionate about.
The first point is that it is not revolutionary.  The facts just got obfuscated by the fast food industry which has the most to lose. 

William Banting
was one of the first to popularise a weight loss programme that sought to eliminate refined carbs in 1863. But the truth about foods has been a grey area and rarely challenged as it is right now.
Read: To carb or not to carb

But the modern explosion of diet-related illnesses has forced us to re-examine the paradigm paralysis that fat is bad. That low fat trumps sugar. That our kids are eating low fat, sweetened yoghurt containing as many as 10 teaspoons of sugar.

That they are encouraged to eat a lunch consisting of a sandwich and high amounts of fruit (containing fructose). And cereal filled with added sugar, making it more addictive.
Fat is not bad

While the science may seem confusing, the basic facts are not. It’s time to educate yourself and remove the fear of fat. 

The revolutionary film “Cereal Killers” is an insightful documentary tracks the health journey of Donal O’Neill, an Irishman with a strong family history of heart disease, which takes him to Cape Town South Africa and a meeting with renowned sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes, a passionate advocate of low carb nutrition.

The movie, which can be purchased over the Internet at Cerealkillersmovie also features the low carb journey of members of the Australian cricket team.
Watch: Health24 interviews Shane Watson and Dr Peter Brukner about Cereal Killers

Read more:

The golden rules of Banting
Low-carb, high-fat diets are ok for your heart
Protein vs. carbs: the great debate
Did you know that a low-carb diet improves cholesterol?
A low-carb, high-fat diet is ok for the heart

*Opinions in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of

Image: deep fat frying from


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