No fat paleo diet zero fat low fat-min

Why I Propose a No-Fat Paleo Diet

I propose a Paleo style diet, based on a Zero Fat, Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein and High Lipid intake, when compared to a SAD diet.

I think it’s time to replace the word “Fat”, when discussing dietary fat, with the word “Lipid”.  A straight swap.  Find.  Replace all.

Paleo Dietary Fat Body Fat-min

Despite the increasing understanding of the importance of dietary fat, so many people are still afraid of it.  They would rather have margarine with 20 ingredients they can’t pronounce (never mind procure) – rather than butter.  They would rather have breakfast of 97% fat-free cereal, swimming in skim low-fat milk – instead of bacon and eggs.  They will only eat the leanest cuts of meat (with all visible fat trimmed of) in a wholegrain sandwich – rather than meat and vegetables.

When people talk about fatty foods, the word fat is usually spat out with contempt.  An avocado is not the image that comes to the mind of the average person, on hearing the term “fatty foods”.

Sadly the word “fat” immediately conjures up images of excessive body fat, rather than fat of the dietary variety.  Someone overweight is refered to as “fat”, not “carbohydrate overburdened”.  This negative connotation is, of course, going to make people think twice about consuming more fat in their diet.  If people are reluctant to consume more fat it’s going to be harder to encourage them to reduce refined carbs and make safe, sensible dietary choices.

What if we were to rename dietary fat?  What if all of the nutritional labels had to change?  What if the word fat only related to body fat from this point forwards?

Nutritional labels could detail the triglyceride, glycerol and fatty acid components of food products, with not a single reference to “fat”.  Or quite simply the word “Fat” could be replaced with the word “Lipid”.  Fat could even be called Steve – I don’t think the actual name matters – what matters is that it is no longer called fat, with all of the negative associations that brings.

Whilst I and most of the people reading this are interested in nutrition, most people just aren’t interested and probably never will be.  But these are often the very people who need to change how they eat.  They need to understand it’s the refined carbohydrates making them fat and ill, not the dietary fat.  To go a step further and make these people realise how essential a good fat intake is to their body, is likely to be a step too far.

No fat paleo diet zero fat low fat-min

If you ask the general public to play a word association game, starting with the word fat, how many would come up with words like health, brain function and energy?  I think the words more likely to be associated with fat, are along the lines of overweight, unhealthy and ill.  Associations like this do nothing to encourage people to increase their healthy fat intake – and decrease their carbohydrate intake.

I think people would react a lot more positively to advice to increase their lipid consumption, than they do when told to increase their fat consumption.  Perhaps with the word fat completely banished, the fear of fat will start to dissolve.

Entire countries have been renamed in the past.  Is it really inconceivable to change the term we use to refer to dietary fat?

Do you think changing the word for dietary fat would help to remove the resistance to consuming it?  Which word would you choose to replace “fat” with?

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10 replies
  1. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    A lot of arguments amongst nutritionists, doctors, etc, would be fixed rather quite quickly if we all referred to their biochemical forms (and functions) rather than macronutrient superfamilies. One cannot equate glucose with fructose (despite both being carbohydrates), or palmitic acid with lauric acid (despite both being saturated fats).

    Reply
    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Absolutely – if it’s not working well, why not change how things are referred to? Looking simplistically at macronutrients doesn’t make much sense for anyone, apart from enabling the food manufacturers an opportunity to confuse!

      Reply
  2. Zynster
    Zynster says:

    While I can understand your rationale, I disagree with your solution. Fats are fats. I’ve found that it adds to the sense of outrage when you finally find out that your intuition was right all along, and that steak and eggs is actually good for you. I gleefully tell people I’m on a high fat diet. It messes with their heads and they either start questioning their reality, or they retreat into their shells. I can’t see how calling it lipids instead of fat will change either camp, and it may even add further confusion as most people won’t be familiar with the term “lipids”.

    Reply
    • Suz
      Suz says:

      I see your point Zynster, but I think the word “fat” is a huge barrier for a lot of people. Ideally people would all start to question their beliefs, but is that ever really going to happen with the majority of people, happily eating their “healthy”, SAD diet?

      Reply
      • Zynster
        Zynster says:

        I agree it’s a barrier. But it’s barrier that people can over come when they get the right info from a credible source, and they’re mentally flexible enough to change. I’ve seen the process, both in myself, and in the several people I’ve converted to Paleo. It’s a major mental u-turn. I have friends that have totally embraced the fat is good meme, yet still can’t bring themselves to eat red meat. A life time of repression is not changed overnight.

        Reply
  3. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    While I agree it can make things easier to discuss fuel and nutrition in terms of macronutrients or biochemical forms, particularly amongst professionals or people who have an interest ..but what if we were to simplify our language even further for the ‘general public’ and throw out these terms all together?
    Would it be too wacky to just refer to the food we eat by what it actually is?
    “Make sure you get a good helping of avocado, butter or coconut oil in, some meat, eggs or fish, lots of green or colorful veggies and not too much in the way of nuts or heavy tubers”…

    Reply
    • Jamie
      Jamie says:

      Absolutely spot on, Crystal. For the general public, for the most part, we just need to communicate foods – eat a steak, an egg, an avocado, a sweet potato, a carrot… This is what people ultimately understand and relate to the best.

      Reply

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