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Summertime 2010 Book Review Series: ‘Big Fat Lies’ By Hannah Sutter

Posted Jul 03 2010 2:03pm

Books, books, and more books! I got ‘em coming out of my ears for the Summer of 2010, so I’m doing this special series of reviews of the newest and best low-carb, health, and nutrition books that you may want to take a closer look at. Many of the authors of the featured books are scheduled to be guests on my podcast show in the coming months. My goal is to try to feature at least one new book review a day, every day all summer long. There’s a lot of great stuff out there you need to know about and I can’t wait for you to see what all is available! ENJOY!

It all seems to make sense to the government health authorities who encourage citizens to eat less, exercise more, cut the fat and calories, eat more fruits and vegetables and all will be happy and healthy for life. Wellllll, not exactly. Although we’ve had this very advice pretty much shoved down our proverbial throats for nearly four decades, what has been the result? MORE obesity, MORE diabetes, MORE heart disease, MORE chronic disease than ever before in the history of the world. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. And this business that a low-fat, high-carb, vegetarian diet is the only way to produce optimal health is just about as insane as it gets. That’s why it’s good to know there are people like Hannah Sutter out there exposing the nutritional scam that is being perpetrated on innocent people worldwide. She hits this subject square between the eyes in her book Big Fat Lies: Is Your Government Making You Fat?

Sutter is a former lawyer in the UK who still has a keen nose for sniffing out truth from fiction. In looking at the dietary recommendations being promoted in her country by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and in the United States with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), she noticed that certain scientific studies that are an integral part of the health equation have either been overlooked or ignored by the very agencies commissioned to stay up-to-date on health and nutrition policy. Additionally, the people selected to serve on these advisory boards are either ill-equipped or tied too closely to food and drug manufacturers who have a vested interest in keeping the status quo alive and well. These disturbing revelations laid the groundwork for Sutter exposing all the “big fat lies” she sees being passed off to the public regarding their health.

This book is especially prescient right now in light of the USDA-recommended 2010 Dietary Guidelines that are being released to the public this year pushing more carbohydrates, less fat and saturated fat and a more vegetarian-styled diet for all Americans. Sutter explains quite brilliantly why having such broad-based nutritional dictates for everyone to follow is pure folly and actually even more destructive to public health in the end. She literally makes her argument with the tenacity of a voracious lawyer arguing for the plaintiff (the people) against the powerful defense attorneys (the status quo). What unfolds in just over 150 pages is something every government health and nutrition bureaucrat needs to know about and implement if we’re gonna get a handle on the skyrocketing rates of obesity and chronic disease.

Big Fat Lies, as the title implies, is an unapologetic smack back in the face of the conventional wisdom that has dominated all the talk of health since the 1970s. Sutter tells us how calorie and fat consumption is lower today than it was back then and yet we still deal with these same problems. What in the world is happening? One answer: we’ve been duped. The whole low-fat, high-carb mantra has been based on a fabrication that those things are somehow important as it relates to health despite the fact there have been no randomized clinical trials proving they make any positive impact at all. How can governments in good conscience keep pushing this message as the gospel truth when they know good and well there is no scientific evidence to back it up? Because nobody is challenging their authority. That’s exactly what Hannah Sutter is attempting to do with her book.

In fact, Sutter’s personal revelation about this issue began in 2004 when she attended a nutrition conference in Denver, Colorado where she heard people like Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades from Protein Power imploring for food companies to come up with delicious and authentic foods that are healthy for consumers. This lit a fire in the creative mind of Sutter who went home to England and started experimenting in the kitchen to come up with something special that would fit the bill. The result was the creation of GoLower bars which is a delicious combination of nuts, seeds, and a fiber-based low-glycemic sweetener. The bars immediately became a hit in the UK and have sold quite well in the United States as well. These high-fat, low-carb bars would be deemed “unhealthy” by the major governmental health organizations, but Sutter has seen first-hand how obese and diseased people have gotten better by ignoring the “expert” advice and forging their own path to better health using alternative methods that fit them best. It’s the heartbeat of the central theme of this book.

The best part of Big Fat Lies is where Sutter implores us to “get back to our roots” and eat a diet that was ideal for our early ancestors which was most decidedly one of a hunter-gatherer. She notes that nearly three out of every four people living in that time period ate a diet consisting of more than half animal foods. In other words, meat was the base of the diet and vegetation was added for variety and perhaps some fiber and micronutrients. This kind of diet was the norm until about 10,000 years ago when wheat, rice and corn consumption began spreading around the world. These empty carbohydrate sources were especially deficient in the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids that are essential for health. And yet they began being consumed like there was no tomorrow and the downward spiral ensued aided by the Industrial Revolution which made manufacturing and refining these starchy grains easy and dirt cheap.

Sutter shows us that the real superfood diet is one that includes red meat, poultry, organ meats, fish, green leafy vegetables, berries and seasonal fruits, nuts and seeds, and eggs. NO STARCH ALLOWED! Each of these foods are defended for their health benefits and then proof is presented about how eating them will ward off cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, vitamin deficiencies, and more. While the low-carb diet has been vilified and ripped apart as a “fad” diet because people still fear fat and are wary of eating high-protein, it really is an ideal way to resolve most of the weight and health concerns of our day. This means going into ketosis to shed the pounds, eating like a hunter-gatherer, and applying some rather practical solutions that Sutter outlines for you in Chapter 9 of her book. And it’s especially good for people with diabetes.

She concludes Big Fat Lies with her closing argument to the jury hammering home her case that the eat less, consume a low-fat, high-carb diet, and exercise more message has failed miserably. And people have been listening to the message and applying it–with lackluster results. In fact, it’s making people fatter and fatter because counting calories, eating starch, and exercising ’til you drop is only making the problem worse. Sutter says people need to stop fearing fat, stop loving starch and sugar, and take back control of their own health whether the government gives them their rubber stamp of approval or not. She even shares her desire for someone to possibly sue the government over their current dietary guidelines destroying their health. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? But she is hopeful that the preponderance of the evidence will eventually speak for itself and real change will begin to happen.

The book ends with a rather blunt, but ever-so-poignant quote: “…now is the time to stop the bullshit and get on with really solving the problem–without blaming the British public for being lazy and greedy.” The same could be said for the American people, too, Hannah and it is with people like you sounding the alarm and raising the banner for healthy high-fat, low-carb living that someday soon the ship will get righted and the insanity will end at last.


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