New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: Fat Fiction

Does eating fat make you fat? What if saturated fat isn’t the culprit present nutritional guidelines purport it to be? This is an eye-opening, thought-provoking film presenting evidence that a “no-fat low-fat” diet might have been leading us to more diabetes and obesity for decades. We saw the film at the virtual Cannes film festival this year and it is already streaming. 

Dr. Mark Hyman is the Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic who believes that everything we’ve been taught about saturated fat is fiction. He and documentary director, Jennifer Isenhart, present specific case studies and research from doctors in the field who turn the food pyramid upside down. The experts include, Nina Teicholz, Gary Taubes, Dr. Sarah Hallberg, and Dr. Jason Fung. 

The film follows three people who have diabetes and how the change to adding fat and limiting carbs got them off medication and made a significant difference. They even lose some of the weight they’d been struggling to drop for years. 

The film also gives some history of when and why there was a big change in what was considered the “healthy” American diet. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a heart attack in the 1950’s, it scared people. Doctors suggested that new guidelines were needed. But according to Hyman, they never proved that saturated fat causes heart disease. Even Bill Maher,  host of HBO’s Real Time, remarks in the film how thin families were in archive footage of the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969, as opposed to today. 

From the ’60’s to the ’80’s, there was also a competing theory that not only fat, but sugar was bad. According to the film, the Sugar Industry paid $50,000 thousand dollars (more than $400,000 in today’s dollars) to researchers to produce articles that it was not sugar, but fat that caused heart problems. Hyman also makes a case for sugar being a factor in inflammation which has links to many health issues. 

In 1980, the guidelines began suggesting to cut fat and add whole grains and go heavier on carbs for a healthy diet. There are good and bad carbs. But the film stays on point talking about how the change in our perception of fat and the influx of low fat products created a lot of confusion. When food producers took fat and carbs out of foods, they frequently substituted sugar to add flavor. They put aspartame and other sugar substitutes, some very harmful, into juices and soft drinks which can also cause insulin to spike. 

You may start using butter again after seeing what Dr. Hyman has to say about substitutes such as margarine and vegetable oils including canola and corn oil. Some even contain formaldehyde which has long been used as an embalming fluid. Hyman and more doctors in the film show that inflammation is the enemy, particularly in highly processed foods. The details presented might even cause you to go back to butter, as well as whole eggs. 

The now popular Keto diet gets a positive spin in the film and shows three people who were the subjects of an experiment cooking some appetizing looking Keto-based meals. All said they were surprised at how they felt full and more satisfied longer after eating them. They make it sound surprisingly good. 

There is a lot of information in this film that disputes our relationship with food today and the products we now have available. Some good advice you often hear is that you should stick to shopping for foods displayed around the edge of a store and stay away from the processed foods in many aisles in the middle. There are so many choices you can make, but this film gives some alternatives that could help eradicate the growing number of diabetic and overweight children and adults, all because of what we eat. Always check with your doctors, but this film may help you ask them questions that could make the story about fat in your diets stop being fiction and ring true. 

Indie Rights           1 hour 55 minutes                 Documentary/Not rated                                   Amazon Prime

from Movies and Shakers

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