Dr. Mark Hyman is a well-known physician who focuses on functional medical practices. He is also one of 3 experts behind Plate by Zumba™, a nutrition course available for licensed Zumba Instructors who are part of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN™). We recently chatted with Dr. Hyman about his new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, set to be released this February 23rd.
ZLife: Congratulations on your new book! What inspired you to write about this topic?
Dr. Hyman: Thank you! I’m so excited to share this book with everyone.
For decades, the advice from pretty much every doctor, nutritionist, professional society, and every government agency has been to eat less fat to lose weight and prevent disease. Not only is this advice not working – it’s actually doing us harm. It turns out that eating less fat results in more obesity and disease.
Even I had fat phobia, and then the tide started to change, and more and more research came out about the benefits of fat. I started to recommend healthy fats to my patients and started to eat more fat myself. The results have been astounding. I saw people lose 100 or more pounds and reverse type 2 diabetes. I saw my patients get off insulin and optimize all their cholesterol values not by eating less fat, but by eating more fat.
I had to share these results and the research and the science behind what fat does to our bodies to finally put an end to the low fat era.
ZLife: Why is it so important to change people’s perceptions on food and diet?
Dr. Hyman: A lot of the dietary guidelines and recommendations from the government, the media, nutritionists and doctors are based on outdated research. And often the research is for sale. Sometimes big food companies will fund the research which means that the results can’t be trusted. It’s important to present unbiased research so that people can decide for themselves.
The Food Pyramid came out in 1992 and we were told to replace fats with 6 to 11 servings of bread, rice, cereal and pasta a day. This quickly turns into sugar in the body. This has led to one of the biggest health epidemics of all time! Food is not just calories. Food is information, and the right information can heal you. I want to get people back to eating whole, real, fresh foods and healthy fats to stop the rise of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease.
ZLife: What do you believe the number one misconception regarding fat to be?
Dr. Hyman: There are actually two. The first myth is that eating fat makes you fat, and the second is that eating fat, especially saturated fat, causes heart disease.
ZLife: People hear the word ‘fat’ in the context of food and are immediately turned off. What do people need to know about choosing the right fats?
Dr. Hyman: This is a great question and the answer is not so simple, which is also why I wrote the book. You see, sugar is sugar is sugar, but fat is not fat is not fat. There are good fats, bad fats, and questionable fats. It’s important to know which ones are beneficial and which ones are harmful. For example, we all know that trans fats are bad, evil fats. But then there are fats like omega 6’s which we need some of, but not too much, and then there are omega 3 fats which are great. I call these the happy fats because they make your brain happy. Some examples of good fats are wild fatty fish, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and nuts and seeds.
ZLife: Is there one food-fat rule that can be universally followed, regardless of gender, age, or weight?
Dr. Hyman: Stay away from trans fats and hydrogenated oils! They are often in baked goods, fried foods and fast foods. These are toxic fats! Another rule would be to eat foods rich in omega 3 fats, including wild fatty fish and nuts and seeds.
If you stick with real, whole foods, you’ll get the best sources of fat.
ZLife: What is the key message you hope to portray to the public through Eat Fat, Get Thin?
Dr. Hyman: I want people to know that healthy fats don’t make you fat or cause heart disease. It’s actually sugar and processed carbs that do this. For so long people have been scared of eating fats, but they have no problem eating sugary, low fat foods that taste like cardboard. Fats taste good and they’re good for you. The Eat Fat, Get Thin plan is not a deprivation plan. So many times I hear from people who crave breads and pastas on their diet plans, and it’s often because they’re not eating enough healthy fats. Fats shut off cravings; fat is brain food; fat can help you speed up your metabolism and lose weight.
ZLife: Lastly, what can we expect from you in the coming years?
Dr. Hyman: Right now we’re working on the Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook to provide people with tons of delicious, deeply satisfying and healthy recipes for the 21 day plan and beyond. I’m also going to start working on my next book which is sort of a guide to eating healthy for life, so it’s not necessarily a plan that you follow for a period of time and then transition off; it’s more of a way to eat long term.
To learn more and receive a free Q&A video from Dr. Mark Hyman, visit Eatfatgetthin.com.