A Desert Health Review
What do you get when you bring together a medical doctor and a Ph.D. in nutrition? You get a breakthrough diet based on the consumption of smart fats. That’s right, a diet based on eating fats that are actually good for you.
Originally, Steven Masley, M.D., and Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. disagreed on the most beneficial diet for the human body. However, after years of research and practice, often times using themselves as the guinea pigs, doctors Masley and Bowden have come to the same conclusion that eating a clean diet, based on the consistent inclusion of smart fats, is the most beneficial nutritional approach to overall health and longevity.
Let’s put this in perspective. Since the 1970s the standard American diet has recommended that we eliminate fat and rely primarily on protein and carbohydrates for the bulk of our nutritional intake. Unfortunately, this prescription is riddled with misinformation. Masley and Bowden propose that it is this government recommended “SAD” diet that has led Americans to forego clean, natural meats, fruits, and vegetables for the highly processed foods many of us grew up on. The doctors further posit that this is how the American public became increasingly subject to a myriad of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. These problems all have one thing in common: they begin with high levels of inflammation in the body. Masley and Bowden propose that to eliminate this detrimental inflammation, we return to the clean, smart eating of earlier generations…a plan that includes a good portion of “smart fats.”
Smart fats are the good fats that occur naturally in foods like avocados, nuts, and fatty fish. The authors believe that increasing these fats in the diet results in an increase in the intake of Omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that Omega 3 fatty acids alter our hormonal balance (the key players in our metabolism) and lower inflammation, thus making our bodies better able to draw nutrients from our food and handle – or avoid – disease. Smart Fat explains this topic in depth with both scientific research and common sense analogies.
Determining the difference between smart and “dumb” fats is a key factor, and the authors go to great lengths to discern the differences and identify smart and dumb foods. Of particular importance, dumb fats are the trans fats found in processed foods, the fats from factory-farmed animal meat, poultry and fish, and the fats found in highly processed cooking oils, such as vegetable oil. Subsequently, while Masley and Bowden’s Smart Fat diet requires including an impressive amount of smart fat in your diet, they strictly prohibit any form of dumb fat and/or dumb food.
So what should you eat? Smart Fat recommends that you include four components in your daily intake: smart fat, clean protein, fiber, and flavor. Since this “diet” is actually a new approach to eating in general, they want to be sure that it is nutritious, enjoyable, and maintainable. After all, there’s no joy if there’s no flavor. The doctors set the goal of 5 servings of smart fat, 5 servings of clean protein, and 10 servings of fiber per day. It sounds like a lot, but they give you the tools to convert to this way of eating via meal plans and quite a few recipes.
Smart Fat also includes a section discussing supplementation. The doctors do not outright say that you should be taking any one specific supplement, rather they outline the supplements that they take and the reasons why. Most importantly, they urge the reader to pursue only the highest quality supplements and point us to resources and screening tools to be sure we are getting the best. While the doctors do sell their own products, they do not push them on the reader in any way.
Finally, Masley and Bowden further agree that no diet or way of eating stands alone as the picture of perfect health. In order to attain optimal health, the pair recommends completing the picture by including reasonable amounts of exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and close relationships with key people in your life. Addressing the big picture, not just short-term weight loss, is their key to success and maintaining a healthy body, mind and soul for life.
In the end, we are what we eat. Like any performance automobile we need to put the best fuel in the tank in order to get the best performance on the track. Masley and Bowden have written an informed, approachable, and sustainable plan that will benefit most people. Smart Fat is a good resource for anyone looking to clean up, get healthy, and live their best life.
Contributing writer Pam Salvadore of La Quinta is a nutrition journalist. For more from Pam visit her blog pamsalvadore.wordpress.com.
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