Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Women Need Fat: a book review


Queen was right. Fat bottomed girls really do make the rockin' world go 'round.

At least, that's the claim Drs. William D. Lassek and Steven J. C. Gaulin lay out in their new book, Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever. The book grew out of Lassek and Gaulin's anthropology study on why men prefer women with an hourglass figure. (Like all things evolutionary, it boils down to babies.)

Through the study's research, the authors noticed that women started to lose their hourglass figures when Americans began increasing their  consumption of vegetable-based (or omega-6) fats in 1950s. Vegetable oil is cheap and used in many of our processed foods. At the same time, we've been reducing our consumption of the fat we really need, omega-3 fat which comes from animal based fats such as butter and lard. While omega-3 fat is stored in our hips and legs until it's needed during pregnancy, omega-6 fat tends to go to our waists, Gaulin and Lassek say. 

With its catchy title, it's tempting to use this book as an excuse for seconds of dessert. But as much as American women should likely be increasing their omega 3 fat intake, the authors state that an increase of omega 3 fat needs to met with a decrease in omega 6 fats, especially corn and soybean oils.

The book doesn't offer a quick fix diet. In fact, the authors claim that dieting as it's practiced in the U.S., with attempts to drop significant portions of weight in a relatively brief period of time, is destined to fail. Instead, Lassek and Gaulin outline a compelling, easy to read argument for permanently changing our eating to center around whole foods. By moving away from processed foods and bad fats, they say, over time (we're talking years here) you'll shed unnecessary. One the things I most enjoyed about the book was how articulately it encouraged women to look at their weight in a more thoughtful way.

As long time member of "Team Butter," this book confirmed many of my suspicions - that the best thing you can do for your body is ditch the diets, make a permanent change to your eating habits, and keep real food on the table. 

You can join "Team Butter" yourself over at the BlogHer Book Club. Here's to a healthy lifestyle that's surprisingly delicious!



Disclosure: I participated in this review for the BlogHer Book Club. I was compensated for my time and received a complimentary copy of the book, however all opinions expressed in the review are my own.

12 comments:

  1. interestin, huh? I believe it..just need to remember to use the healthy fats!

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    1. I'm real glad that butter is a healthy fat now!

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  2. I am so very much into olive oil! I am not surprised by the content of this book. Since I am in the USA I am amazed by the amount of overweight people as well as the beauty craze on the other end of the scale. It made me even more grateful for having grown up on home made food, cooking from scratch and healthy habits!

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    1. Those of us raised on homemade, from scratch food are at such an advantage in the crazy American food culture. It makes me very grateful that I've been fed "real" food my entire life!

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  3. haha- I just read another review of this on a different blog about 30 seconds ago, so it was interesting to hear another positive review of it. I just finished pinning it to my "books worth reading" pinterest board and everything, so this is like a, "yep, that was a good decision," moment haha

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    1. Glad I was able to provide some affirmation in your life. :D I think you'll enjoy it!

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  4. I am kind of a big proponent of eating well rounded and complete diets.... And if you are a vegetarian it is important to supplement (flaxseed oil is SUPER rich in it!). Thanks for sharing this book!!!!

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    1. No problem it was an interesting read!

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  5. I don't know... isn't that something we already know? And...I would argue that not ALL men prefer hour glass figures. Men like different shapes and sizes. Some prefer petite or athletic builds on women. I don't trust books like this. We just all need to use common sense.

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    1. I agree - there was a lot presented in the book that were no-brainers if you've been paying any attention to healthy eating. However, I did find it very engaging and interesting. But I will be treating some claims - like the idea that cholesterol doesn't matter that much - with a grain of salt!

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  6. There's a club for butter lovers?! Hurray! I haven't used margarine since I started doing my own grocery shopping. No artificial stuff here. Sounds like an interesting read. The theory about vegetable oils is very intriguing ;)

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