Thursday, January 12, 2012
Why Women Need Fat: a book review
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.