One Mom in the Middle…
summarizes her thoughts on the Fat Summit

Summary thoughts on the Fat Summit

Published 2.15.2016;
So this summary is being written in the middle of the US, where I am stuck for the moment due to weather. Winter in my neck of the woods has been exceedingly mild, so of course, the one weekend I decided to travel, a storm hits that has delayed us at both ends of our travel. Yesterday we couldn't leave because of weather where we are, today we can't get home because of the effects of the same storm hitting home. So it's an extra two days in the middle of the country for me, but with some like, my traveling partner will make it home tonight despite the weather. The odds do not look ever in his favor though, I must admit after looking at the forecast for tonight.

In the final week of January, Dr Mark Hyman presented a series of recorded conversations with sundry people about the role and health of having fat in the diet. The primary reason for the summit seemed to be to promote Hyman's new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin.
I listened to a selected number of speakers and for the past week or so have published my thoughts and commentary on the speakers presentations. This is the final entry in that series of pieces. The earlier entries are Comments on the Fat Summit, Day 1, Comments about the Fat Summit, Day 2, Comments on the Fat Summit, Day 3, Comments on the Fat Summit, Day 4, Comments on the Fat Summit, Day 5 (Part 1), Comments on the Fat Summit, Day 5 (Part 2), Comments on the Fat Summit Day 6, Comments on the Fat Summit Day 7.

Concluding Commentary


  • Overall, the discussion were more interesting than expected.
  • The primary point was to sell Hyman’s new book, and it would not surprise me if he comes out with a brand of coconut oil. He really, really, really pushed coconut oil.
  • Trans-fats or trans fatty acids are bad. Really, really, really bad. Looking at when trans-fats entered the US food supply, I am left wondering if trans fats have been the primary problem.
  • Hyman's “pegan” diet isn’t all that different from how I eat, though I do not drink buckets of coconut oil in my morning coffee. Nor do I think it is healthy to do so.
  • One thing that seemed plain is that while it might not dangerous to eat some saturated fat, there is such a thing as too much. Overall, the best message seems to eat the whole plant, not the oil, the plant. I did not listen to all the sessions so can’t say if in other animal fats were touted as the best. Of the sessions I listened to, only journalist/lobbyist Nina Teicholz promoted the idea that massive amounts of animal fats are healthy. Most other presenters (at least those with MDs) made clear the healthiest fats are plant fats IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM. In other words, it’s better to eat the coconut meat rather than coconut oil. Moderate amounts of animal fats are not harmful, but there is such a thing as too much, and animal fats provide no fiber. If plenty of fiber is present in the diet (in other words if you eat mostly plants) then the harmful effects of animal products were offset.
  • I think fiber, which was not the point of the summit and yet was an underlying point to much of what was presented, might be what’s most important— and in particular soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is call that because it dissolves in water, thus it can be fermented in the gut, which affect the bacteria biome. Insoluble fiber just gets passed through. Plants have both types of fiber, but whole grains tend to have more insoluble fiber.
  • Every source of plant fat comes with a good does of fiber, as does every unrefined source of carbohydrate. In their zeal to demonize fat or carbs, both sides neglect the fact that refined carbs have had much of the fiber removed, and white sugar and juices have no fiber, the sources of both sugar and juice have tons of fiber. Nuts, seed, olives and coconut are all high in fat, but they are also high in fiber.
  • If you eat mostly plants, the only way to have a high fat diet is to eat oils. Even eating nuts (because of fiber) would make it hard to get too far over 35% fat. These misguided high fat low carb (HFLC) fools shoving 70-90% fat down their gobs are truly damaging their health.
  • Neil Barnard is an ideologue unwilling to entertain conflicting ideas. Dean Ornish is very well educated and up to date on nutritional science, which is why he recently altered his diet to include a small amount of seeds and nuts, even though they are "high fat". I think he gets a bad rap.
  • Vitamin B12 was never mentioned, though it is essential and is only found in animal sources of food.
  • Dr Roy Taylor's research is not as well known as it should be. Taylor's theory of type 2 diabetes is the only one that can explain how it is that people with lower body mass indexes can wind up with type 2 diabetes. It's not how much fat you have, it's where the fat is deposited. If your body tends to stored fat viscerally, then you will likely have fat in your organs. Ectopic pancreatic and liver fat causes dysfunction, which leads to diabetes.

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