Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Women Need Fat: A Blogher Book Club Review

 "Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing it Forever"

By William D. Lassek, M.D. and Steven J.C. Gaulin, PH.D.
Hudson Street Press 2012

I’ve never been a dieter. I don't buy low-fat or fat-free anything. I don't find value in restricting or counting calories. You will never find an ounce of margarine or trendy sweeteners like Truvia in my household. I eat food, real food, when I’m hungry and feel no remorse about it.

Why Women Need Fat initially peaked my interest because I’m one of those crazy rare people in America that believes in eat whole foods, getting frequent exercise, and acknowledging that my weight is what it is because the way my body is programmed and a diet may not permanently change that. I recognize that fat is just as necessary as muscle and that I am not defined by my weight. I cannot modify or alter my DNA in any way, shape, or form and I'm okay with this. My body looks the way it does because it was meant to look this way.

That being said, I think 100% of all diets are bogus and often find myself extremely frustrated that the American public is often mislead and buys into unsupported diet claims that rarely lead to results and leave people feeling like they are on a never ending cycle to conquer those last few unwanted pounds.

But I generally keep those opinions to myself because I am fortunate enough to be naturally thin and no one wants to hear a thin woman rave on and on about how no matter how much she eats her weight is easily maintainable.

I'll just punch myself in the face for that now.

Why Women Need Fat addresses some of the common misconceptions that Americans have regarding weight and the standard American diet. The amount of food-like substances that we ingest is this country is insane where processed convenience items have somehow overtaken our diets and considerably outweigh real foods. What ever happened to the days of full fat milk and eggs fried in bacon fat?

These food-like substances that we swear by are filled with chemical compounds to resemble the real foods we are so afraid of and contain high levels of omega 6 which actually increase weight. And the worst part...most of these faux foods don't even taste good!

My favorite quote in this entire book,
"Trying to fool Mother Nature is not always a good thing"
page 145

Well said gentlemen.

What I like about this book:
  • It doesn't tell you what and how much to eat to get to your desired weight.
  • There is no multi step plan that promises to melt off those last few pounds.
  • The last 65 pages of the book have been dedicated to the resources by which the authors have come to their conclusions.
  • The book has a logical layout and begins with providing background info of why our country has the misconceptions that it does.
  • It shows that education is the key to any successful weight maintenance and to not believe every claim you hear. Do your homework people, know what you are eating!
  • It brings to surface logic in relation to weight. Unfortunately for women, we all cannot be 5'6 120 lbs. Our bodies are meant for childbearing.

What I don't like about this book:
  • At time my mind was lost in the overflow of scientific terms. Omega 3, DHA, Omega 6, alpha-linolenic acid, hypothalamus, leptin, EPA, etc. Not necessarily a reflection of the book, just the way my mind takes the information in.
  • There were a lot of hypothetical persons in hypothetical scenarios throughout the book, it was difficult to keep all of their elaborate stories straight.
  • I think that this book could be perceived by people who have been on the unending quest to conquer their weight poorly because it very clearly concludes that we cannot all be thin.

If you are like me and are interested in learning more about why women's bodies are programmed the way they are, I would highly suggest picking up a copy of Why Women Need Fat and maybe joining in on the Blogher book discussion.

Disclosure: This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, but all the opinions expressed here are my own.


  1. Good review. I too have been blessed with being thin most of my life. but those fad diets people go in drive me crazy!

  2. Is is possible to giving a standing ovation via blog comment? I couldn't agree with your opinions more! The first world view on diet is laughable. I would even go one step further to say that our basic nutrition plans (including many certified nutritionists) are gravely flawed. The food pyramid?, it's a joke!

    I might have to check the book out. Thanks!

  3. no matter ones genetic tendencies - for health and medical reasons a proper diet for individual circumstances relating to this, is needed. No matter their physical appearances.

  4. This is an absolutely excellent review, and I particularly applaud you for being able to evaluate it with such pragmatism. It's actually quite rare that a naturally thin person such as yourself could acknowledge the feelings and perspectives of individuals like myself, who struggle with their weight.

    Your point about not wanting to hear from a very lithe athlete that weight is easy to maintain is a very valid one - I must admit to getting very upset about hearing that message from waif-like ladies in my own life. But what's even more pertinent is your point, placed as a negative, that no-one wants to hear that we can't all be thin. I agree, because I still have issues of the 'it's not fair' variety in relation to that, particularly when I'm being sold a 'love your body no matter what' message by people whose bodies are so easy to love.


  5. I completely agree with you Britt! And enjoy the easy to maintain'll discover things get a little trickier in your 30s. Still, I am completely 100% against diets of any kind; if you tell me I can't have something, I am going to want only that thing, ha!

  6. Recently I have been considering that a little more fat in my diet might be a good thing in terms of long term health. It is challenging not to have an all or nothing mindset when it comes to nutrition. Although I have never been overweight, per se, I have been at the upper end of the healthy weight range for my height in the past and prefer to be more towards the middle like I am now. But eliminating fat is not the way to do it-- our bodies need fat for daily function. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Good review. I am trying to add more healthy fats into my diet like avocados and olive oil because I know how important they are for overall health. But in regards to eating full fat milk etc- isn't that bad for you in regards to saturated fat? I know skim milk doesn't have that yet has more calcium.

  8. Yes, agreed. People eat way too many "fake" foods and I feel like those things just eventually end up poisoning our bodies.....can NOT possibly be good for us!

  9. You describe yourself as chunky in your high school photo - you clearly got thinner so why can't others?

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting anonymous. I think that is important here that you don't compare your to me or use me as the ever-standing rule for weight loss. I've never dieted, instead I consciously made a choice several years ago to be proactive in my well being. I eat whole foods, I strength train, I do cardio, I sleep tons, and I try to maintain balance in my life. I found out what works for me and my body, and that doesn't mean that others can't lose weight. People can lose weight, they do it every day. But the difference in losing it temporarily and permanently is lifestyle changes. Diets are short term and don't always prepare people for success once the diet is over.

      The thing to take away from this posting is that we need to find what is right for our bodies. All of our bodies are programed differently, and not everyones body is meant to be extremely thin. We have to find what works for our own bodies to be healthy without comparison to others, so please do not compare yourself to me. Instead focus your efforts on creating your own healthy self.

  10. Interesting review Britt! I like my bacon. But I also am funny about cutting out sugar when i think i have gone overboard. We clearly need fat. It transports vitamins...but too much food coupled with not enough exercise is a problem in our country- for many people. But not all. Thankfully.
    I have been reading a blog from a very inspiring woman who is losing weight. Lots and lots of weight. You should check out her blog if you haven't yet: