4. Eating Fat And Growing Slim In Practice
by Richard MacKarness, M.B., B.S (1958)

THE MOST recent work here and in America shows that unrestricted calorie, high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets will get weight off the obese more effectively than any other kind of regime.

The evidence, set out briefly in the earlier chapters of this book, is clear and incontrovertible. The five main arguments against eating a high-fat diet which have been examined, do not stand up to serious investigation. They are that such diets:

  1. Are nauseating and cannot be followed for long enough to lose weight.
  2. Cause ketosis and make you ill.
  3. Can only be followed in cold weather.
  4. Are unbalanced and therefore lead to deficiency diseases.
  5. Cause heart disease.

The way is open for all over-weight people in normal health to start losing weight without difficulty or starvation. What holds them back?

Three things. The question of expense, prejudice against fat and an immoderate craving for starch and sweet things which many fat people feel they can never do without.

I will tackle these three objections before going on to explain how easy the diet really is to follow.

Expense. It is no use denying that the kind of diet which slimmed Banting costs a lot more than the kind of diet to which many fat people are accustomed.

Fat and protein foods are the most expensive to buy and anyone who wants to lose weight must be prepared to spend a bit more each week on food. But they need not spend much more. Mrs. Stefansson in her preface to the American edition of this book, says that it actually costs less because meat keeps in the refrigerator and money does not have to be spent on cakes, puddings, biscuits and all the starchy things which usually go on the table. Later in this chapter the Eat-Fat-Grow-Slim diet is adapted to three income levels and to the needs of those who have to eat out, at restaurants, cafes, pubs and the Lyons/ABC type of cafeteria. The only place where it is difficult to follow the diet is the canteen where there is no alternative to the set meal provided.

It is important to get this question of expense into perspective. Nearly everything we want to do costs money, directly or indirectly, and the person who is over-weight and wants to slim is usually prepared to spend quite a lot of money to do it.

On Friday, 29th March, 1957, a woman weighing 17 stone appeared on the I.T.V. programme, "State your case for £100", asking for the money to enable her to go to what she called a "slimming farm." She did not get the £100, but if she had had that amount of money of her own, it is probable that she would gladly have spent it on trying to get her weight down. Her considerable courage in discussing the problem of her obesity in front of millions of viewers proves it.

So although expense is a factor to consider when starting this diet, it is not a big factor when weighed against the benefits of weight loss. Very few fat people would hesitate to spend a bit extra each week on food if by so doing they could be sure of returning to the happy physical state of being the right weight for their height and build.

So much for the cost. Now for prejudice against fat. This is very widespread and has increased lately as a result of people getting the idea that protein (lean meat) is slimming. So it is, but not nearly so slimming without fat. Just how far this anti-fat feeling can go is shown by this protest from the meat industry reported in the Observer on Sunday, 17th March, 1957, under the heading:

A Lean Time For The Housewife

"The 'don't-give-me-any-fat' attitude of housewives is likely to force up the price of the week-end joint. So many young cattle have been killed off in response to the demand for lean meat that there is a shortage of store cattle for fattening on the summer grass.

"Ever since the end of rationing, butchers have found that housewives will not tolerate fat and this has led to the premature slaughtering of cattle which before the war would have been described as scraggy and unfinished. Slaughterings rose by 10% last year (writes Clifford Selly) and this has brought beef cattle numbers below the 1955 figure...

Many farmers and butchers feel that the housewife's aversion from fat is becoming a fetish and a strong plea that the housewife should be educated in meat quality was made recently by Mr. F. W. Salisbury, director of the large firm in the Home Counties. (Sainsbury's.)

"So much has been written to warn humans of the disadvantages of obesity," he said, "that in my opinion the pendulum has swung too far in favour of unfinished meat. Experiments had shown that palatability in terms of texture, flavour and juiciness increased with the fat content up to an optimum of 38% of fatty meat. ."

Mr. Salisbury might also have said what nonsense is written about fat being fattening. With unfinished meat it is very difficult to eat the ideal proportion of one part of fat to three parts lean, which gets weight off most efficiently on a low-carbohydrate diet.

How has this dislike of the idea of fat taken hold?

In two ways: more recently, as a result of propaganda for high-protein diets, and over many years because of the use of certain words in our language which have given visible fat unpleasant associations. For although many people will tell you they cannot eat fat you will find that it is only in certain forms and under certain names that they refuse it.

They will eat butter, bacon and suet puddings quite happily but the words blubber, greasy food and cold mutton fat make them queasy. The truth is that a rose by any other name does not smell as sweet and we are all extremely sensitive to word-associations, pleasant and unpleasant.

To-day the word "fat" itself has come under nearly as strong a taboo as blubber and tallow in years gone by. But notice that it is not fat itself which is disliked but only what people think of as "fat."

The man who cuts the fat off his ham will admit to being very fond of steak pudding and the woman who "can't stand that greasy Spanish food " will cheerfully polish off a couple of chocolate sundaes.

In fact, the consumption of edible fats has risen steadily over the years both here and in the United States, but the rise has been mainly in the consumption of "invisible" fats, contained in bacon, lean meat, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, ice-cream, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, nuts and mayonnaise.

Visible fat consumption has gone up too but more in respect of popularly approved fats-butter, cooking fats and oils, margarine-than the unpopular animal fats, lard, ham fat, mutton fat and beef fat and dripping.

So opposition to fat is apparent rather than real and anyone who starts to eat a high-fat diet can do so without offending their tastes by choosing-at first anyway-those foods high in "invisible" or "approved" fats which they like already.

After a week or two on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet they will be surprised to find that they will develop a taste for fat of all kinds and will relish the fat crackling on pork and the fat layer on a joint of roast beef. They will have got back to the ideal diet of their forefathers and will be living on the fat of the land.

Lately, too, the false story that fats predispose to heart disease has tended to put people off the visible fats which they think of as "fat" in the obvious sense.

Lastly, the third personal objection: the fat person's craving for starch and sweet things. Carbohydrate foods are the cheapest foods and are most readily to hand for snacks. Therefore, if people are going to over-eat, whether for social or emotional reasons, they will probably tend to over-eat starch and sugar.

These are the obvious reasons why fat people tend to eat a lot of sweet things. They like what they are accustomed to and these things are forever being pressed on them by well-meaning friends and relations. There is, however, a more fundamental reason why a fat person should over-eat starch and sugar. This was hinted at in Chapter Two, where it was explained that a person fattens easily because his body is unable to deal with carbohydrate properly. Turn back to the discussion about the block that prevents the fat person utilising carbohydrates and stored fat for energy.

It would appear that owing to this block the fat man on a high carbohydrate diet is nearly starving in the midst of plenty. Most of the carbohydrate he absorbs is turned into fat and accumulates in his fat stores and he cannot easily get it out again. The rest of the tissues of his body suffer a relative deprivation of nutriment and naturally he feels hungry and eats more. Habit, reinforced by the cheapness and ready availability of starchy and sugary foods, ensures that he attempts to satisfy his hunger with yet more carbohydrate which in turn forms more fat and still leaves him hungry. The vicious circle goes on and he gets fatter.

This is so particularly when he is gaining weight or trying to get it off on a low-calorie diet containing carbohydrate. The reason for this will be explained in a minute, after the diagram:

Mr Fatten-Easily eats carbohydrate —Turns to fat — little available for energy — soon feels hungry and again eats more — only makes him fatter — still feels hungry — fatter still and still not satisfied— and so it goes on.

On a predominantly carbohydrate diet, this vicious spiral of weight gain and unsatisfied hunger will go on until a certain degree of obesity has been reached. The weight will then level off at an excessive though constant figure and will remain there for a long time, or even indefinitely.

This curious fact is not easy to explain in terms of the popular "fat comes from over-eating" theory of obesity. But it is additional confirmation of the correctness of the Beddoes-Harvey-Pennington theory of faulty internal metabolism of carbohydrate.

A possible explanation is that there are two phases of obesity, the dynamic in which weight is being actively gained or lost and the static in which a state of equilibrium has been reached between the internal forces making for gain and loss.

Rony, in 1940, first suggested this explanation and said that more might be learned about why a fat man gets fat from studying his metabolism in the dynamic phase, while he was gaining or losing weight.

He further suggested that as it would be impossible to tell which phase a person who had recently been gaining weight was in, the dynamic phase might be induced by causing weight loss with a low-calorie diet.

Strang and Evans had done this in 1928 when they studied the energy exchange (balance between calories in and calories out) of obese subjects before and after they lost weight on low-calorie diets.

They reported: "When obese patients are reduced by dietary measures alone, the energy exchange diminishes proportionally much more than the weight or the surface area," i.e. the abnormally low metabolism of the Fatten-Easilies when gaining or losing weight is unmasked by throwing them into the dynamic phase.

This, of course, explains the rapidity with which people regain the weight lost on a low-calorie diet.

In the static phase of obesity, the fat man's lowered rate of fat mobilisation has been compensated for by an increase in his total fat mass. So he levels off at this excessive weight relying upon the increased mass of available fat in his body to compensate for his inability to get energy from carbohydrate.

This is supported by Rony's and Levy's finding, in 1929, that fatty acid blood levels in the obese are raised.

Thus obesity should be regarded as an overgrowth of the fatty tissues providing for an increased use of fat (for energy) by a body incapable of using carbohydrate properly

Cut off the carbohydrate and immediately not only will the stimulus to Mr. Fatten-Easily's body to make fat be removed, but also the brake on the oxidation of fatty acids and the mobilisation of fat from the fat depots will be taken off.

Now if he starts eating fat and protein, in the absence of carbohydrate, he will step up his metabolism (stoke up his body fires) so that combustion of fat for energy increases and he loses weight.

On such a diet a high-calorie intake (2,000-3,000 a day) is compatible with a weight loss of 7-12 lb. a month. No need to go hungry or count the calories ever again!

Starting The Diet
Before starting on the diet it is essential to understand clearly what you are trying to do.

  1. As far as possible, you are going to avoid all foods containing starch and sugar (carbohydrate).
  2. You are going to obtain your nourishment mainly from fat and protein foods, in the rough proportion of one part fat to three parts protein by weight. This is the proportion which gives the best weight loss and there is no advantage in further increasing your fat intake at the expense of protein. Both are essential to health.
  3. You are going to let your appetite decide how much you should eat and you are going to drink as much water as you like.
  4. You are not going to take much added salt.

If you have got a fair amount of money to spend on food this diet is simple. All you need to do is to eat practically an all-meat diet with the fat left on, with salads, cheeses and fruits as second courses or side dishes.

Although extra salt is discouraged, many other things may be used for seasoning: black pepper, cayenne, horse-radish, paprika, celery seed, lemon, mint, chives, chopped parsley, mixed herbs.

Coffee without sugar, black or with cream or a little milk, tea with lemon or a dash of milk, or water, with or without unsweetened lemon juice, may be drunk in any quantity at every meal. Alcohol, if desired, should be taken only in " dry " sugar-free drinks.

It is when you try to make the diet cost less that it becomes more difficult. Nevertheless, with the help of the food composition tables in Appendix B, and the menus in Appendix C, it is quite possible to obtain an Eat-Fat-Grow-Slim diet at a cost not far above your present expenditure on food.

The tables are of two kinds:

  1. Non-carbohydrate foods (meats, fish and certain dairy products) which may be taken freely, but in which you should watch the proportion of protein to fat so as not to depart too much from the ideal, three of protein to one of fat, which gets weight off best.
  2. Low-carbohydrate foods (vegetables and fruit) which contain protein but no fat. An exception in this table are the nuts which contain a lot of fat as well as a fair amount of protein and a little carbohydrate.

This is how to use the tables:
The meats and fish are marked to show the protein to fat ratio at a glance.
very high fat, about ten times as much fat as protein
more fat than protein
about equal proportions with protein sometimes higher
(unmarked) substantially more protein than fat

The vegetables and fruits are marked to show the protein to carbohydrate ratio (they do not contain fat, except the nuts which may 'be eaten in moderation, apart from chest-nuts which contain a lot of carbohydrate).

The unmarked items in this table have the least carbohydrates and may therefore be taken most often; three times a day if you wish.

The items contain quite a lot of carbohydrate and should be restricted to one small serving a day.

The items are in between and should be eaten only in moderation not more than twice a day.

Now supposing you find you have taken an unmarked (high) carbohydrate item and a meat dish with a low proportion of fat, at one meal. At the next meal you should choose a red item or green item from the meat and dairy list and a unmarked item from the fruit and vegetables, i.e. one low in carbohydrate.

In this way, you will be keeping up the proportion of fat in your diet which should not be allowed to fall below the ideal one of fat to three of protein by weight. And you will be helping to keep your carbohydrate below 2 oz. a day.

A little practice with the tables will soon give you the idea. Eventually, you will know them by heart and will be able to leave the book at home. To help you remember, a short list of Stop, Caution, Go foods is printed at the end of the book for tearing out.

Details Of The Diet
Eggs, fish, meat are the stand-bys. You can eat as much as you like of these, preferable fried in plenty of fat, BUT WITH NO FLOUR, BATTER OR BREADCRUMBS.

Cheese comes next. You can have all you want-especially the high-fat kinds like Brie, Gruyere and Camembert. Ordinary English or New Zealand Cheddar is excellent, cheap and contains no carbohydrate at all.

Your drinks must be sugar-free. Beer, which contains a lot of carbohydrate, is strictly forbidden. You can drink unlimited coffee or tea with restriction of milk as mentioned above, or water. Wine may be taken but it must be dry (i.e. without much sugar). This means Claret, Chablis, or a dry white Bordeaux. The question of alcohol is still under investigation and will be discussed in the next chapter, but as Banting managed to lose weight on a quite considerable consumption of alcohol, it seems probable that sugar-free alcoholic drinks like gin are not fattening when taken with a high-fat diet.

"Diabetic" preparations will help you when you are entertaining people who normally eat sweet things. They will also help you to taper off your desire for sugar. But please do not imagine that you can gorge these things. They do contain a certain amount of carbohydrate, and should be taken in the greatest moderation. The packet, can or bottle usually states the carbohydrate equivalent. So you can allow yourself a little relaxation from time to time, and know where you are, from a carbohydrate point of view.

Less Expensive Diet For Eating At Home
Fried eggs
Bacon (cheaper streaky cuts)
Haddock stewed in milk
Tea with top of the milk
Starch-reduced rolls (not more than two) e.g. Energen
Butter or margarine in plenty
Corned beef
Braised beef stew and vegetable (no thickening)
Mince made into hamburgers
Ham (tinned, sold by weight, sliced)
Pig's head brawn, home-made or bought
Salted pig's head.
Fried sprats
Boiled skate
Sardines or pilchards in oil
Salad or green vegetable
Tea with top milk
"Breast of mutton"
Omelette or fried eggs and bacon
Fried liver
Potato crisps, one packet
Starch-reduced rolls (not more than two) with butter or margarine and Bovril or Marmite
Fruit —apples, oranges, nuts. No bananas
Tea with top milk
Nightcap:Cup of hot milk
Hard-boiled eggs
Starch-reduced rolls (not more than two) with plenty of butter or margarine

Be very careful to avoid bread and crispbreads, which are only breads with the water dried out of them and just as fattening as ordinary bread.

Only genuine starch-reduced rolls (as made by Energen) should be taken and not more than eight a day of these.

Eating Away From Home At The Lyons/Abc Type Of Cafeteria
Before you start queuing up, read the dishes listed on the big menus displayed round the walls and hung above the self-service counters.

You will be able to pick out the high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate dishes quite easily.

Here is a selection of permissible dishes, made at a cafeteria in the suburbs of London in March, 1957:

Egg Salad 1/8d
Ham and Salad 2/-
Hard-boiled egg 8d
Margarine 1d
Butter 2d
Liver and Bacon 2/4d
Cheese 5d
Tea 4½d
Coffee 6½d
Coffee (large)7½d

For about 3/6 at such a place, it is possible to have a satisfying Eat-Fat-Grow-Slim meal:

Ham and Salad2/-
Hard-boiled egg8d
2 pats margarine (to spread on the cheese) 2d

While eggs are cheap, 6d could be saved by hard-boiling an egg at home and taking it along.

Most people are prepared to spend 2/- on a midday meal away from home, and for 1/- more it is possible to eat such a meal and not break the rules of the diet.

For Those Who Prefer To Take A Packed Midday Meal, Here Are Some Suggestions

Cold meat (if there is some going at home) and salad
Sandwiches made of a slice of ham or bacon or fresh apple rings between cheese slices
Large wedge of Cheddar cheese and two apples or oranges
Hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes
Corned beef slices between lettuce leaves
Thermos of tea with a little top milk. No sugar

Suit the amount you eat to your appetite which in turn will be dictated partly by habit, partly by the amount of work you do. Remember you can eat as much as you like of the foods allowed, but if you take starch or sugar, you will stop the diet from helping you to burn up your excessive fat stores.

Middle-Income Group Eating At Home
Fresh orange juice, or half grapefruit
Fried eggs and bacon
Omelette. Ham. Kidneys. Liver
Scrambled eggs made with plenty of butter
Two starch-reduced rolls with butter or margarine
Coffee and cream. No sugar
Tea and a little top milk
Saccharine to taste
Midday meal
Vegetable broth made with meat stock (unthickened)
Beef stew with vegetables in it. (No flour)
4 to 6 oz. any meat with fat.
Mince,Corned beef. Tongue
Tuna fish. Sardines in oil. Tinned salmon
Whelks or winkles
Jellied eels. Any fish (fried without batter)
Head of lettuce with tomatoes
Vinegar/olive oil dressing. Black pepper for seasoning
Serving of peas or french beans with butter
Fresh fruit, e.g. raspberries or blackberries in season, with cream
Cheese. Peanut butter.
Nuts. Apple. Yoghourt
Tea with top milk
Evening meal
Plate of clear soup
½ lb. meat plus fat: mutton, beef
bacon,ham, pork, veal
Tomatoes, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage,
carrots, peas, head of braised celery.
One packet potato crisps
Grated cheese and salad
Tea or coffee with top milk or cream
Cheeses and apple
Cup of hot milk

Middle-Income Group Eating Out
Here is a typical menu from a cafe which caters for business people. The low-carbohydrate dishes allowed are marked with an asterisk and the forbidden parts of them, and other forbidden dishes, are printed in italics.

High Teas:
Fried Fillet Plaice & Chips4/6
Fried Haddock & Chips 3/-
Fish Cakes (1) & Chips 1/6
Fish Cakes (2) & Chips2/3
Omelettes :
*Cheese or Tomato 2/6
*Ham or Mushroom 2/6
Egg Dishes:
*Fried Egg & Bacon & Chips 2/6
Grilled Pork Sausage & Chips 2/6
*Fried Egg & Chips 1/8
Poached Egg on Toast 1/7
*Scrambled Egg on Toast 1/7
*Boiled Egg & Bread & Butter 1/3
Spaghetti on Toast 1/6
Buck Rarebit 2/3
Welsh Rarebit1/6
*Herring Roes on Toast 1/6
Baked Beans on Toast 1/6
*Sardines on Toast 1/6
*Mixed Grill & Chips 7/-
*Lamb Chop & Chips 4/-
*Ham, Egg & Chips 3/6
*Rump Steak & Chips 4/8
Cold Table:
*Chicken & Salad 5/6
*Ham & Salad 5/-
*Tongue & Salad 5/6
*Corned Beef & Salad 3/6
Egg Mayonnaise 2/6
*Green Salad 2/-
Ice-Cream & Sundries :
Strawberry Ice 8d.
Vanilla Ice 6d.
Fruit Sundae 2/-
Peach Melba 2/-
Ice-Cream Soda 1/3
Minerals Various 8d.
Tinned Fruit as available 1/6
Lucozade 11d.
Sunfresh 8d.
*Coffee 7d
*Pot of Tea 10d.

A small portion of chipped potatoes may he taken once in the day or a packet of potato crisps without much salt, provided no other carbohydrate is eaten.

Eating At The Pub
Many people do business in pubs and as they are still among the most congenial eating-houses in Britain, it would be a pity not to mention how the diet may be followed in these places.

You can eat in a pub in two ways: at the snack bar or sitting at a table where a set meal is served.

At the snack bar, Eating-Fat-and-Growing-Slim is easy. There are always hard-boiled eggs, salad and cheeses, and in the bigger places huge joints of beef and hams, not to mention fish dishes: smoked mackerel, salmon, mussels and so on.

At the tables it is not quite so easy. The set lunch nearly always includes boiled potatoes and a pudding. But usually it is possible to get a steak or a ham salad and cheese.

Beer should be rigorously avoided, and all sweetened drinks, alcoholic or not, should be avoided too.

Settle for a tomato juice, a glass of dry wine or a pink gin, if you wish to be sociable and yet not spoil the effect of your diet.

More Expensive Eating
I do not propose to go into details of the diet for people with money. Anyone who has seen executives tucking into an "expense account" lunch knows that there is no difficulty at all about getting the right foods in the type of restaurant that has a head waiter or in the type of home from which the patrons of such eating-places mainly come.

Instead I would like to quote Elizabeth Woody, who described a high-fat, high-protein diet for slimming in 1950 in the American publication, Holiday Magazine:

"A problem nobody had was learning to like meat! That's the one thing we have to thank, more than any other, for the fact that people stayed on the diet and liked it. Or maybe I'd do better to put that the other way round. Our dieters liked this all-the-meat-you-want pattern for losing weight so much that they stuck to the program in spite of the few other things about it they didn't like quite so well.
High-protein (and high-fat), then, was not the whole secret of the diet's success. High pleasure in the eating was, apparently, the top trump. People welcomed a reducing diet that allowed them all they wanted of the food they liked so well, meat."

For those who can afford it, eating fat and growing slim boils down to taking a diet which is the essence of good eating. Sizzling lamb chops with cool fresh fruit to follow; steaks fried or grilled with onions; roast pork and apple sauce (made without sugar); mixed grills of steak, kidneys, liver, bacon, eggs and tomatoes; green salads and all the cheeses you want from the enormous variety now available: Camembert, double Gloucester, Port Salut, Gorgonzola, Wensleydale and so on.

Perhaps if we could sort out our international differences and stop spending so much money on the means of destruction, we could solve the problem of how to provide enough of these wonderful foods for everyone at a reasonable price. Obesity would then melt away and the world might return to the Garden of Eden before the serpent tempted Eve to eat carbohydrate-even the small amount in an apple.