Are All Diets, High Fat Diets?

I want to start this post off and say that I love free thinkers and people who question things.

I don’t even care if I agree with 100% of what the person is talking about. Rebels make the world more exciting. I have spent the past hour over on Free the Animal and have been sucked in to Richard Nikoley’s fantastic writing style.

He has several great articles talking about a similar subject: That all successful diets are high fat diets. You will see exactly what he means by this in a second.

High Fat Diet Article

[I tried to find an appropriate photo for the topic of “high fat diets”, but those were all brutally boring. A ghost lady wearing a bikini instead? Someone needs to make a B movie with this theme!]

How Can a Low Fat Diet be Considered High in Fat?

Well…that is what sucked me in to one of Richard’s articles. I was interested to hear what he had to say. I had a suspicion of what the article would talk about (and I was right), but it was very well written.

What he is saying is that all diets are high fat diets, because your body releases its own body fat into the bloodstream as you lose weight.

This Article on His Site Has Changed My Outlook a Bit

Losing Weight is Pretty Much Like Eating Lard

Losing 2 Pounds of Body Fat Per Week?

A common suggested weight loss goal for many people is to lose 2 pounds of fat per week. Well, that is the equivalent of 7,000 calories per week of fat…and much of that fat is saturated fat (270 grams in this case). Kind of crazy to think about.

I honestly never looked at it this way before. Makes you question people who attack eating fats in the diet.

Are You Confused About What Fats to Eat?

This whole thing is confusing as heck at times. You hear so many different pieces of advice.

As far as fats go, my friend Scott Kustes of Fitness Spotlight did an excellent guest post on the subject on this site: The Four Types Of Fat – Sorting Out the Confusion of Dietary Fats.

This is a great article to tell you what to look for in the grocery store. I have been a big fan of coconut oil since Scott wrote this guest article. Great stuff for stir fry!

What I’ve Learned Over the Past Two Years

One thing I have learned is that hardcore processed foods are the thing to minimize. More than anything else it is these processed “altered” foods that are causing much of the health problems in modern society.

If 75% of what you eat are whole foods, then you can be pretty certain that you are eating in a way that promotes good health. It isn’t so much about how much fat or how many carbs, but what the fat and carb sources are.

Like I said in “Visual Impact”…your grandma is right when it comes to healthy eating. Just make sure you know when to stop and you will be good.

Check Out Your Local Farmer’s Market

These past few Sundays, me and my girlfriend have made a point to walk down to our local farmer’s market and buy fresh food. It is about a 2-3 mile walk round-trip, so it is a good way to get healthy exercise as well. The one we go to is in a hip and artsy part of our city so we get live music, entertainment, etc.

It simply feels good to get food close to the source. Most cities have several of these farmers markets and my hope is that they grow in number. It is fun to interact with people who live in your community…we have become so disconnected with technology that this feels good.

A Quick Video Explaining the Paleo Diet

When you guys head over to Richard’s site, Free the Animal, you will hear him talk about the Paleo way of eating. People who are new to this could be slightly confused.

Here is the best video on the subject. Created by Methuselah at Pay Now Live Later.

Watch this…it is actually pretty darn entertaining!

[I don’t follow these principles all the way, because I like a bit more carbs than what this diet recommends…but I do love the idea to limit processed foods. Instead of going all the way paleo, I find that I will mix in paleo meals many times per week.

This works well and gives me more flexibility than eating paleo all the time.]

Note: Free the Animal is a great site, because Richard talks about his experience with the Paleo diet and even discusses challenges with that way of eating.

This post created a major buzz and massive discussion a few weeks ago —> Paleo Diet Problems

56 thoughts on “Are All Diets, High Fat Diets?”

  1. Hi,
    Ok now I’m really confused. In the article on “skinny fat”, your advice was to cut back on cardio, even cut it out completely, for 1-2 months, and just hit the weights hard under a calorie deficit. In your reply to Maria about skinny fat in February you said to train w/weights 3x per week, also do HIIT 3x per week and add in 1-2 more sessions of moderate cardio per week. Which is best? I’m basically in the same boat as she is, 5-8 lbs. of bodyfat left to deal with at about 21% BF. For weight training I’ve been doing density training and muscle rounds and I’ve been using the “stubborn fat protocol” when doing cardio.

  2. Awesome post! Really some fascinating and informative stuff here. I just discovered your blog from a post on Zen Habits a while back, and I’m glad I did. I just subscribed, and I’m looking forward to more. For now, I’m going to head off and follow some of these links and dig around at what else I’ve been missing!

    Miche 🙂

  3. Hi Rusty,
    After I gave up carbs, I can’t stop myself eating nuts! I guess I take too little calories during the day (1 fat free greek yogurt, an apple and a salad with no dressing). I run 5 miles in the morning in a fasted state, I walk for 1 mile and do 30 min pilates. But after eating almonds, hazelnuts I practically cancel out my calorie deficit and I go back to square 1. any suggestions?

    Is having headaches normal? Is it due to using fat energy or is it simly just fatigue? I dont have headaches when I eat carbs (on the days when i eat chocolate and cookies.. yummy :))

    I am 5 6 and 130 I wanna go down to 117 by summer.

    Thanks for the great posts!

  4. Hey guys…sorry I have been AWOL lately. Just moving this week and don’t have my own Internet access up yet (borrowing a shared computer)…anyway, I will try to address as many questions as possible in the short time I have available. Here goes…


    The good news is that this type of fat is pretty easy to lose. Women have it tougher when it comes to losing body fat on their legs. What you are going to want to do is work on increasing HGH and “afterburn effect” from your workout. Honestly…go into your workouts in a fasted state (a proven way to get a better HGH response)…do an abbreviated lifting routine, but then hit intervals hard on a treadmill or exercise bike. Make sure you hit it hard.


    Thanks a bunch…too much of the fitness info out there is bodybuilding related….I am just trying to balance things out.


    I wouldn’t consume too much soy. It tends to increase estrogen to unnatural levels.


    I bet the walk in Hollywood is very entertaining! That place is full of a mix of different types of people.


    I haven’t used creatine in a while, but plan to this summer. It works well. I like it for the ability to quickly add some muscle volume. I would only recommend taking it when you are really lean, because then it makes a dramatic impact.


    You can drink the light beers, but you will have to subtract that from your total daily calories. On your ESE days, don’t drink the light beer at night…make that the low calorie day…this is how I have found that it works best. You can get lean while drinking light beers. A great light beer is Corona Light, without lime. I don’t even like Corona that much, but this stuff is great. That being said…you will lose body fat at a quicker rate without the light beers. If you can go 4 weeks with minimal drinking you will jump start your fat loss.


    The water retention is a temporary thing. Maybe eat carbs and dairy on the days you know you will play basketball…and then just sweat out the sodium. Makes sense to me anyway.


    Thanks for the compliments…I am glad that you are enjoying the site (thanks for reading). My advice about eating before working out? No calories whatsoever 3-4 hours before training. The less “carb energy” in your system the better…this will insure you use body fat for fuel and well as spike HGH (which helps you burn fat while sparing muscle). I should do a post on swimming…good point.


    I am not a hardcore paleo guy at all. I like a lot of the general principles, but I am more modest in fat and meat consumption. The paleo approach I like to use is more like Bova from Spartan Health…fruits, veggies, etc…with just modest amounts of meat and protein. I also enjoy potatoes, rice, grandma’s cooking, etc. I am with you when it comes to whole food.


    Part of the reason I like to stay lean year round is to avoid this effect. It kind of makes me queasy just thinking about it (I’m bad with too much blood talk).


    Great to hear from you Martin…I have been an admirer of your site for a couple of years now.


    I love forums too. I may at some point set one up, but I will have to outsource full-time moderation. Unfortunately a lot of the fitness forums have people who post homo-phobic, sexist, and racist comments…especially the big bodybuilding forums. IF I do launch a forum, I will hire 3-4 moderators to insure that things stay friendly and clean.


    I take pride in having good pictures. Thanks for noticing 🙂


    Yeah…it pays to keep your eyes open and not be too quick to trust. Great points!


    I am not an expert when it comes to vegetarian eating. Really, just do your best to keep the calories low enough to create a deficit…and you should be good.


    Yes, it is important to have beer and pizza! Completely agree and plan on having that magic combo tonight.


    Thanks for spreading the word. Planks are a great ab exercise for sure. Those 2 minutes go by pretty slowly, don’t they? Austin looks like a great city. I love live music and at some point me and my girlfriend need to go the South By Southwest music festival in Austin.


    As long as you are in deficit you would be fine. I like the way you put this…”All that saturated fats you burn when you are in a calorie deficit were things you ate months or years ago. I guess you can’t escape from your past.”


    I am down-the-middle with food. I like to eat whole foods 2/3 to 3/4 of the time…and mix it with “junkier” foods. The main idea is to create a calorie deficit when you are trying to lose weight. The advantages that paleo offers is steady energy and accessing body fat for energy by keeping insulin levels stable.


    I don’t necessarily think he is recommending adding more fat…Richard just likes to get people to look at things in different ways. Glad you like the site.


    Yes…to a certain extent you can. I would always have some protein per day, but you can certainly have low days and high days and it works well.


    Good point…and I enjoy foods from all of those countries. You are right about portion sizes in the US…they are out of control.


    I like carbs as well. I can see the benefits of going low carb at times.


    The diet plan looks good. I did Mentzer Heavy Duty Workout for 1.5 years back in the early 90’s. I got strong as heck on a few exercises, but didn’t like how sore the workouts made me feel. It is well written book and he makes a strong case for his one-set-to-failure approach.

    Donkey Lips,

    I don’t have a Truth About 6 Pack Abs Review. I have e-mailed Mike Geary before and I can tell he does really care about the results people get with his product. It is a good course for sure. Maybe I will do a review at some point…I have just been gun-shy about this…since so many others have done a Truth About Abs Review on their blogs already. Glad you like “Visual Impact”…only Phase I and the Bonus Phase will be painful….Phase II and Phase III are more about tension and less about fatigue…so the lifting part won’t hurt or burn like in Phase I.


    Download my free report “Vacation Body Blueprint”…it has exactly what you will need. There is a description of a body weight routine you can do at home that works very well.


    Those are great blogs. Mark Sisson is also a great guy. I’ve chatted with him a few times on e-mail and he really wants to help as many people as possible with his site. Thanks for the compliment. You have a nice blog growing as well.


    Yeah…do strength training 3 times per week, followed by 15-20 minutes HIIIT. If you can get in the gym 1-2 more times…then add in some more moderate cardio as well for 30-60 minutes. This will kill skinny fat in its tracks (as long as your diet is dialed in as well).

    Jason G,

    “Live on your fat every once in a while and you will become leaner.”…exactly! Great quote.


    Awesome video…I bet this video is on tons of sites now. Quality work like this always gets spread around.


    Yeah…we have kind of come full circle. Grandma was right all along.


    Did you eat a big meal at night…or were you fasting through the night?


  5. I am new to this site and this is exactly what i am looking for. Thanks rusty for the great work.

    Talking about diet, i have started trying my very first fasting yesterday and unfortunately i had a very serious stomachache at night. Is it related to the fasting?? have you ever had similar experience when you started?

    Please help as i am really not very sure now if i should go on practicing fasting twice a week. Thanks.

  6. Since there are so many different diets people whole population thrive on, I think we should look at the similarities rather than the differences.

    There are certain “paleo” populations eating lot of meat and fat. But there are also the Kitavans and the african Bushman eating mostly plants and lot of carbs. Yet they’re healthy. There are the Hunza and the Okinawans, very different diets and still healthy people. There are the Zone followers and the Homo Optimus followers, one diet is 30% fat and the other is 80% and both groups are healthy. Weston Price analized several populations and suggested a diet with cereals, milk, cheese, meat and veggies. Maximilian Bircher-Benner analyzed the Alps populations and they were eating cereals, milk, cheese, bread and fruits. And they were healthy. Albert Matesz whote a book about a paleo diet which is high carb with fruits and potatoes, and he is healthy.

    If we focus on the differences we just confused and will never get the point that we’re omnivirous animals with a varied habitat and can thrive on whatever is edible and on many different diets.
    If we look at what all these diets have in common, then we can understand their secret.

  7. You know the more i learn about nutrition the more i ignore it 🙂 i’ll explain, the more i learn the more i believe there’s nothing new, the human body and metabolism is the same as it always has been.

    The more i learn the more i see that the old balanced nutrition that docs taught our parents were just about right. Eat a little bit of everything, all is necessary on the right amounts, eat healthy home food ( no junk, no processed foods ) and you’ll be just fine no matter what your goals are.

    The only thing to pay atention to is the number of cals, and eat a lot of fibers for health prevention reasons.

    Moderation is the key, in nutrition, in exercise and in Life, just enjoy 🙂

  8. I like your philosophy! What a way to enjoy life. Put your time in the gym or on the field and sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Keep up the good work and the positive direction!

  9. Well its been a while. The biggest thing I think a person can get from this article is that even though your body does not have food in it doesnt mean that your body does not have access to energy. Your body is designed to use stored body fat as energy. That is why periods of fasts make sense. Modern society eats to much and corporate america encourages over consumption(body building magazines are a perfect example). Live on your fat every once in a while and you will become leaner.

  10. Paul, thank you for your post. I read the webpage you mention and it is basically what I have been trying to say here with my posts, specially the one above yours. I hope more people read it because like I said: what would happen with Spain, Italy, France, Asia, the Caribbena, etc…if we get rid of our suppossed to be evil meals?

  11. I just stumbled across your blog about a month or so ago and am motivated by the skinny-fat post and simplicity of your advice. I am about 10 pounds overweight and definitely fall in the skinny-fat category.

    I would like to be toned all over and want to know if I am going about it the right way. For the past few weeks, I have been strength training about 2-3x’s a week with some results, and then realized maybe I should do HIIT as well, so this week I started doing a HIIT program (again 2-3x’s a week) on the treadmill and stopped doing any strength training. Should I do a combo or one form of training over the other?

    I appreciate any advice you have to offer.

  12. Another great article Rusty,
    I have been reading Richards blog about the same length of time I have been reading yours. Add Markdailyapple to the mix and these are the best blogs out there. I don’t go a day without reading and learning from all three. Props my man.

  13. Hi Rusty,

    I love the photo – I want to be a ghost woman in a bikini some day!! That day is a good 40 – 50 pounds away, but I’m getting there, with 17 pounds lost in three weeks on a paleo-style diet. I am finding that dropping the carbs has leveled my blood sugar issues, and made my mood so much more even. Now I have to figure out the fitness end, so I’m excited to find your blog! What would you suggest for an overweight mom of 45? I don’t have money for a gym – I’m a single momma with three young boys at home – but I can do outdoor things and indoor body weight exercises.

  14. Rusty,

    Do you have a review on the truth about 6 pack abs product by Mike Geary. He claims chemicals have a lot to do with belly fat. Specifically foods that contain xenoestrogens cause you to store belly fat, and that vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are good for removing those toxins. Do you know if his product is legitimate or is it just another product using bogus science to appear as a high end breakthrough cutting edge product when really it’s just that broccoli and cabbage are low calorie, greasy crap is not so by replacing high calorie food with low calorie food, bam, magically six pack abs appear.

    Just wanted to know if you had any insight on this.


    BTW you’re Visual Impact product it awesome, I’m really enjoying doing it, it’s painful and it works. Best of all it’s customized to what I want and the results are already showing up.

Comments are closed.