Why Women Need Fat ~ book review

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

William D. Lassek, M.D and Stephen J.C. Gaulin, Ph.D.


If you have trouble losing weight or tend to gain it back once stopping a diet, “Why women need fat” delves into the biological reasons women gain weight and why it’s so difficult to lose. Drs. Lassek and Gaulin take an in-depth look at how a women’s weight changes throughout her life. Also presented is how much heavier American women are today as compared with women around the world, as well as American women in the past. Fats are a very important part of the human diet and nutrition, but all fats are not metabolized the same. Omega-6 fats have greatly increased in the American diet through processed and fried foods, Drs. Lassek and Gaulin believe these fats not only promote the storage of fat within our bodes, they produce “our body’s own in-house version of marijuana” causing us to eat more. How fat is important in child bearing to the health of the baby, as well as the mother, is also examined. The second half of the book looks at predicting our natural weight, why diets do not work, and finally what you should to avoid the omega-6 trap.

The difference between kinds of fat, how they are metabolized and incorporating them into our diets is an important and interesting topic. I was excited to read the book and learn more about the role of fats. However, having read a number of nutrition and diet books over the years, I found this one particularly difficult to read and lacking any real helpful information. In the first chapter alone, more than 50 studies and articles are referenced in only 17 pages making it a difficult to follow. While the Doctor’s are quick to point out the lack of examining other factors in other studies, such as exercise,  they seem to continue to point out the example of the farmer eating “two or three eggs fried in bacon grease, thick slices of bacon, sausage or ham, one or two tall frosty glasses of unashamedly full-fat milk, great slabs of bread made with bacon grease shortenening and a butter crust slathered in still more butter, coffee cake or pancakes also made with bacon grease, and cereal covered in sweet cream.” all without gaining weight. The life of the farmer, eating a large breakfast then working for hours in the fields, does not compare to activity level of most Americans today but was never really acknowledged. There are also many excuses provided for you if you want to remain overweight. I found this particularly harmful because it seems to provide an excuse for you to remain fat. If you family is fat, you natural weight is higher, you are older they seem to say you just can’t help your weight. While chapter 7 looks at why dieting doesn’t work, chapter 8, titled What to Eat, outlines the changes you need to make in order to lose weight. Tips such as avoiding fried foods and soda, eating more vegetables and fruits, and incorporating whole grains are suggested. Chapter 9 also suggests to “eat only until you are satisfied and then stop”, “Reduce your daily calories by a small amount”, avoid snacks after dinner, eat smaller portions, avoid processed foods and soda, and finally, to get regular exercise. That certainly sounds exactly like a “diet” to me. If you think eating fried foods, drinking soda and avoiding exercise are healthy, this book is for you. If you already know that junk food is bad, I recommend that you save your money.

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