Mark Hyman, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, is among the experts who no longer consider fat a foe. In his new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, he argues that you can eat plenty of fat and slim down while reducing your risk of dementia, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. “Dietary fat affects your brain chemistry by turning off the craving and addiction centers, making it easy to naturally regulate your appetite,” he says.
The key, says Hyman, is to choose the right fats and work them into an overall healthy diet that also includes protein and non-starchy carbs (i.e. vegetables). In his book, he prescribes a 21-day jump-start program aimed at helping readers rid their kitchens and bodies of harmful ingredients and develop a taste for healthy food including—you guessed it—fat.
Want to give it a try? Here’s how:
The 21-Day Eat Fat, Get Thin Jump-Start Plan
(Adapted with permission from Eat Fat, Get Thin by Mark Hyman, MD; Little Brown and Company, February 2016.)
You won’t be counting calories, or weighing your food, or anything else that makes eating a chore. And most important, you won’t feel deprived or hungry!
You’ll be eating three meals plus two optional snacks each day. For best results, eat only fat, protein, and/or veggies for breakfast. Lunch should consist of 75% non-starchy veggies and 25% protein by volume on your plate, with fat included in dressings, olive oil, and coconut oil, and found naturally in proteins such as fatty fish, meat, or nuts and seeds. Dinner is the same as lunch. If you like, include ½ to 1 cup of starchy veggies such as sweet potato, winter squash, or parsnips at dinner.
What To Eat
Use only good, healthy fats and clean (grass-fed or sustainably raised) animal foods. You should include at least one serving of fat at each meal. The best sources are avocados; extra virgin olive oil; nuts and seeds; extra virgin coconut oil; organic coconut milk; whole organic eggs; fatty fish such as sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, and herring; grass-fed lamb, bison, and beef; and organic poultry. You can also add MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil to salad dressings or smoothies. MCT oil is flavorless, so it can be used where you might not want the coconut taste from coconut oil, like on salads. A typical serving of fat is 1 tablespoon of oil, a handful of nuts or seeds, or 4 ounces of fish or animal protein. You want to have 4 to 5 servings of fat a day.Protein
Eat 4 to 6 ounces of protein at each meal. The average person needs about 0.68 gram per pound of body weight per day; you may need to adjust that up if you exercise vigorously or are recovering from an illness. Pay attention to how your body feels and you’ll know. You can learn by experimenting and recording your observations each day. Check your hunger, energy level, cravings, and amount and quality of sleep to see how they change according to more or less protein. If you feel fatigued or sluggish, it may be a signal that you require more protein.
Most of your diet should be carbohydrates. Shocking, right? I’m not talking about bagels, rice, potatoes, or cookies; I’m talking about the carbs in whole plant foods. All vegetables are carbs. Broccoli, asparagus, and green beans are all carbs. In fact, non-starchy veggies full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber should make up about 50 to 75% of your plate at every meal. You get unlimited refills, so fill up on these foods! Nuts and seeds contain carbs (as well as protein and fat), as does fruit.Snacks (optional)
You can have up to 2 snacks a day, as needed. Easy snack options are a handful of raw nuts; raw veggies with almond or cashew butter, olive tapenade, or tahini; or half an avocado sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, and lime or lemon juice.
When you cut down on carbs, your body needs more salt. You will lose water and salt initially and can feel tired, weak, and unable to exercise if you don’t consume enough salt (1 to 2 teaspoons a day of sea salt). If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, simply watch your blood pressure daily and adjust the salt to help keep your blood pressure normal. This is why I suggest supplementing with electrolytes in the form of E-lyte.
You can include ½ to 1 cup per day of the following (but only these) fruits: berries, pomegranate seeds, watermelon (which has a very lowglycemic load because it is mostly water), lemon, lime, or kiwi.Bone broth
Enjoy Dr. Hyman’s Veggie-Bone Broth (1 to 2 cups a day; see the recipe, below) to help heal leaky gut, which results from food sensitivities, overgrowth of bad bugs, or overuse of antibiotics. Having a leaky gut allows bacterial toxins and food proteins to “leak” into your bloodstream, causing inflammation and weight gain. (Here are 4 easy ways to boost your gut bacteria.) Bone broth also reduces inflammation and provides a rich source of minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorous) and body-building collagen and nutrients. Make enough for a week and store it in the fridge or freezer.
If you enjoy coffee, 1 cup daily made from the highest-quality beans is fine. Blend 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil or ghee and 1 tablespoon of MCT oil into your coffee instead of milk or cream. This can be your breakfast, if you like, as it is high in healthy fats and will keep you satisfied for several hours. No sugar or other sweetener, please!
Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of pure, clean water throughout the day.
Recipe For Dr. Hyman’s Veggie-Bone Broth
Total Cooking Time: 15 to 27 hours (depending on desired cooking time, including at least 3 hours cooling time)
Makes: 7 to 8 cups
4 lb soup bones from beef, lamb, bison, venison, chicken, turkey, or duck (ask your local butcher for organic or grass-fed)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 med onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 quarts filtered water
Place the bones in a slow cooker and drizzle the vinegar to coat all the bones. Add in the vegetables, herbs, and salt. Add the water and stir to combine. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 12 to 24 hours. When the broth is finished, discard the bones, vegetables, and herbs. Remove all solids by straining the liquid through a sieve into a glass container or 4-quart jar. Refrigerate the broth for at least 3 hours or overnight. The fat will separate, rise to the top, and form an opaque white layer. Once the fat has congealed, skim it off the top and discard. To serve, heat the broth (which will resemble gelatin) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Pour 1 cup into a mug and enjoy. Or use the broth in recipes calling for chicken or beef stock. Store all leftover broth in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 9 months to a year.