Thursday, January 12, 2012

BHBC: Why Women Need Fat

I just finished reading William Lassek and Steven Gaulin’s book Why Women Need Fat (which my husband thought for a long time was called Why women need TO BE Fat, but that’s a different discussion). I have to say, I didn’t expect to be nearly as fascinated by it as I was.

It looked to me like it was going to be just another diet book, suggesting that we overhaul the way we eat in order to lose weight, but instead it was a carefully researched work of scientific and social commentary on the role of fat in our bodies and in our culture.

The basic premise of the book is that, due to a fear of cholesterol and heart disease that arose in the 1950’s, our diets have been overrun by vegetable oils. These oils contain Omega 6 fats, which were thought to be better for us than the saturated fats found in animal products. However, what has shown to be true instead is that these fats have replaced the MORE healthy Omega 3 fats, which are particularly important to women because of the additional requirements for these fats during pregnancy and lactation.

One of the most interesting ideas in the book for me was the idea that young women store these Omega 3 fats in their hips for years before they have their first baby, then run through these stores during late pregnancy and nursing. I’ve been taking a fish oil capsule sporadically, both for my nursling’s little brain and because I’ve read that it helps with depression, but knowing that my own stores are being rapidly depleted makes me want to be more diligent about it.

The book contains suggestions on how to use these findings to your advantage in terms of weight loss, but to me that wasn’t nearly as interesting as the findings themselves.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate my review and am being compensated for my participation in this campaign. All opinions are my own.


  1. I'm with you on several of your points--I take fish oil for the same reasons you do. I am very diligent about it because I notice if I skip it for a day, I don't feel as good (mentally & physically). Also, I thought the findings presented in the book were far more interesting than the suggestions in the third part of the book for how to find your natural body weight & all that jazz. I kind of skimmed that section but devoured the first and second thirds of the book.

    Great review!!!

  2. I've been reading a lot about this too and we've gotten rid of vegetable oils in our house and have switched to olive and sesame oils. I've also bought some coconut oil that I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate in our diet. We've switched to whole milk and I also never feel guilty for eating butter. Lots of butter!

  3. I have not read this book but is sounds rather interesting. I was married to an Italian for a while so I just got used to using olive oil for pretty much evening . . . heck I even slather it all over my kids when their skin starts to get really dry! Perhaps I should look it up and give this whole reading thing a try again.