MOVIE REVIEW: "Fat Head"

Fat Head Movie 

I’m no Siskel or Ebert, but both my thumbs are going up for this wonderful new documentary…with perhaps one small caveat.

Comedian/Writer/Director Tom Naughton has managed to assemble some great interviews in this film that basically takes on many of the typical assumptions promoted in the earlier popular documentary “Super Size Me” and effectively dispels the myth that natural fat–particularly saturated fat and cholesterol–are bad for you.  He managed to snag and interview Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Dr. Mary Enig–arguably the world’s foremost scientific expert on dietary fats and human health (and a bench chemist for over 50 years),  Dr’s Michael and Mary Dan Eades of “Protein Power” fame,  Al Sears, M.D. and others.  He presents the work of first class researcher Uffe Ravnskov of “Cholesterol Myths” together with celebrated journalist Michael Taubes and others which shatter the dietary Lipid Hypothesis so fervently revered and promoted by the media, and by conventional nutritionists, dietitians and so-called medical experts for more than 50 years.  At last—the truth on film!!

My caveat?

Well….he starts out proving his point by revisiting the idea that fast food is necessarily deadly by virtue of the meat and fat.  By following the same basic idea in “Super Size Me” he decides to eat fast food for 3 meals a day for a month– eating no more than about 2000 calories a day worth of nothing but  Sausage Egg McMuffins, fast food burgers and fried chicken/chicken “McNuggets”.   In other words, no fries, sodas or desserts  (i.e., a low carb approach).  In the end he loses weight, lowers his cholesterol and triglycerides and dumbfounds his doctor…but this part of the message is dubious.  First off,  he clearly also drags down his initially higher HDL with all the trans-fat he has consumed (which he readily concedes as an unhealthy part of his fats food diet).  I found myself fairly uncomfortable with the unspoken message that fast food can be more or less OK if you only avoid all the carbs.  He clearly has not read “Fast Food Nation” (which he should have before writing the script).

He does, to his credit, by discussing the issue in greater detail and with excellent illustration clearly show why trans-fats are not a desirable part of any person’s diet and encourages everyone to avoid them.  Mixed message, though.

He then goes on to eat a non-fast food diet of nothing but meat and lots of fat for yet another month, during which time he loses additional weight and restores his elevated HDL.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Now if I can only get him to read my book and try again for some REAL results….  (*sigh*)

Beyond the one significant issue, however, the film is VERY funny and does a very good job of making the case for 1) the serious (if not evil) misguidedness of U.S. health policies over the better part of the last century and 2) animal fat and cholesterol being  important substances  for optimal health and well being and 3) educating the viewer about the underlying politics of food and the ways in which research is commonly manipulated by corporate interests to keep the public enslaved and sickened by their insidious profit-motivated deceptions.

To put the cherry on the (low carb) sundae he also exposes the charlatanism and hidden agendas behind The (so-called) Center For Science and the Public Interest and at last gives the unscrupulous researcher and father of the dietary ‘Lipid Hypothesis’, Ancel Keyes his rightful place in infamy.

–All in all a delightful evening of entertainment and a job well done by the filmaker.  We need more like this.  🙂

Here, too is the link to the movie’s web site  (with more video footage you can view)

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi, Nora —

    Thanks for the review, and I’m glad you liked the film. I agree that trans fats are bad news. My drop in HDL was definitely the result of the fried chicken, not the burgers without a bun. If I were doing it over again, I’d skip the fried stuff.

    I just ordered your book. Looking forward to reading it.

    Best,
    Tom Naughton

  2. Jeanmarie says

    Hi Nora,
    I just discovered your site recently and bought the book, am still reading. Based on your review I bought FatHead and I also loved it and had the same reservations you did. I want to show it to others but only if I can give them the big caveat, “this doesn’t mean fast food is the way to go!” It was funny and I LOVED the massacre of Ancel Keyes’ and CSPI’s reputations.

    Aside from the trans fat issue, I just cannot bring myself to eat meat from tortured animals. No, I’m definitely not a vegetarian, but I seek out grass-fed, pastured meat (and eggs) from humanely raised and humanely slaughtered animals. It is worth the cost to me, and I’m also happy to read your cautions elsewhere on this site that excess protein is not necessary and may stimulate insulin release. Who knew?! Thanks for your good work!

  3. says

    Thanks for your great comment!

    I don’t necessarily think dietary protein is a major source of insulin release, but it most certainly can be converted to glucose when in excess— My concern is more so the up-regulation of mTOR.

    ~Nora

  4. Fran says

    This review was great. I recently watched the movie “Fat Head” and learned a lot from it. The humor in that is that I am Dietetics major entering my 3rd year of the program in school. I have been staying up all night going through my books and you are absolutely right, and the books don’t necessarily disprove Tom’s findings. Thank you so much.

    Fran

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  1. […] Subscribe To Our E-Newsletter Documentary Film Maker Reviews Primal Body-Primal Mind! A couple of weeks back I reviewed an excellent new documentary by film maker and comedian, Tom Naughton  that wonderfully (and very humorously) dispelled the myths that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for your health.  If you haven’t read my review of Fat Head yet, you should! You can read it here:  http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/blog/?p=108. […]

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