Sat, Aug 18, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Proper amounts of oils and fats can aid weight loss
適量吃油脂 減重見成效

Women participate in a Zumba exercise class in Denver, Colorado on May 15.

Photo: Reuters

In her bestseller on losing weight, Lai Yu-fan says, “In order to supplement oils and fats, I order the kongrou fan [or pork belly and rice] every time it’s available at lunchbox shops, and even tell them I want the extra fatty part. Recently I’ve been going out of my way to eat meat, and when I order lunchboxes I especially like to order the fried pork chop.” A hot topic lately among people trying to lose weight is the discovery that they can eat oily foods and meat, or in other words, must eat oily foods and meat.

The concept comes from Lai’s recently published and highly popular weight-loss book Lose weight, be healthy: Turning the food guide pyramid upside down, which contains what is being dubbed the upside-down-pyramid diet method. But does the diet actually work?

Initially a psychologist, Lai now works as a doctor of naturopathic nutritional medicine in the US. Previously weighing 80kg, she was able to slim down to 50kg after altering her diet. Lai says that during her time in the US, aside from regularly riding an exercise bike, she followed the traditional food guide pyramid, which puts bread and similar staple foods at its base and stipulates that meat and fats should be eaten sparingly, but was still unable to lose weight, and was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Unexpectedly, though, during a trip to Shanghai, China, she decided to adopt the old adage “when in Rome,” and eat according to local dietary customs, meaning she ate plenty of oily, fatty foods. Lai had therefore come to the conclusion that she would naturally be putting on a few extra kilos in the ensuing months there, but instead she actually lost weight, which allowed her to discover that the problem was not meat and fatty foods, but that she had been eating the wrong foods.


1. bestseller n.

暢銷書 (chang4 xiao1 shu1)

例: The New York Times began releasing its weekly Bestseller list during World War II.


2. psychologist n.

心理師 (xin1 li3 shi1)

例: Some psychologists claim that self-deception is beneficial for the individual.


3. fluctuation n.

波動 (bo1 dong4)

例: Unstable supply is causing large-scale price fluctuations.


She says that the bottom of the traditional pyramid mostly consists of starchy staple foods such as bread, rice, and pasta, which are actually sugars, and when a person consumes excessive amounts of sugar, it typically causes severe fluctuations in blood glucose levels and can also lead to cardiovascular disease.

Animal oils and fats are commonly thought to cause vascular sclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Lai says that such oils and fats contain arachidonic acid, which does in fact cause inflammation, but says cows and lambs eating hay also naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids, and that if people consume the meat of these animals they are able to ingest the transformed product in the animals and absorb the omega-3 fatty acids. The main problem, however, is that humans currently feed animals maize instead of hay.

Most people also think that it is better to use vegetable oil instead of other oils, but if the oil is not stored well and oxidizes, it can also be hazardous to one’s health.

She says that if people want to be healthy and thin it is important to eat quality meat, eggs and decrease the amount of carbohydrates in one’s diet. Not only does the food pyramid need to be turned upside down, unprocessed foods like poultry, fish and vegetables need to be eaten more, and people should be aware of the quality of the food they are eating and eat foods that are in season. A balanced diet consists of meat, vegetables, oils and a small portion of carbohydrates.

On the other hand, Hsiao Tun-jen, a doctor with the Taiwan Medical Association for the Study of Obesity (TMASO), says that the food guide pyramid has already been altered and currently has grains as the main staple. In other words, all one needs to do is switch from processed carbohydrates such as white rice and white bread to grains that are high in fiber. It is also important to control one’s calorie intake when trying to lose weight, and it is also worth remembering that research shows eating more meat has an obvious benefit to losing weight, but that it can do harm to one’s health if continued for an extended period of time.

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