Book Review: Fat Fast Cookbook

      80 Comments on Book Review: Fat Fast Cookbook

When Dr. Robert Atkins found himself with a patient who was particularly resistant to losing weight or stuck in a long weight-loss stall, he recommended what he called a Fat Fast: a diet of around 1,000 calories per day with 90% of the calories coming from fat.  (This was a short-term intervention, not a long-term diet.)  The idea was to force the patient into nutritional ketosis.

I’ve never tried going quite that high in fat (I feel better when I don’t skimp on the protein), but I know very high-fat diets have worked wonders for people.  On the low-carb cruise a few years ago, I met a Swedish gentleman named Sten who’d been obese most of his life, but lost a ton of weight after he switched to diet of more than 70% fat.  (That’s him with Chareva in the picture below.  If you look closely at his shirt, you can see a picture of him with a pair of his fat-guy pants.)

Jimmy Moore also broke out of a cycle of creeping weight gain by switching to a diet of 80% fat.  He’s now lost more than 70 pounds since last May.

If you’ve considered a Fat Fast, you may be asking yourself the same question I asked Jimmy Moore when he visited last July:  what the heck do you eat to keep your fat intake that high?  I like fat, but who the heck wants to gulp down heavy cream or butter every day?  That sounds monotonous, even for fat-lovers.

Not surprisingly, low-carb cookbook author Dana Carpender (along with friends Amy Dungan and Rebecca Latham) decided to overcome that objection by writing a cookbook full of very high-fat recipes.

The Fat Fast Cookbook (available as Kindle book or PDF) isn’t a guidebook for stuffing yourself with thousands of calories of fat per day.  You could certainly do that by eating multiple portions of the recipes, but the book is intended for people who want to try the kind of fat fast recommended by Dr. Atkins.  Consequently, the recipes are for snacks and meals that are also low in calories.

Nearly a third of the book is dedicated to explaining the science behind a fat fast and the proper way to do one.  Here’s an example of the research cited in an opening chapter:

Next, Kekwick and Pawan [the researchers in a 1956 study] put obese subjects on one of four different diets. The diets all had the same calorie count—1,000 calories per day—but the composition of those calories varied: 1,000 calories of a mixed or balanced diet, 1,000 calories with 90% from carbohydrate, 1,000 calories with 90% from protein, or 1,000 calories with 90% from fat. If it were true that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, then patients should have lost roughly the same amount of weight on all four diets. Did they? No. Indeed, on the high-carbohydrate diet the patients actually gained a little weight, overall—on just 1,000 calories per day. They lost some weight on 1,000 calories per day of a balanced diet, and even more on 1,000 calories per day with 90% from protein. But overwhelmingly, patients lost the most weight on 1,000 calories per day when 90% of those calories came from fat. Kekwick and Pawan concluded, So different were the rates of weight-loss on these isocaloric diets that the composition of the diet appeared to outweigh in importance the intake of calories.

Finally, Kekwick and Pawan determined that a group of patients could maintain their weight on 2,000 calories per day of a mixed or balanced diet. Then they put them on a diet of protein and fat, but very little carbohydrate. They found that their patients could consistently lose weight on 2,600 calories per day so long as carbohydrate was sharply restricted. This was one of the early pieces of research establishing a standard low-carb, Atkins-style diet for long term weight loss and maintenance.

Before you jump in with both feet, however, Carpender and her co-authors provide some warnings.  If you’re a diabetic on glucose-lowering medications (and perhaps even if you’re not), you should have a doctor supervise you before switching to such a radical change in diet.  In fact, you may not to want to take up a fat fast as your first change in diet at all:

We are assuming that most people reading this are already on a low carbohydrate diet. If, instead, you have been eating American Standard (full of junk), or a low fat/high carbohydrate diet, whether of processed food or whole grains and beans, you have trained your body to run on glucose rather than fat. That can be changed, but it takes a transition period. Your body takes a few days to a few weeks to get with the program and create the enzymes necessary to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. Because of this, going straight to a Fat Fast from a diet rich in carbohydrate will very likely make you feel awful for a few days—your body simply won’t know where to get energy. We very much recommend that you go on a standard low carbohydrate diet first—we’re big fans of The New Atkins For a New You, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, and Protein Power.

Jimmy Moore weighs in (sorry, Jimmy, couldn’t resist the pun) in the introductory chapters to describe the mistakes he made with his previous low-carb diet and how a high-fat diet re-ignited his weight loss.

Then it’s on to the recipes – 50 in all — which are grouped by fat content.

In the Below 80% Fat (just barely below) category, there are recipes for Asian noodles, mini cheesecakes, broccoli-cheese soup, and a breakfast scramble.  (Don’t ask me to post the recipes.  I’m not giving way the authors’ work.)

In the 80%-83% Fat category, you’ll find hot cereal (with coconut and flax meal instead of grains), chocolate pudding, deviled eggs, creamed spinach, jalapeno poppers and stuffed mushrooms, among many others.

Moving all the way up to the 88% Fat and Higher category, you’ll find recipes for coconut flax bread, fettuccine alfredo (using shiratake noodles) and Mocha Mascarpone Mousse.

I haven’t had a chance to try the recipes yet, but they certainly look appealing.  I don’t feel a need to go on a calorie-restricted fat fast, but I’ll add many of these dishes to my to-be-tried list just because they sound delicious.

By the way, there are recipes for salads and other less-indulgent dishes in the book as well.  It’s just not as much fun to show pictures of those.

If you’re interested in trying a fat fast – or just want more recipes in your low-carb repertoire – I’d recommend giving this book a look.  If the diet isn’t boring, you’re more likely to stick with it.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can order a PDF version here. The book should also be available in paperback soon.

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80 thoughts on “Book Review: Fat Fast Cookbook

  1. Miri

    Another extremely interesting fact about high-fat diets is that they have been proven to play a significant role in cancer treatment and prevention. Cancer tumours feed on glucose – they cannot extract energy from fat, as healthy cells can, due to mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, restricting carbs whilst increasing fat quite literally starves the cancer whilst still nourishing the patient.

    It further seems that there is a direct link between high insulin levels caused by high dietary carbs, and developing and dying from cancer. High-carb diets are quite literally “cancer-friendly”, creating the environment inside the body the cancer needs to thrive. Fat (and protein) do the opposite.

    More info here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267662/

    Since my dad had colon cancer, the people who don’t know any better warn me to stay away from red meat. If only they knew …

    Reply
  2. Rebecca Latham

    Hi, Tom!

    So fun to see the new cookbook being reviewed by you, and fun to see my name in your column! I’ve just recently gotten my own copy and I’m looking forward to trying some of Dana and Amy’s recipes myself. Although I’m not technically fat fasting, a lot of the recipes look like they would be good additions to my Nutritional Ketosis way of eating.

    Please let us know how you like the recipes as you play around with them. That chocolate pudding recipe is one of mine, and I must admit that I indulge in it at least a couple of times per week!

    Rebecca

    The recipes look delicious, whether you’re aiming for nutritional ketosis or not.

    Reply
  3. Namu

    Mocha Mascarpone Mousse sounds like a no-sugar, no-biscuits Tiramisu. I definitely have to try that !

    Reply
  4. Miri

    Another extremely interesting fact about high-fat diets is that they have been proven to play a significant role in cancer treatment and prevention. Cancer tumours feed on glucose – they cannot extract energy from fat, as healthy cells can, due to mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, restricting carbs whilst increasing fat quite literally starves the cancer whilst still nourishing the patient.

    It further seems that there is a direct link between high insulin levels caused by high dietary carbs, and developing and dying from cancer. High-carb diets are quite literally “cancer-friendly”, creating the environment inside the body the cancer needs to thrive. Fat (and protein) do the opposite.

    More info here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267662/

    Since my dad had colon cancer, the people who don’t know any better warn me to stay away from red meat. If only they knew …

    Reply
  5. Rebecca Latham

    Hi, Tom!

    So fun to see the new cookbook being reviewed by you, and fun to see my name in your column! I’ve just recently gotten my own copy and I’m looking forward to trying some of Dana and Amy’s recipes myself. Although I’m not technically fat fasting, a lot of the recipes look like they would be good additions to my Nutritional Ketosis way of eating.

    Please let us know how you like the recipes as you play around with them. That chocolate pudding recipe is one of mine, and I must admit that I indulge in it at least a couple of times per week!

    Rebecca

    The recipes look delicious, whether you’re aiming for nutritional ketosis or not.

    Reply
  6. Jim Butler

    Will download this later. Always looking for new things to inject into our meals…and even at 6am, those poppers look REALLY good right now…

    Jim

    Reply
  7. Jim Butler

    Will download this later. Always looking for new things to inject into our meals…and even at 6am, those poppers look REALLY good right now…

    Jim

    Reply
  8. Kelly B

    Talk about good timing! I’ve been reading Jimmy’s Nutritional Ketosis posts recently and was thinking I needed to do an increased fat approach to shed 10 pounds that have slowly crept back after I lost 50 doing straightforward low-carb Paleo. I have bought the Kindle version and am looking forward to trying these recipes!

    Reply
  9. Janknitz

    Re cancer: I think it’s scary that many people turn to vegan diets to “treat” their cancer. Treat their cancer to an all carb diet!

    I got the book and the cream of broccoli soup is great. I enjoyed the hot “cereal”, too. Next up for me is the garlicky creamed mushrooms. Can’t wait!

    I don’t expect to ever develop cancer, but if I do, a vegan diet won’t be on my treatment list. I’d rather die.

    Reply
  10. Nick Young

    Are all the noodle recipes you referenced from Shirataki? Or are there other pastas that they’re using to stay low-carb?

    The ones I mentioned are Shiratake.

    Reply
  11. Debi

    Thanks for letting us know about this new cookbook. I popped right over to B&N and bought it. Now I can’t wait to get home to check it out!

    I can’t wait to try a few recipes myself.

    Reply
  12. Firebird

    My chocolate “pudding” consists of coconut milk, dash of vanilla extract, TBS cocoa and stevia, xylitol or sucralose.

    Reply
  13. The Older Brother

    Barnes & Noble sends their regards. My Nook weighs about three pounds more from all of the books I’ve bought online after seeing them here. Maybe that’s just my imagination.

    Worth every penny, though.

    Cheers!

    Those must be some heavy bits you’re downloading.

    Reply
  14. Peggy Holloway

    Gave the Kindle book to Ken for his birthday and he is nagging me to “help him try it.” We both want to be in full ketosis for our summer cycling adventures and he let his weight creep up a bit over the winter. I’m always up for getting my ketones higher. (Ken was at .6 and I was at 1.6 yesterday but we’d like to get them higher). So, we’re thinking of a 3 day fat fast the first part of May when I’m done with my college teaching. I don’t have time for the regular “feedings” when I’m teaching, so I want to be home on the days we do this. In the meantime, I want to try some of the recipes. I had been reluctant to use shirataki because of the soy, but the book has resolved those issues for me and will be great to have another vehicle for high-fat sauces, butter, coconut oil, etc.

    I consider noodles of any sort to be a cream-and-butter delivery system.

    Reply
  15. junebug

    I got the book and have tried many of the recipes. the Mac and Cheese is definately a keeper, as are the Asian Noodles.

    My only problem is that I get really hungry on the traditional fat fast. I know all the literature says you will not be hungry because the fat will keep you full; not me. I’m going to have to play with it, see if eating larger but fewer meals will do the trick.

    Reply
  16. Rae F.

    I can’t help but wonder how that bread would be toasted with some homemade mayo from fresh eggs slathered on it along with some heirloom tomatoes and butter lettuce and some thick slices of bacon. BLT’s are about the only thing I miss if you couldn’t tell.

    There’s a recipe for mayonnaise in the book too, so give it a try.

    Reply
  17. Kelly B

    Talk about good timing! I’ve been reading Jimmy’s Nutritional Ketosis posts recently and was thinking I needed to do an increased fat approach to shed 10 pounds that have slowly crept back after I lost 50 doing straightforward low-carb Paleo. I have bought the Kindle version and am looking forward to trying these recipes!

    Reply
  18. Janknitz

    Re cancer: I think it’s scary that many people turn to vegan diets to “treat” their cancer. Treat their cancer to an all carb diet!

    I got the book and the cream of broccoli soup is great. I enjoyed the hot “cereal”, too. Next up for me is the garlicky creamed mushrooms. Can’t wait!

    I don’t expect to ever develop cancer, but if I do, a vegan diet won’t be on my treatment list. I’d rather die.

    Reply
  19. Susan

    Wonderful! Bought the book, and on your recommendation I ‘doing’ Atkins too! Looking forward to getting healthy…and lighter!

    Reply
  20. Nick Young

    Are all the noodle recipes you referenced from Shirataki? Or are there other pastas that they’re using to stay low-carb?

    The ones I mentioned are Shiratake.

    Reply
  21. Debi

    Thanks for letting us know about this new cookbook. I popped right over to B&N and bought it. Now I can’t wait to get home to check it out!

    I can’t wait to try a few recipes myself.

    Reply
  22. Slartybartfast

    That pic on Sten’s shirt ought to be made into a poster for the evils of carbs, at least for some folks. Thanks for posting that. The e-ook is a bargain. Just received the download from Amazon.com which has a PC Kindle reader (free download). Everyone step up and help support the Cause.

    It’s quite a deal for $4.99.

    Reply
  23. Howard Lee Harkness

    “Kekwick and Pawan [the researchers in a 1956 study]”

    Oh, wow! I had been looking for that study. I had read in a couple of places that there was a 1950’s study that concluded that macronutrient ratio was far more important that the number of calories for weight loss, but that they were silenced by Ancel Keys. But I could not find the study, because I did not have a year or the names of the researchers.

    Now I found it: http://www.scribd.com/doc/28131415/Kekwick-Pawan-1956-Lancet

    Probably can be found elsewhere, too.

    Thanks, Tom!

    Reply
  24. Firebird

    My chocolate “pudding” consists of coconut milk, dash of vanilla extract, TBS cocoa and stevia, xylitol or sucralose.

    Reply
  25. The Older Brother

    Barnes & Noble sends their regards. My Nook weighs about three pounds more from all of the books I’ve bought online after seeing them here. Maybe that’s just my imagination.

    Worth every penny, though.

    Cheers!

    Those must be some heavy bits you’re downloading.

    Reply
  26. Maria Jallow

    Ha ha ha, fun to see SSS, the first I see! That’s what we call him in Sweden (Sten Sture Skaldeman). He is awsome and getting more and more of us to follow his ideas! I get in periods in maximum ketosis by just eating proteins, butter, coconutoil, eggs and nothing else and this last time I lost 3 kilograms in 3 days. You can get keto-flue but when you pass that – you feel great!
    I must put more of my recepies in my english blog form my swedish! Enjoy!

    I spoke to him quite a bit on the last cruise. Very interesting guy.

    Reply
  27. Peggy Holloway

    Gave the Kindle book to Ken for his birthday and he is nagging me to “help him try it.” We both want to be in full ketosis for our summer cycling adventures and he let his weight creep up a bit over the winter. I’m always up for getting my ketones higher. (Ken was at .6 and I was at 1.6 yesterday but we’d like to get them higher). So, we’re thinking of a 3 day fat fast the first part of May when I’m done with my college teaching. I don’t have time for the regular “feedings” when I’m teaching, so I want to be home on the days we do this. In the meantime, I want to try some of the recipes. I had been reluctant to use shirataki because of the soy, but the book has resolved those issues for me and will be great to have another vehicle for high-fat sauces, butter, coconut oil, etc.

    I consider noodles of any sort to be a cream-and-butter delivery system.

    Reply
  28. Marilyn

    @Rebecca Latham: What kind of sweetener(s) do you use in the book? I avoid splenda, and of course, aspartame. Thanks.

    Reply
  29. junebug

    I got the book and have tried many of the recipes. the Mac and Cheese is definately a keeper, as are the Asian Noodles.

    My only problem is that I get really hungry on the traditional fat fast. I know all the literature says you will not be hungry because the fat will keep you full; not me. I’m going to have to play with it, see if eating larger but fewer meals will do the trick.

    Reply
  30. Rae F.

    I can’t help but wonder how that bread would be toasted with some homemade mayo from fresh eggs slathered on it along with some heirloom tomatoes and butter lettuce and some thick slices of bacon. BLT’s are about the only thing I miss if you couldn’t tell.

    There’s a recipe for mayonnaise in the book too, so give it a try.

    Reply
  31. Slartybartfast

    That pic on Sten’s shirt ought to be made into a poster for the evils of carbs, at least for some folks. Thanks for posting that. The e-ook is a bargain. Just received the download from Amazon.com which has a PC Kindle reader (free download). Everyone step up and help support the Cause.

    It’s quite a deal for $4.99.

    Reply
  32. Howard Lee Harkness

    “Kekwick and Pawan [the researchers in a 1956 study]”

    Oh, wow! I had been looking for that study. I had read in a couple of places that there was a 1950’s study that concluded that macronutrient ratio was far more important that the number of calories for weight loss, but that they were silenced by Ancel Keys. But I could not find the study, because I did not have a year or the names of the researchers.

    Now I found it: http://www.scribd.com/doc/28131415/Kekwick-Pawan-1956-Lancet

    Probably can be found elsewhere, too.

    Thanks, Tom!

    Reply
  33. Cathy

    While you are on the topic of recipes, could you post Chareva’s recipe for the peanut butter bars mentioned on your episode of the llvlc show the other day? Puleeze?

    I’ll get her on it.

    Reply
  34. emi11n

    Wow, the recipes sound great, and the science is fascinating–will definitely buy it! I have Dana’s 500 Paleo Recipes book, and I cook from it several times a week. There are so many useful recipes and techniques in it. Every paleo eater should have it! Very eager to see the new book!

    Reply
  35. Maria Jallow

    Ha ha ha, fun to see SSS, the first I see! That’s what we call him in Sweden (Sten Sture Skaldeman). He is awsome and getting more and more of us to follow his ideas! I get in periods in maximum ketosis by just eating proteins, butter, coconutoil, eggs and nothing else and this last time I lost 3 kilograms in 3 days. You can get keto-flue but when you pass that – you feel great!
    I must put more of my recepies in my english blog form my swedish! Enjoy!

    I spoke to him quite a bit on the last cruise. Very interesting guy.

    Reply
  36. Marilyn

    @Rebecca Latham: What kind of sweetener(s) do you use in the book? I avoid splenda, and of course, aspartame. Thanks.

    Reply
  37. Miri

    Sorry to hear about your dad; I am currently trying to get mine – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, statins – off the Gawd-awful doctor-prescribed low-fat nonsense and onto a proper human diet – think I might see a Father’s Day present here!

    Reply
  38. Amy Dungan

    Thanks for the review Tom! We really worked hard on this book, so we are thrilled to see people enjoying it!

    (P.S. If guys really wanna treat, try the asparagus with chipolte mayo. It’s one of my new favs!)

    I plan to try several of them.

    Reply
  39. Cathy

    While you are on the topic of recipes, could you post Chareva’s recipe for the peanut butter bars mentioned on your episode of the llvlc show the other day? Puleeze?

    I’ll get her on it.

    Reply
  40. emi11n

    Wow, the recipes sound great, and the science is fascinating–will definitely buy it! I have Dana’s 500 Paleo Recipes book, and I cook from it several times a week. There are so many useful recipes and techniques in it. Every paleo eater should have it! Very eager to see the new book!

    Reply
  41. Miri

    Sorry to hear about your dad; I am currently trying to get mine – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, statins – off the Gawd-awful doctor-prescribed low-fat nonsense and onto a proper human diet – think I might see a Father’s Day present here!

    Reply

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