The “Great 8″ Fatty Foods

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Blog, Food | 66 comments

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The “Drop Dead Healthy Plan” you will see me undertake in Cereal Killers evolved organically throughout a 2 year period of trial, error and omission.

How did I identify my go to foods?

It really was a case of self-experimentation on a grandiose scale with more than a sprinkling of complete ignorance. At no point did I consult any practicing medical or dietary professional and my personal research was conducted from a standing start.

As a lean, fit (5 times a day) carbo loading, low fat food advocate, I figured the medical fraternity would baulk at my quest to drop dead healthy and avoid the heart disease and diabetes prevalent in my family.

Medicine as an industry is reactive you see. It is the business of sickness with little regard for pro-active outliers focused on not getting ill in the first place.

“Doctor Doctor I want to never get sick.

I see. So are you sick at the moment?

Not at all.

So why are you here then?

Because I don’t want to see you again. Ever.

I think you need to relax. I’ll prescribe you some Prozac.”

You get the picture.

So, as I set out on my journey to drop dead healthy I encountered some radical issues right out of the blocks. Bread may be bad for you! WTF!?

Who knew?

And then there’s that whole cholesterol bag of tricks. Which I now know to be just that.

A bag of tricks.

But the biggie for me was FAT. Fat makes you fat, raises your cholesterol and clogs up your arteries, right? Well….no actually. Sure, the right naturally occurring fats will raise your LDL cholesterol (the misunderstood bad guy?)  but they will also improve your LDL particle size (the real bad guy) no end and raise HDL (the very good guy) into the bargain. When you know your way around cholesterol that actually equates to a LOWER risk of heart disease. And no it doesn’t clog up your arteries.

Turns out Rocky Balboa was right as well. There’s no way he beat the crap outta Apollo Creed eating Weetabix. Did they even have it back then? It was the raw eggs! In the end I couldn’t find ANY studies into eggs with negative metabolic implications. Turns out the perfect way to start your day increases both your LDL particle size and HDL numbers before you can say amino acids. Yes, the closest thing to the perfect food has lots of those too. So I ate 20-25 per week.

Fortunately there were some easy wins along the way. Oily fish rocks, but we all knew that anyway.  It’s an Omega 3 Olympian! So does Olive Oil. And how about those Avocados? A monounsaturated masterpiece if ever there was one!

There were a few Eureka moments along the way, particularly when my research into the different types of fat and their roles in the body lead me to a sleeping giant.

The mighty macadamia nut is 80% fat, nearly all of it of the monounsaturated variety. It has anti inflammatory qualities we have yet to fully appreciate and the best Omega ratio of all nuts (which are typically heavily skewed towards an Omega 6 imbalance). Roast them for 15 minutes and your life will never be the same again. I ate 1kg per week during the filming of Cereal Killers to prove the point – approximately one third of my calorific intake.

Red meat is a tricky one. Lots of studies apparently link it to heart disease so I took some time to familiarise myself with the various methodologies used to test such dramatic claims before diving in. Fancy terms like Cohort studies, Meta analysis and Causality are all part of the long grass that is medical research. My synopsis is simple. Read the small print! The ability to spin research and results 180 degrees to foster an agenda is a thriving dark art.

Turns out someone already spotted this and she has dissected some of the major studies way better than I ever could. Denise Minger take a bow. The small print in the latest red meat will kill you scare pointed out that meat eaters were more prone to smoke, drink and not take any exercise. Oh yes, they almost forgot to mention that the meat eaters’ risk of overall mortality (a fancy word for death) was actually LOWER than everyone else as well despite all that. But hey, this about heart disease and red meat. Death doesn’t count. Roll the headlines – “Red meat gives you heart disease.” What’s wrong with “Meat eaters live longer?”

So I put 2 kgs of quality red meat on my plate each week for the filming of Cereal Killers to see what would happen. Some, but not all, was 100% grass fed. I learned that grass fed meat has a nutritional profile more comparable to a wild salmon than its feedlot, stand in your own crap cousin. That really pissed me off.

Just what have we done?

Which takes me neatly to butter. In a head to head with eggs for the title of THE most vilified foodstuff of the last 40 years, I’d have to give butter the nod. Oh la la! Seems everyone but the French fell for this one. They’re just so smug, slim, impossibly chic and erm, bottom of the heart disease charts in Europe for a very long time. They were so wrong but oh so right that we even coined a brand new term to account for their dietary stupidity. “The French Paradox” anyone? It goes something like this. Eat butter, cheese, drink red wine and you’ll be fine.


Coconut Oil rounds up my Great 8 Fatty Foods very neatly indeed. This natural oil with a very high heat tolerance makes it a great option for cooking while the lauric acid  – a Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) – it offers up is turning heads for an ability to positively impact cholesterol markers. A litany of additional benefits the length of your arm includes improved thyroid function and blood sugar control. You’ll be glad to know it doesn’t smell like the Tropicana Casino Resort in Las Vegas or taste like suntan lotion. My morning cuppa would be pretty vile if it did! I call it the C3 by the way. That’s Coffee + Cream + (1 tbsp) Coconut oil. Throw in a few eggs any style and you’ve got yourself a real Cornflake Killer. If you make just one change to your diet, make this your breakfast.

Oh yeah. If you’re a bloke and you’re questioning if this is for you or not, there is something else you should consider. A high fat diet can raise your testosterone. Dramatically. From the age of 40, you’re losing 1% a year. So that matters. Lots. The symptoms of low testosterone read like an old age manual and are best avoided. Let Fat be Thy Medicine boys.

OK. Let’s wrap this all up shall we.

  1. Macadamia Nuts
  2. Red meat (ideally grass fed)
  3. Eggs
  4. Avocados
  5. Oily fish
  6. Coconut Oil
  7. Olive Oil
  8. Butter

The Great 8 Fatty foods I turned to for my Cereal Killing food plan.







  1. Thank you so much for doing this. You’re absolutely amazing. High fat all the way.

    • Thanks David! Hope you enjoy the movie!

    • David – we’re back with CK 2 and a bunch of athletes eating the Great 8! –

  2. really enjoyed the movie, I eat everything on your list already. What was your exercise routine – I hate lots of exercise and your 8 minutes sounds perfect.

    • Thank you Gary – great to know! I exercised intensely 3 times weekly as follows: 2 x tabata (20 secs on, rest for 10 sec x 8 reps) full body/compound exercises (burpees are an excellent body weight only option) + 1 set of 6 x 100m sprints. Beware sprints if you have ANY injuries or joint issue though!

      • “tabata” “burpees” what language is that? :)

        • The language of “fit” Naomi :)

  3. Donal, I absolutely loved the movie and thank you so much for putting that out there. I also loved Fat Head, but I really like the way your movie approached the topic, and it seemed more professionally done ,and, of course, it is good you didn’t base your diet on fast food so that lends more credibility:) As young family doctor in Iowa, just 2 years out of training, I have been preaching LCHF to my patients for the past year after discovering the works of Gary Taubes and Mark Sisson, and then that led to discovering more, such as The patients who listen and do it have amazing results, and I know that when I recommend they watch this they will have even more motivation to do it. I’m still slightly scared that I’m gonna get sued or the medical board is gonna come after me for not practicing by the “standard of care”, but then I think that even if they did the truth would prevail in court, just like it did in Sweden! I’m curious, how did the young female doctor in the movie respond to your movie and results? Was it with an open mind or the typical “you are an anomaly” excuse? I don’t see how any physician could read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and still believe that low-fat diets are the way. The trouble is, that book is too long most doctors will never read it! Well, everyone can watch a documentary like this, and maybe that is all it will take for some doctors to actually read it. Thanks again!

    • We need more docs like you Tim! Gaby (in the movie) was brilliant and very well infomred (+ open minded)!

    • Tim – we’re back with CK 2 and a bunch of athletes eating the Great 8! –

  4. Excellent Movie, really enjoyed it and will get as many people as I know to watch it .I have been on a LCHF diet now for 3 weeks, I entered a cycling challenge on Strava in Dec and came 1st in South Africa out of 503 cyclists and 9th in the world out of over 32 000 cyclists, I rode 1411km in 8 days on a Low Carb HIGH FAT diet, I am 47 years old, it REALLY works for me too! Next Challenge on my 50th birthday is to ride the Divide, 4400km , 60 000 m ascent from Canada to Mexico along the Rockies on a LCHF diet :-)

    • Super stuff Sean!

  5. How many good egg studies you want? Haha…


  6. great article.i was wondering would it be possible to compete and finish a long endurance event such as an iron man on a high fat diet low carb diet

    • Yes, Yes, Yes Seamus – google Steve Phinney and Sami Inkinen for starters!

    • Seamus – we’re back with CK 2 and the answer to your question! World Ironman champ Sami Inkinen eats the Great 8! –

  7. Love the way you broke this down! And the movie was great too

    • Thank you Lauren!

  8. Fat is King for sure! Small tip, if you use MCT oil for cooking it is much more concentrated form of Betahydroxybutyrate than coconut oil and will shift your ketone to glucose ratio close to 1:1. This has many benefits.

    • Thanks for that tip Gary – always learning!

  9. Hi Donal,

    I’ve been following your progress for a bit, loved the movie… Do you know a good source for Macadamias in Ireland…? I can get them in some ‘Artisan’ food stores but at an exorbitant price for a tiny bag… Is there an online source that would deliver to Ireland…?

    Any and all info greatly received and keep up the good fight… :-)


    • Thanks Colin – yeah macs are pricey no way round it :(

    • Colin – did you find those mac nuts yet? We may be able to help in ’15 PLUS we’re back with CK 2 and a bunch of athletes eating the Great 8! –

  10. I have pancreas cancer.I lost a lot of weight when they nearly killed me with Chemo. They Gave me 6-9 months. However 2years have past,and I put that down to an ALKALINE DIET. I had to research it. There is a lot of information on it. I looked for food I could have in my diet to put on some weight as the Chemo caused a Cadiac Arrest and I lost a lot of weight. I was very relieved when I found I could have pure CREAM, also Coconut Cream. Also cook with Coconut oil. There is a coconut ice-cream, but it is expensive. I have put on about 5 kilos. and am happy with my weight now. My oncologist said there is no such as a Alkaline Diet, he said I had a slow growing cancer, and as you all probably know it is a fast growing .Cancer. So I am 80, and I will keep to my diet and a strong mind. I would like a few more years to see my grandchildren (3) graduate from university. So wish me luck. The alternative diets will not only help you fight cancer it wii keep you in good health. I have nothing else wrong with me.

    • Good luck and good health June!

  11. Loving this stuff. Am doing all I can to promote this kind of eating to my patients (am an Osteo) here in Singapore. Keep up the good work!

  12. Hiya, the fat revolution has hit South African shores with full force. Great article and thoroughly enjoyed Cereal Killers. Have changed out my whole families eating plan, after I followed it on my own for a year. My 3 children have taken it in their stride and now get told that they “eat like kings” when they open their tuck boxes at school lunch times. Hubby is sleeping well and lost the wheat bloat! Keep up the good work!!

    • Thanks Tracy. Prof. Noakes has certainly had an incredible impact in SA! Great job with your family :)

  13. Are there many women trying this? I’m not having much success with the weight loss side of things and it’s not like I don’t have any to lose.

  14. Thanks D

  15. Thanks Donal
    Loved the movie, have already passed on to everyone I know. Thanks for everything you do, will certainly continue to follow your blog. :-) we already follow this diet, but I’m positive Cereal Killers will help me convince friend & family to follow suit.
    Cheers, Rachael

    • Thanks Rachael!

    • Hi Rachel – CK2 features husband and wife endurance athletes. Should help convince some more friends and family ;)

  16. Great movie. Thank you very much! I am having company tonight and will serve asparagus wrapped in chicken skin and thrown on the BBQ as appys. First had them in Japam and they are delicious and because people are so afraid of the fat in chicken skin you can buy chicken skins for $0.25 per kilo.

  17. The french also drink very sugary hot chocolate for breakfast. And am I right in saying this is a one-man study carried out over just two years? I think you need to be a little more careful when advising the world how to eat.

    • Wonderfully random comment Mairead – merci :)

  18. the only thing I’m missing is the macadamia nuts. I’m assuming you purchased “raw” nuts and then toasted them? Thanks for all your work to get this message out there!

    • Yes Rebecca – roast em lightly for 8-10 mins!

  19. Hi, just watched your movie. Fantastic! I get all the meat and fat . How much veggies and which ones should we eat?

    • Thanks! Eat as much green veg as you like!!

  20. Change of plan. No chicken skins tonight. Instead, butter sauteed, fine-chopped onion, mushroom stem, garlic mix, with cricket flour (protein) and topped with grated hard cheese. DELICIOUS.

    • Cricket flour – keen to try it Dave!

  21. Hi Donal have been following you with interest. I am very fit and have a very similar cholesterol and Triglycerides profile to you and felt very encouraged. However due to a congenital thoracic Aneurysm I recently had major surgery on aorta and heart. In the lead up they gave me an Angiogram as a precautionary check this is the ACID TEST. Whilst it found everything to be well nearly everywhere. There was 1 place on a coronary artery which is 30% blocked “mild artheroma”. My difficulty now is the Statins decision because like itor not there is cardiovascular disease present for some unexplained reason and I simply do not know and nobody can tell me if it would get worse or not without Statins. Have you had an actual Angiogram? This would be the proof of the pudding! Would welcome your thoughts on what I have said.

    • Hi Richard – no to the angiogram. One for the future ;) Find a doctor who REALLY understands the bigger picture to get the advice you need. Not easy unfortunately.

    • Richard – you will love Cereal Killers 2 I think – the athletes are coming!!! Did you take a statin in the end?? –

  22. Saw the move on Monday and I’m heading out the door to do my first high fat diet shop now.
    I’m really looking forward to getting started and seeing the benefits for myself.
    Thanks for putting this out there Donal!!

    • Good luck Alan – enjoy!

  23. Donal, I am so grateful to you for personally proving what so many of us have suspected for years about fats. It is encouraging also to see some outside the box thinking medical doctors beginning to see the light. Hope my family will open their eyes to an obvious truth.

    • Thanks for the support Mike!

    • Mike – we’re back with CK 2 and a very convincing bunch of athletes eating the Great 8! –

  24. I can’t stop watching your film, Donal!! I loved it so much, I ordered a copy from your site. It’s now my food bible. You’re very inspiring! Since I watched the movie, I’ve had no wheat of sugar. It’s been a mere 4 days and my energy has increased, my chronic nasal congestion seems to be somewhat dormant and yesterday I had the easiest run of my life. Are you kidding me?? I’m shocked at how easy the path to good health is. I’ve been gorging on lots of good fat (raw and unpasteurized dairy and eggs – I’m friends with my farmer!), grass fed lamb and mouthfuls of coconut oil and omelettes. I feel awesome. You’re awesome, Donal. Write a cookbook, brother!

    • Cheers Gary – not sure about the cookbook though! What about a Cereal Killers 2 though?!

      • Put me down on this list for an advanced order on that movie, Donal! You got me sold already!

  25. I just now watched the film, and it crazy cool that this might be the way of eating for which I have been looking.

    I have been researching and find that eating meat in addition to all of the vegetables I normally eat would be best for me, even though it means that I have to say farewell to the refined carbohydrates that I love so much. However, living on a fixed income means that I have to buy and eat the least expensive calories possible.

    I have been experimenting with adding eggs to my meals, but they cause lower intestinal problems.

    At my age (67) I have to bring myself back into the health I had as a younger person if I want to continue to do all the things I want. It is going to be financially difficult, but I really do not see any other way of eating to help me reach better health and become more fit.

    • Best of luck Juds – my advice would be to spend your money on quality protein as far as possible. Eggs are a great source! Olive oil is one of the cheapest quality foods per calorie as well. Enjoy :)

  26. Donal,

    Thanks for your blog, FB page and the movie. I knew a lot of aspects of what you are doing, but had never seen it put altogether in such a user friendly way.

    I read the link you posted about Louise. In it she states you have altered your meal plan since the movie. Do you mind sharing what that shift was and why? Also, do you have a daily goal amount (g) of carbs, protein and fat?

    • Thanks Elaine! I now eat less (but weight more) than in the movie and I do use some carbs “strategically” around my training i.e sweet potatoes on intense training days for example. I do not count anything, rather i work with what feels right on any given day.

  27. Hi Donal, where in Cape Town can I get those big packs of macadamia nuts you showed in the movie? The movie is awesome btw!

    • Thanks Pierre! The cheapest source in CT is actually Pick n Pay last I checked!

  28. G day mate….Fantastic movie and is this the secret to your irish team beating us at international rules football lol.

    Just like to know a couple of things. …
    1. Do you have any responses to this way of eating from people who have autoimmune diseases …especially hashimotos as my partner is a major sufferer of this in the last 7 years. Many people with this condition suffer debilitating inflammation which is normally off the charts…
    2. As for endurance sports like cycling which I do at 80km per ride I’m thinking of replacing my sports drinks with a more egg smoothie protein type. … will this make the fatigue issues go away longer …

    Keep up the fight and keep this going in the media.
    You quickly find out who are eating out of the corporate pocket once these things start making waves. …

    • Hi Rob – thanks!I would have to say no to Q1 and for Q2 you must “fat adapt” yourself to gain the benefits. How? The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance is your go to book on that front :)

    • Rob -looks like your your boys found the secret to Intl Rules success this time out! Did you see the Demons have gone LCHF in the Aussie media y’day? We’re getting in amongst the athletes for CK2 –

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