Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat?

… and why did I?

The book in brief (Synopsis)

Animal Fat and Weight Loss BookIf you have ever gained weight and become fat, fatter than you intended to be, have you ever stopped to ask the question, ‘Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat? … and why did I?’ Why is it that, as an overall generation, we are carrying more fat than our Grandmother and Grandfather? Have you ever stopped to consider an explosive question, ‘Could it be that the dietary advice we have been receiving from our public health authorities may be a significant part of the reason?’ We are putting on weight, getting fat, becoming obese – however you like to say it – and the advice of the experts is not stopping this.

Born in 1875, Margaret Jane Norris, nee Anderson, was 84 years of age when she passed away in 1959. Her diet included good helpings of animal products and this included the fat from those animals. If her diet had been unhealthy, she may have experienced the same relentless weight gain and fatness as is happening in our society today. When she passed away, she was a slim woman of good bodily proportions.

My Grandmother and her five children around the time of the First World War. Her healthy diet had obviously been a factor in in her health and the health of her children.

The newly published book, ‘Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat? … and why did I?‘ leads the reader through some interesting questions. Is animal fat bad for you? Does eating fat make you fat? Is the ‘food plate’ as promoted by health authorities in Australia, or the ‘food pyramid’ promoted by health authorities in the USA, based on flawed assumptions? Could the continued advance of weight gain, fat people in our society, and obesity be partly due to the very advice our health authorities have been giving us? This book examines the idea that certain advice we have received from authoritative sources may be substantially in error. As the title suggests, David Mason-Jones asks why it is that our forebears ate so much animal fat and did not – as an overall generation – become as fat as we

David Mason-Jones, the author of the book ‘Why didn’t my Grandmother gat fat? … and why did I?’ . In his mid and late fifties he became significantly over weight despite having led a physically active life. He reversed the slide to fatness when he changed his eating pattern to one more like his Grandmother’s.

are becoming today. The book poses this question at a time when two contradictory trends seem to be happening. On the one hand, a continuing weight gain epidemic is taking place but, on the other, food consumers are avoiding saturated animal fats. How can this be?

For those who think the current weight gain predicament of our society is all about lack of exercise, this book points out that exercise alone cannot be solely to blame. As a young man, the author lived a life of extreme physical activity. At one stage he was even a member of the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) for two years and, based on this experience, can claim to know something about rigorous exercise. For a large part of his life, he slowly gained weight despite being a physically active person. He contends, therefore, that lack of exercise cannot be the sole cause of weight gain, nor can exercise alone be the sole solution.

From his personal experience, and the experience of others, the writer gives case studies of why the consumption of animal fats – particularly from animals that have been fed on pasture all their lives in grasslands or rangelands – aids in the reduction and stabilisation of excess weight. The book also relates some encouraging case studies about what food producers and food consumers are doing to build better food supply chains.

Title: Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat? … and why did I?

Sub title: Carbon issues in our food, paddock to plate

ISBN: 978-0-646-59137-7 (pbk)

Published by: David Mason-Jones Mob: 0411 172 328. Email:david@journalist.com.au


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Review by Peter O’Brien, Author

‘Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat?’ is the second book by David Mason-Jones that I have read and enjoyed, the first being ‘Should Meat Be On the Menu?’ Early in the work he focuses the reader’s attention by asking the question, ‘Does eating animal fat make you fat?’

In this latest book Mason-Jones has further developed his own particular style to produce a very enjoyable book.

His theme, that many of the dietary ‘truths’ that we have come to accept without question  are, in fact, very questionable, is no doubt controversial but Mason-Jones approaches the subject in an informative and non-confrontational way.  In particular, his contention, that saturated animal fat is by no means the villain that we have been led to believe, is likely to raise many eyebrows, but he presents a very readable combination of both anecdotal and scientific evidence to support his position without becoming dogmatic.  One is left with the impression that his aim is to merely present an alternative view to the established doctrine and leave it up to the reader to make up his or her own mind.

Overall, the arguments he advances are compelling, although there are some assertions, such as that humans are genetically pre-disposed to eat meat rather than grains, that one may uestion.  However, one can read this book, even the non-technical, and learn something useful without necessarily accepting all the claims.

The book does not exist in a vacuum.  In fact, it is a useful contribution to a debate that recently reared it’s head on the ABC Catalyst program.

Note: Peter O’Brien, the author of the novel  ‘A Climate for Change’ www.vividpublishing.com.au/aclimateforchange/ is an early reader of the book ‘Why didn’t my Grandmother get fat?’ Peter is regularly published in the letters section of the Australian Newspaper and is currently working on his next novel.


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 Tom, Farmer Central West, NSW

G’day David,

You may not recall but I was the first to buy your book ‘Why didn’t my grandmother get fat’ when I met you a the Allan Savory Event at Orange earlier in the year (2013). Just a few minutes ago I finished reading it (there was a couple others to finish first) and I must congratulate you on your efforts. Bloody top job.

I am glad that you took the risk of adding many personal anecdotes to illustrate your points, I can relate to them also. I read Sweet Poison a couple of years ago and it helped me drop about 12 kgs. Unfortunately I put most of it back on again, but now I understand why as although I dropped the sugar, I didn’t drop the wheat etc. My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to drop about 20kgs and keep it off. I have started a bit early and your book has spurred me on. The funny thing is that my bride is not convinced that I should be having chops for breakfast, but it has stopped my snacking.

I could not agree with you more with your comments in chapter 24. I think that the health system approach to health is appalling. Unfortunately it is exactly the same in agriculture, the latest guru comes up with a solution to a symptom, not a problem. It truly is ubiquitous, but so many farmers are happy with the approach.

Tomorrow I will start reading a Christmas book I was given, ‘Grain Brain’ by David Perlmutter. It looks like a good one. The ‘Wheat Belly’ book is on my Booktopia wish list.

Enjoy the rest of 2013 and I hope that 2014 is a good one for you. I am looking forward to your next book, due for release in 2014? I will definitely recommend your latest book as I did ‘Should meat be on the menu?’


Jill, Scientist and Farmer, Canberra region

Hi David,

Halfway through your latest book. Bravo for having the courage to write this!!!

Totally endorse what you are doing – My husband and I have been following a similar diet recently ie butter (no margarine), meat, veges -but he still ate too much grain and carbs. He was so overweight (98 kilos when he had his heart attack Oct 9, 2013)

He is now down to 90 kilos and still going (me? just call me Nurse Nazi! -he does!) – interesting your account of food in the army and Royal Military College, Duntroon, establishing an eating pattern-
I have been passionate about this issue for many, many years and would love some copies of your book -extra to give to family and friends – your easy conversational tone is right – I would be antagonistic at the appalling advice that is given to citizens!
How do I order?
Would love to chat some time- BTW my husband’s cholesterol was just over 5 when he had his heart attack- but his triglycerides were out of whack as was his HDL LDL ratio. After significant modifications to his diet -MY modifications and completely ignoring that [Snip – abusive term meaning ‘terrible’] of an organisation called the National Heart foundation (I call it a national disgrace!) he is getting better every day!



Tom, Rancher, Colorado, USA

The book “Why Didn’t My Grandmother Get Fat….” arrived here a couple of days ago. I am once again on my way to Nevada and have it in my suitcase. I made a quick trip to your website and read several articles. I will visit again and see if there is something of value I can add.

I made a sale of 10 copies of “Should Meat be on the Menu” or perhaps I should say my uncle did. He is 94 and almost immobile (gets out to work every day by climbing on a 4 wheeler parked on the porch just outside his door then drives to one of his tractors and painstakingly climbs on board to head out to do field work). He has been passing a copy around to other ranchers for the last year and mostly they don’t read it and it comes back. Finally he got it to [Name withheld, confidential] a Nevada rancher who has been battling the world fighting to justify his way of life, who found it inspirational and wanted copies to pass around.

I hope to have a face to face conversation with this guy to see where his efforts are directed.

Thank you for the book. Since August I have lost about 40 lbs and still have a long way to go. Looking forward to seeing what you have been learning.



Farmer, Araluen, Queensland

Hello David I just finished your book. Have to say it is an inspired read. I am slumming at a secluded Central Queensland private beach, catching and consuming the odd fish. Most enjoyable.

I have a very capable 15 year old grand daughter here with our family. She is an avid reader of novels, but she has picked up the book and has found it very engaging also. When I get home I will send you the details of a book I read outlining a private health study which seems to me to confirm pretty much all you have stated.

Thanks for a great read…I have managed to shed 11 of 117kg in the past month, pretty much along your suggested lines.

Best regards

BK (Farmer)


Jill, Scientist and Farmer, Canberra Region

(This is the second comment from Jill – scroll up to see the earlier one)

I have to thank you for changing my life!
Your comments in your book “How did my grandmother etc” regarding gluten intolerance struck a chord – recognised the symptoms -stopped gluten and a great deal of wheat products and I’m a new woman! -Only taken 65 years! Have had reflux all my life and gut problems -its so nice not to be uncomfortable and in pain. I cannot have any gluten at all or the symptoms return. -so THANK YOU!



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