Eating fat does not make you fat.
Many people are afraid of eating fat as they think it will make them fat. This is a common misconception, especially in people trying to lose weight or body fat.
A lot of this fear of fat stems from the low-fat era of the 1980s and 1990s. Do you remember when fat was demonised and it was all low fat this and that? These products were mostly laden with sugar instead to make them still taste nice.
Yes, its’s true, dietary fat is more calorific at 9 kcals per gram, than carbohydrate and protein which are both 4 kcals per gram. BUT, the body needs all 3 of these macronutrients to function properly. Our food literally controls our hormones, brain chemistry and immune system. Food affects our metabolism at every level.
The body needs fat to function:
- Fat is essential for blood clotting and muscle movement.
- It’s needed for building cell membranes and the protective shields around your nerves.
- Fat helps us absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat.
- It’s an energy source.
- It protects our internal organs and keeps us warm.
When we’re not eating fat, we tend to eat more refined carbs and sugar, both of which have been strongly linked to weight gain and obesity.
So, eating fat can actually help you burn more calories!
Kevin Hall, from the National Institutes of Health, studies mathematical systems and biology. He found when you measure every ounce of food, every movement, every breath and every calorie burned, you find that those who ate more fat compared to an identical amount of carbs burned over 100 more calories a day. Over a year, that amounts to about a 10-pound weight loss from doing no more exercise.
Different types of fat
It’s important to eat the right types of fat:
Saturated fat – eat in moderation as can raise cholesterol which can lead to heart disease. It’s also high calories so can lead to weight gain. Found in sweet and savoury. Animal fats and animal products such as meat, butter, cheese and whole milk. Tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil. Cakes, biscuits, chocolate.
Trans Fats – Avoid, avoid, avoid. Often lists “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils in the ingredients. Trans fats act like saturated fats, leading to heart disease and weight gain. Made when oil is hydrogenated to make it more solid. Used in frying and as an ingredient in processed food. Margarine, cakes, biscuits, chocolate.
Types of unsaturated:
Monounsaturated – okay to eat, it can help lower cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil and olives. Rapeseed oil. Some nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts) Avocado
Polyunsaturated – Yes, eat these, they are considered an essential fatty acid (efa) and the body can only obtain in through our diet:
Omega 3: Kippers, herring, trout, sardines, salmon, mackerel
Omega 6: Rapeseed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, Walnuts, almonds, cashews, Hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, Peanut butter, Eggs, Tofu
The take-home here is that most of your fat-cell biology becomes controlled by the quality and type of the food you eat. That explains why we should aim to eat a quality fat, whole-food diet that’s lower in refined carbohydrates, low-glycemic and high in fiber. That plan would include healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and eggs.
Feel good lifestyle fitness 😉