Did you know that eating fat does not make you fat? Did you know that you can actually eat fat to lose fat? Let’s take a look.
So what is the current position on fat?
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, fat was demonised. Eating anything fatty was also said to cause heart disease but new research now shows that to be totally incorrect.
The conventional advice was to eat low-fat; the low fat diet was very common because it was claimed that if you eat fat you will be fat.
A meta-analysis of 21 prospective studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that there was no significant evidence for concluding that saturated fats was linked with the risk of cardiovascular disease.
They found sugar and trans fat to be the problem.
All calories are not created equal
To lose weight effectively, the current position has always been to count your calories; to eat less and exercise more.
From a caloric viewpoint, this made sense because in terms of calories, fat has nine calories per gram, as opposed to carbohydrates and protein which have four calories per gram each.
The belief was that if you ate less fat, you will eat fewer calories so you will lose fat.
This theory does not work because all calories are not created equal and fat loss is more than just counting calories, your hormones have a role to play.
The current premise does not believe that you can eat fat to lose fat.
So how can you eat fat to lose fat?
When you eat fat it speeds up your metabolism. This makes you are less hungry and therefore burns fat.
Various studies now show that you can eat fat to lose fat.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared weight loss in two groups of people – the first group were on a high-fat, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet while the other group were on a low-calorie, low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
The study found that the low-carbohydrate, high-fat, high-protein group lost 7.3% of their total body weight compared to the low-fat, low-calorie and high-carbohydrate group who lost just 4.5%.
There was more weight loss in the low-carbohydrate, high-fat and high-protein group and they had better improvement in their HDL and blood triglycerides, showing that you can eat fat to lose fat.
A study published in the OpenHeart Journal found that a diet low in saturated fat does not reduce heart disease or help you live longer and refined carbohydrates and not fats are behind the rise in obesity.
Another study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care found that a low intake of diary fat (no butter, low fat milk, no cream) was linked to a higher risk of developing central obesity (belly fat) compared to a high intake of dairy fat (butter, high fat milk, whipping cream) which was linked to a lower risk of central obesity (belly fat).
Healthy fats to eat
All fats are not created equal. Some fats are healthy and some, like the trans fats are not healthy.
These are the healthy fats to include in your diet:
– Coconut oil or coconut butter
– Wild fish (sardines/salmon)
– Grass-fed butter (butter is not a health food but it is not harmful)
– Nuts and seeds
– Nut butter
– Quality extra virgin olive oil
The bottom line
Your diet is the biggest driver for problems with your weight. It is important for you to eat real food and get rid of processed food.
Do not worry about the calories, it is nothing to do with energy.
Being fat is what makes you eat more and exercise less because your fat cells get hungry and make you overeat but as the aforementioned studies show, you can actually eat fat to lose fat.
Connect with Expert Awele Anne Anyia
1. Siri-Tarino P W, Sun Q, Hu F B, Krauss R M (2010) Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2. Foster G D, Wyatt H R, Hill J O, McGuckin B G, Brill C, Mohammed B S, Szapary P O, Rader D J, Edman J S, Klein S (2003) A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine
3. Holmberg S, Thelin A (2013) High dairy fat intake related to less central obesity: a male cohort study with 12 years’ follow-up. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
4. DiNicolantonio J J (2014) The cardiometabolic consequences of replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates or omega-6 polyunsaturated fats: Do the dietary guidelines have it wrong? OpenHeart