One of the biggest misconceptions in the world of dieting and weight loss is that fat makes you fat. The reality is that sugar makes you fat. When it comes to fats, there are good fats and bad fats. Avoiding fats altogether is a mistake you should never make. Many low-fat diets claim that you can lose weight and improve your overall health by limiting yourself to 10% fats per day.
Now that’s a mistake you should never make. The question is, “Are fats really to blame for obesity and heart disease?”
Several studies have shown that not all fats are created equal. And in that regard, studies show that sticking to a low-fat diet won’t help with your weight loss plan. People are left confused which is which, and they end up eating unhealthy fats and avoiding the beneficial ones.
What studies have shown
A case study by the British National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration resulted in a report on obesity and its connection to fats. According to the report, “encouraging people to eat a low-fat diet is having disastrous impact on health.” The report is based on an analysis of 43 studies, all of which were researching the effect of low-fat diets.
The British National Obesity Forum calls for a complete overhaul of dietary guidelines, and making sure people do not follow low-fat diets. In the report, the Obesity Forums says “low-fat and lower cholesterol messages have had unintended disastrous health consequences.” The report is labeled “Eat fat, cut the carbs and avoid snacking to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes.” Here are some key findings from the report.
- Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. According to the repot, high-fat and low-carb diets are better suited for losing weight than low-fat and high-carb diets.
- Calorie counting doesn’t work. As with fats, calories are not created equal. A person consuming 1,500 unhealthy calories will gain more weight than a person consuming 2,500 healthy calories.
- You cannot outrun a poor diet. This means that if you are not eating healthy, no matter how much you exercise, you cannot lose weight.
- Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.
- Meal frequency influences your weight. Snacking is one of the biggest factors contributing to obesity.
- Commercial influences have corrupted public dietary guidelines. The food and beverage industry is to blame for the manipulative approach toward healthy and unhealthy fats.
- Foods labeled “low-fat” and “low-cholesterol” should be avoided.
Why you need to consume fats
The fact of the matter is that healthy dietary fats actually promote burning of body fat and speed up your metabolism. Our body needs both carbs and fat for fuel. When our body burns glucose (carbs) for fuel, you actually inhibit your body from accessing and burning body fat. That’s why a low-fat, high-carb diet doesn’t work. Your liver doesn’t burn fat for fuel and energy, simply because that’s not needed. There are already enough carbs, and that results in fat stored in your cells.
That means that a high-carb, low-fat diet reduces your chances and ability to burn fat for fuel. So, what can you do to rev up the fat-burning engine? How can you make your body burn fat, not carbs, for fuel?
Well, the simple solution is to up your consumption of healthy dietary fats. The other part of the equation is to limit your carb intake. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to follow a strict diet like the ketogenic diet (an extremely high-fat diet). But you should definitely up your fats and lower your carbs.
Healthy fats to eat
We’ve been talking about healthy and unhealthy fats for so long. With that in mind, let’s finally look at the fats that you should consume.
- Olives and olive oil, as long they are third-party certified; avoid cooking with olive oil, and use it only cold
- Coconut oil and coconuts; this is the oil you should use for cooking, as it can withstand higher temperatures
- Butter made from grass-fed animals
- Grass-fed meats
- Lard and tallow
- Seeds (sesame, pumpkin, hemp, cumin)
- Pecans, raw nuts, and macadamia nuts
- Organic-pastured egg yolks
- Small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies
Once you increase your consumption of fat, your body will adapt to using fat as a fuel and energy source. While it sounds strange, eating more fat will result in burning more fat.
Fats you need to avoid
The key to following a diet that’s moderate in fats is to avoid the bad fats. As mentioned previously, there are good fats, and there are bad fats. The trick is to load your diet with the good ones, and avoid the bad ones. Here are the fats you need to avoid:
- Highly refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as peanut, corn, and soy oil; these are high in damaged omega-6 fats and can produce toxic oxidation products
- Trans fats; every single article on the harmful effects of fats will warn you about trans fats, which are present in processed foods and contribute to oxidative stress (causing more and more cellular damage)
Health benefits of high-fat, low-carbs diets
In addition to the 43 studies analyzed by the National Obesity forum, there are several other studies that show that there are benefits to a high-fat diet.
Evidence suggests that in addition to losing weight, diets high in fats can improve your metabolism, boost your overall energy level, lower inflammation, and improve overall health. Here are the simple guidelines:
- Limit your carbs to 50g (1.7oz) per day (this is total carbs minus fiber)
- Limit protein intake to 1g per kg
- Increase your consumption of healthy fats to up to 50% of your daily caloric intake