NOT surprisingly if you want to know how to lose weight, you’re probably massively confused about whether fat you eat = fat on your hips (stomach, thighs, arms, etc).
Surprisingly, many people, maybe you, have bought into the idea that fat you eat = fat on your body. And simply, it does not.
Research has shown that low fat diets DO NOT help with fat loss over the long-term. Low fat, only leads to increased weight loss when compared to NO FAT diets. Is that even safe? Given how important fat is to the body (see below). And low fat diets lead to LESS weight loss compared with low carbohydrate diets. Wow, so it’s like if you eat fat, you lose fat.
Low fat is not the way to go
Fat in food consists of fatty acids, mainly in the form of triglycerides (triacylglycerols). These are 3 fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone. When you eat these triglycerides, your body does multiple things with them. First, it must break them apart (into 3 fatty acids and a glycerol). Your body will package the fatty acids up (into chylomicrons) and deliver them around the body where the body uses them:
- Fats comprise the myelin sheath of nerve cells, allowing for appropriate nervous system conduction.
- Fat (and cholesterol) make up the brain, thus fats in the diet are crucial for a healthy brain.
- Fats form steroid hormones (eg cortisol)- necessary for life.
- Fats transport fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)- these nutrients are extremely important to the body…crucial even.
- Fats make up and maintain the health of cell membranes (composed of fatty aids) = healthy cell to cell communication.
Carbohydrates on the other hand, or sugars, the body will use immediately. BUT here is the huge problem, there is a maximum capacity of sugars the body can use at any one time. And do you know what the body does with sugar once no more is needed? It stores it. Yup, first as glycogen in the muscle and liver, for when the body may need some “quick sugar” later (say in between a meal). Then, the body turns glucose into fats, stored in adipocytes (your fat cells).
So, the more carbohydrates you are chowing down on, which ends up being A LOT of the calories in a low fat diet, you actually do more harm than good, and then you wonder why it is impossible for you to lose weight and keep it off (not surprisingly).
Here is one of my favorite things that people say about fat: it’s not that fat is bad, it is all about the amount of fat that you eat. Well, that is true of everything. So here is the deal, you need to eat fat, you need to eat the right types of fat, you need to avoid certain fats, you need to analyze what type of carbohydrates you eat, and you need to take inventory of your protein habits. It’s an all or nothing. (And I am not even going to get into the fact that you have to eat vegetables, that’s a given, right? right?)
Simply put healthier fat choices include:
- butter (preferably grass fed, pastured),
- ghee (clarified butter- no milk protein, lower allergy risk)
- coconut oil,
- olive oil,
- grass fed red meat,
- organic poultry,
- wild game meats,
- raw nuts and seeds,
I am not a big fan of pressed vegetable oils such as canola, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, corn, soy, as the omega profile can become easily rancid and these fats are processed. (Polyunsaturated fats are more easily oxidized than saturated fats).
More Diet dos and don’ts related to fat in your diet
The dietary fat guidelines of the late 1970’s are not even based on sound science. Many of the fats recommended are inflammatory. Another story for another day, but I promise, a good one.
If you are still confused about cholesterol. Here it is simply: cholesterol in your diet doesn’t influence the body’s cholesterol levels, as black and white, as the medical/drug community would like you to believe. In fact there is growing evidence that cholesterol may be way more important than the small fraction of people who are actually helped by lowering cholesterol. How about these numbers: 50% of people who suffer a heart attack have “normal” cholesterol levels, and 75% of those who suffer a heart attack have LDL under the target 130mg/dL. May be, because “we” are chasing the wrong problem……but statins do make companies a lot of money. Again, a story for another day.
Here is to your health,