Pick any diet book in any bookstore. You’ll find a common thread in many of these books telling you to eat low fat food because fat will make you gain weight. The advice you’ll get is that in order to lose weight and become lean, you should avoid any form of fat in your diet. This misinformation has led lots of people to switch to eating bland boiled food in the name of losing weight.
This however is not the answer to the rising obesity problem in the west and developing countries alike. Worldwide, the levels of obesity are high. Most people have shifted to eating low fat and are avoiding animal fat altogether. Incidences of diabetes are at an all time high even in kids, something that was unheard of several years ago.
Numerous studies show that the culprit of heart disease is not saturated fat or dietary cholesterol as it used to be thought. Obesity started to skyrocket when most people went low fat. Other studies show that low fat diets do not cause weight loss. In one study, women who ate a high fat low carb diet lost twice as much weight compared to those who ate a restricted low fat diet. More studies show that fat is not a determinant of body fatness.
So, what makes you fat if it’s not the fatty foods? Concluding that eating fatty foods makes you fat is giving a simple answer to a complex problem. It is easy to conclude that since a gram of fat gives you 7 calories, almost twice what carbs and protein gives you, then it is the cause of all your weight gain problems. This however is not true.
When fat is removed from foods, they become tasteless and so manufacturers add loads of sugar and salt to make them tasty. The sugar that is used is called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is also used in soft drinks. This is what makes you fat and not dietary fat. When you eat low fat food or no fat at all, you’ll continue gaining fat because eating low fat is equal to eating lots of sugar.
Should You Avoid Fat?
You should never avoid fat. On the contrary, you should eat fat to lose weight. Fat is essential for normal growth and development, provides energy to our bodies, protects internal organs, maintains cell membranes among a host of other important functions. The body needs carbs, proteins and fat for energy. When you don’t have any fat, it’s like you don’t have the fuel to burn calories. 1/3 of all your calories should therefore come from fat.
This doesn’t however mean that I am giving you a go ahead to gorge on all the fatty foods in your way. That’s beside the point. Learn to look at the total caloric content of food instead of picking fat and branding it evil. If you eat burgers, French fries and Pizzas, it’s the overall nutritional content of these foods that will make you fat and not just the fat.
Make the right food Choices
If you’re looking to shed weight and become lean, ensure that 50 percent of all your food intake is plant based. These include veggies, whole grains, beans, fruits and cut back on refined carbs such as white bread and white rice. The following tips will help you choose the best type of fats and show you how to go about including them in your daily diet:
- Stop eating low fat because your chances of sticking to such a diet are very slim. You’ll eventually gain more weight anyway compared to when you eat moderate amounts of fat.
- Have fat and protein for snacks- Nuts are high in good fats and fiber and are great for digestion. They are also good at keeping you fuller longer.
- Use olive oil- Eating this healthy unsaturated will remarkably reduce your risk of heart disease. Using olive oil will also help in keeping your blood sugar levels healthy.
- Eat lots of fish- Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These omega’s are essential because your body can’t produce them meaning you should include them in your diet.
- Eat avocados- They are rich in Potassium, folate, vitamin B, C, and E. They are also high in fat and calories but are low in sugar and rich in fiber.
- Vitamin A, D, E, and K are very important fat soluble vitamins meaning the body can’t absorb them without fat. Poor nutrient absorption can lead to vitamin deficiencies. These vitamins are vital for maintaining energy, focus and overall muscle health.
- Avoid sweet fats such as flavored yoghurt- If you eat fat and sugar, your insulin levels will spike. This spike will rapidly lower your blood sugar making you very hungry. You’ll therefore crave more sugar and eat more of it the whole day making you gain weight and grow fatter.
Eating good fats combined with an effective exercise program will increase your muscle and as a result elevate your metabolism. You’ll end up burning more calories both in and out of the gym long after you’re done working out. That’s proof that you can eat fat, lose weight and achieve the body you’ve always wanted.