Fat has been demonized in most diet books as the ingredient that makes you gain weight. The advice that’s being dished out is that if you want to lose weight and become lean, you should avoid all kinds of fat in your diet. This is the major reason why lots of people have switched to eating bland boiled food and have eliminated any form of fat from their meals.
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 as 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.
Studies have shown 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. Eating low fat or no fat will therefore continue to make you fat because the alternative that you’re being offered is worse.
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, it provides energy to our bodies, it 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 does not however mean that I am giving you a go ahead to go gorging on all the fatty foods available. That’s beside the point. I want you to 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 your goal is to shed weight and become lean, ensure that 70 percent of all the foods that you eat are from plant sources- veggies, whole grains, beans, fruits and cut back on refined carbs such as white bread and white rice. The tips below will help you make the correct choices as regards the type of fats to eat and 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 and you’ll eventually gain more weight anyway as 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 and will keep you fuller longer.
- Use olive oil which is a healthy unsaturated fat and has been proven to reduce the risk of heart diseases as well as keeping your blood sugar levels healthy.
- Eat lots of fish- fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are essential coz the body can’t make them hence should be included in the diet.
- Eat avocados- they are rich in Potassium, folate, vitamin B, C, and E. They are 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 sweets, your insulin will rise, your blood sugar will drop 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, in combination with an effective exercise program will increase your muscle and therefore increases your metabolism. Higher muscle means you’ll burn more calories both in and out of the gym long after you’re done working out.