I just want to start by saying, this is probably the highest number of times you are going to hear the word ‘FAT!’. Let’s talk about FAT!
For several years, ‘experts’ have touted low-fat diets as the secret to staying lean and healthy – especially for people who struggle with constant weight gain.The paradox here is, obesity and diabetes rates have only increased since the low-fat trend.
Multiple research studies have since revealed that diets rich in (healthy) fats, actually tend to produce greater rates of weight loss, than low-fat diets.
It would interest you to know that a lot of recent research has deduced that many people who go on “diets” tend to gain back all of the weight shortly after.
Why does this happen?
“One explanation is that weight loss elicits biological adaptations that result in a decline in energy expenditure and an increase in hunger, both of which promote weight regain.”
Fat is an important part of a healthy diet. It provides energy. It helps our guts absorb certain vitamins from foods. And that’s why I believe we should all have this informal, straight to the point conversation about what we should and should not be doing with it in our everyday diets.
First of all, let’s discuss the 411 on ‘low-fat’ diets. When you subscribe to the well marketed ‘low fat diet syndrome’, there’s a 90 + percent chance that you are:
eating foods whose ingredients are filled/replaced with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, and/or other starches.
‘What’s wrong with that?’, you make ask.
Here’s why you stand a higher risk eating a low fat diet:
- Our bodies digest these refined carbohydrates and starches very quickly, affecting blood sugar and insulin levels and possibly resulting in weight gain and disease.
To break it down further more:
The body is designed to break fat down into glucose and use it for energy. When we eat high carb diets (especially refined/processed carbs) or even high amounts fruits that are really sweet, they become easier sources for the body to use for energy. The body starts to rely on these sources of energy, and therefore doesn’t metabolize fat as effectively. As a result of this, excess carbohydrates that the body doesn’t immediately use for energy is converted to fat, meant to be stored for future energy.
Here’s where it gets more technical: If you are constantly feeding your body a high processed carb, sugary diet, it never gets the opportunity to use this stored energy (fat), and so the fat accumulates. Any extra fats consumed at the point where your body has already stored excess sugar/carbs as fat, are then stored as fat since the body is burning its quick and easy form of fuel from carbohydrates. So you see, a diet rich in excess carbohydrates/sugar, not excess fats, is the cause of weight gain.
PLEASE LET THAT SINK IN.
2. Eating enough fats is one of the most important things you can do to balance your hormones naturally. A 2007 study conducted by the Department of Nutrition and Harvard School of Public Health found that high intake of low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of infertility
3. Higher-fat high fibre diets, have been established to be connected to a healthier gut microbiome. A diet with plenty of naturally occurring fatty acids and nutrients provides the needed building blocks for nourishing both a healthy gut, and a healthy brain.
Speaking of the brain: The brain is largely made up of fat and requires a steady stream of fatty acids to perform optimally.
Another thing is: Fats have a high satiation value. It’s honestly so hard to eat two full avocados, or drink a full 16 oz jar of full fat coconut milk, or eat a full stick of butter. But since marketing is selling these (healthy fats) as bad, they are taking the one ingredient that keeps you full, and engineering foods that are less satisfying. Meaning, you’re eating more and more in order to get full. But for some reason, they aren’t telling us that that’s the cause of weight gain.
Rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important that you focus on eating foods rich in healthy fats.
Let’s talk about the different fats:
These fats are found in foods like meats, coconut, avocado, butter. Do you know what these are? Natural sources! Yet, I bet you, your first 3 google searches on saturated fats will tell you that they are bad for you.But that’s false information; these are absolutely vital to your body. (You know, I find it interesting that some of these websites would actually tell you to avoid saturated fats like AVOCADO, but will then go on to say use healthy’ oils like AVOCADO OIL. Where does avocado oil come from?)
These are made by God. And when man-made processes have not compromised these foods, they are actually so good for our bodies. Saturated fats are necessary for absorption of certain vitamins, calcium uptake, immune function, and cell membrane structure. Remember I mentioned, these fats have a high satiation value. It’s so difficult to overeat avocados, or drink too much full cream coconut milk. Highly impossible. When combined with a diet rich in unrefined carbs, people have actually lost weight, had little to no food cravings, and even noticed clearer skin and increased energy.
These are found in oils like olive, sunflower, sesame, flax, peanut, safflower, etc. It’s recommended that they are eaten in their raw state and not heated. When they are heated beyond their smoking point, the nutrients are denatured, and it gives off free radicals that are harmful to one’s health. (read more about free radicals in the next paragraph)
These are found in soybeans, corn, peanuts etc. Monounsaturated fats can also be found in polyunsaturated fats. They are liquid even at cold temperatures, and go rancid easily. These are also the oils we most often heat to really high temperatures when we fry things, causing free radicals which are harmful chemicals that are highly reactive and can be damaging to our cells. Their ability to be heated to high temps is why they are used heavily on the commercial front. These are also the oils used in non-foods like margarine. Most of these oils go through a process of hydrogenation to make them shelf stable. So essentially, these are fats that aren’t naturally sourced, and don’t even provide any relevant source of nutrition or fat that the body can metabolize.
You will see polyunsaturated fats under names like corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, etc and most of them often carry the title “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.” You want to heavily limit these oils, although they are found in practically every product on your store shelves, and also used to make majority of the foods we eat in restaurants.
I am sure the amount of times you have seen “No Trans-Fats” on products tells you all you need to know about trans fats. The hydrogenation process discussed in unsaturated fats, turn these unsaturated fats into much more dangerous trans fats by changing the placement of the hydrogen atoms in the molecule(so much science in one sentence right?). These fats are able to be absorbed by individual cells and heavily mess up the function of the cell. Avoid them at all costs.
I am not asking you to eat fats, just because they are termed healthy, all day, all around the clock. What I am saying is, INCLUDE them in your diet, and consciously eliminate all the low-fat, non-fat foods. It’s very likely the latter has little to no nutritional, beneficial value.
O.K! Now that we know a little about fats, and why your low fat diet is a fad diet that doesn’t benefit your wellness journey, I want to say this:
When it comes to your diet, consider your Individual needs(s).
Remember, there are big differences in how people’s bodies react to different types and amounts of fat.Studies have even found that genes are very likely NOT be responsible for this. Science is quite complex, and research is always evolving. Now, these same ‘experts’ are moving away from focusing on single nutrients—such as fat—and are now talking about healthy dietary patterns; i.e eating in a way that takes all aspects of your diet/health into account.
“The makeup of the microbiome—all the microorganisms that normally live in the body, mainly in the gut—can differ widely between people.”
In very simple terms, what works for the goose, may not work for the gander.
So the summary of my post is: LOW FAT DIETS ARE FAD DIETS. There, I said it…. respectfully. I’m just kind of tired of everyone wanting to lose weight, while their overall health is deteriorating, but they don’t get to focus on that, only to gain the weight months later. It’s so unsustainable and wrong in all the ways. I hope this gives you the information you need to pursue a sustainable (healthy) fat diet. 🙂
Always in Love and Health,