If you’ve ever heard someone say that eating fat makes you fat, then you’re not alone. The notion that eating fat will pack on the pounds has been around as long as there have been diets and dieters, but it turns out that saying is actually counterproductive to anyone hoping to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. Read on to learn why eating fat doesn’t make you fat!
How the idea was born
We’ve all heard it: Cut down on your fat, or you’ll get fat. But is it true? In large part, yes! Although fat makes up only 15% of your total calories (and much of that is saturated), getting too much fat leads to weight gain and obesity, both of which cause heart disease and other health problems. The answer isn’t to cut out fat entirely—it’s simply to eat less of it than you might think.
What are fats?
Fats, of course, are not to be confused with oils. Fats are also sometimes called lipids and can include monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), saturated fats, trans fats, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. A gram of fat contains about 9 calories versus 4 calories for a gram of carbohydrate or protein. And that’s about all you need to know about fat for today!
Fats vs. Carbs
Which Are Worse For Weight Loss? : Many people believe that eating fat makes you fat, but recent research suggests otherwise. Certain fats can actually make it easier to lose weight, so don’t discount them! It is true that certain high-fat foods (like ice cream) are calorie-dense and can lead to weight gain if they become your go-to option. But at a basic level, there is no evidence that we gain more weight from eating too much fat versus eating too many carbs. In fact, eating more healthful fats—like avocados and nuts—has been linked with a reduced risk of obesity as well as a lower body mass index (BMI). When it comes to losing weight, switching from processed carbohydrates to natural fats might be worth considering.
Where do fats come from?
Fats that we eat are known as dietary fats. They come from two main sources: plant-based foods and animal-based foods. Foods that come from animals, such as meat, dairy products, and eggs, contain fat. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains are primarily made up of carbs. Fats in plants are called saturated fats because they’re usually solid at room
temperature (or close to it). Many nuts and seeds also contain some saturated fat. The most common saturated fats in plants are stearic acid (which can be found in cocoa beans) and palmitic acid (which is commonly found in palm oil), but there are many more different types of saturated fat besides these two.
How do I eat fats?
First, it’s important to note that it’s possible to eat fat and still be thin. It all comes down to what types of fats you’re eating, and how much of them you consume. That said, if you’re trying to lose weight, it can be easy to fall into old habits; so in order to keep things simple, here are some general guidelines for adding healthy fats back into your diet: * Use olive oil (or better yet extra-virgin olive oil) when sautéing veggies or cooking grains. * Cook with coconut oil instead of processed oil. * Eat high-quality meats (beef, chicken, fish). If they have skin on them — even better! The skin is a concentrated source of essential fatty acids that support a healthy metabolism.
How much fat should I eat?
The answer to how much fat you should eat depends on what kind of fat you’re talking about. Generally speaking, fats found in whole foods are good for you, and fats added during food preparation or processing (think trans fats) aren’t. Eating unsaturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease, but eating saturated (mono- and polyunsaturated) fats are actually good for your heart. Saturated fats are found in animal products like butter, milk, egg yolks, beef, pork, and lamb. Trans-fats are derived from partially hydrogenated oils and have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eating fat does not make you fat, but what makes you fat is eating too much. Portion control is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your body at a low percentage of body fat.