Today’s episode, “Want To Lose Fat? Eat More Fat!” is all about how you can accelerate your weight loss and fat loss goals if you decide to eat more fat. Yup, that’s right, fat is not the enemy. In fact, healthy fats can accelerate your weight loss. We talk about how restricting fat from your diet can slow your weight loss, the important role fat plays in fat burning & hormonal balance and then discuss some of the good (and bad) fats for fat loss.
The Myth We’re Debunking: Dietary fat makes you gain weight. We’ve been told for decades that cutting fat from our diets is the way to weight loss. We’ve been told to choose low-fat and fat-free versions of all sorts of products, even though those options are loaded with sugar and chemicals! We’ve been told that dietary cholesterol is the cause of heart disease and that we’ll improve our figure and our health if we just avoid dietary fat. It’s all wrong!!
The Facts: Restricting fat from your diet can actually make weight loss much more difficult. Cutting fat actually reduces the activity of enzymes in our bodies that help to burn fat. Meanwhile, cutting dietary fat INCREASES the activity of enzymes that help STORE fat. On top of that, restricting our intake of dietary fat can lead to hormonal imbalances which may slow our metabolic rate, prevent fat burning and increase hunger and cravings. Eating ample amounts of the right types of dietary fat can upregulate our metabolism, keep us satisfied for hours, eliminate cravings and keep us in fat burning mode.
We think of fat as a “high calorie food” – fat has more calories than protein and carb therefore protein and carb are healthier than fat – the first part is true. The second part is not. Yes, fat is more calorie dense than protein or carbohydrate but most of us don’t really understand what that means. A gram of fat has more calories than a gram of carbohydrate or protein, right? A gram of fat has 9 calories whereas a gram of protein or carbohydrate has only 4. That’s one of the big reasons people think fat is “fattening”. The problem is that we’re thinking about it all wrong. A calorie isn’t some magical thing that piles up and makes you look fatter. Calories are how we measure the energy potential in food. This one mindset switch might help many of you look at calories for what they truly are and move away from this eat less move more way of thinking about weight loss. Basically, dietary fat delivers twice as much energy to our bodies than protein or carbohydrate!! That’s a GOOD thing! That means that we can fuel our body for longer on less than we can if we just stuck to protein or carbs. Practically speaking, what does this mean? It means our body senses good, long lasting fuel and therefore doesn’t deploy signals that trigger hunger and cravings when we eat fat. So eating fat makes us feel full, it sustains our energy and keeps hunger and cravings at bay!!!
Here are some of the incredibly important roles fat plays in the body:
- It is a structural component of every single cell
- Our brains are approximately 60% fat
- Fat is necessary for healthy vision
- Fat is critical for cognitive health, attention and focus
- Fat is required to make the receptors for dopamine and serotonin – our primary mood regulators
- Fat intake influences metabolism
- Fat is required for the metabolism of fat soluble nutrients like antioxidants and vitamin D
- Fat intake is required for satiety
- Fats influence blood pressure and blood clotting
- Fat is needed for the proper growth and calcification of bone
- Fat is necessary for hair, skin and nail health
Practical Implementation: Include healthy fats with all your meals and snacks. If you find yourself regularly hungry, you probably aren’t eating enough fat. Healthy fats that can support weight loss include: avocado, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, grass fed butter, grass fed beef, tallow, lard, MCT oil, macadamia nuts and coconut. Of course you don’t want to go overboard, but including one serving of healthy fats with all my meals and snacks has made a huge difference in my personal fat loss, hormonal balance and satiety.