Food and diet trends starting in the 1990s led us down a long, misleading path we are still finding our way out from. Common food products were labeled with “low fat” options and low-fat diets became all the craze.
All this conditioned us to believe that fats are bad for you, and that you should minimize the amount of fat you eat.
Fat has been blamed for the rising rates of obesity (Bray et al., 2004).
But the evidence just isn’t there. “Over the past 30 years in the U.S., the percentage of calories from fat in people’s diets has gone down, but obesity rates have skyrocketed.” (Harvard Obesity Prevention Source)
It may seem counterintuitive, but eating fats doesn’t make you fat. It has the opposite effect.
Eating fats actually helps you feel satisfied for longer, keeping your weight and blood sugar levels controlled.
Here are some myth-busting reasons why you should incorporate more healthy, quality fats into your regular meals and snacks:
MYTH: The more calories you eat, the more weight you gain.
FACT: Eating fat helps you burn MORE calories.
If high fat foods are more calorie-dense than lower fat foods, doesn’t that mean you’ll gain weight from eating more fats?
This is based on the common but dangerous dietary theory that all calories are the same. This cannot be farther from the truth.
Much more goes into your system to determine how different foods are processed in your digestive system, and how your metabolism will run. The emphasis here should not be on the quantity of the calories you eat (I am a huge proponent of ditching calorie-counting for good) but on the quality of the food you eat.
FACT: Eating fats speeds up your metabolism.
Numerous human experiments show that people who ate high-fat diets had a faster metabolism than those eating low-fat diets. Those on low-fat diets had to compensate by eating a higher ratio of carbs for energy. This group happened to store more belly fat, likely as a result of eating an unbalanced diet.
FACT: Eating fats make you feel fuller for longer.
The condition here is that you are eating a balanced meal containing all 3 macronutrients: quality fats, complex carbs, and lean protein. In this context, fat is satisfying because of the way it interacts with the other quality, whole foods you’re eating. The ice cream and cookies version of a high-fat diet won’t be satiating at all.
When fats are consumed in higher ratios, especially when balanced with complex carbs, they prevent spikes in your blood sugar, which is what regulates your sense of hunger vs. satiety.
To incorporate more healthy, quality fats into your diet, start with nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, and yogurt.
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