There are multiple paths to take when trying to lose weight. From fad diets to high-intensity exercises, you’ll find people giving a plethora of advice, some good and some not so healthy. What you’ll hear most often, however, are certain misconceptions about eating fat for weight loss. Let’s explain just why eating the right kind of fat is actually healthy and how it’ll help you lose weight.
Misconception #1: Eating Fat Will Make You Fat
It is true that fat has a higher caloric content per gram as compared to sugar or protein. But it is the way your body processes these calories that is more important.
Foods that are high in fat are actually quite filling, and this makes it harder to overeat. In fact, many studies show that people tend to lose more weight when following a high-fat (low-carb) diet than a low-fat diet.1 What makes the ignorance worse is that there is an increasing number of studies showing that low-fat diets increase the risk of weight gain by increasing triglycerides, lowering HDL levels, and decreasing the size of LDL particles.
It is really quite revolting when nutritionists and healthcare professionals continue to recommend low-fat, high-carb diets for weight loss when these have repeatedly been proven to be harmful and ineffective in achieving weight loss.2
Misconception #2: Low-Fat Foods Are Healthier Than Full-Fat Foods
By now, you understand that there is no need to go for low-fat products instead of full fat, but we would like to add something here. Fat is not only responsible for adding flavor to any product that has fat but is also needed to retain the structure of the food. If you remove the fat from yogurt, it will not look, feel, or taste the same.
To compensate for this, most go for additives and preservatives such as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. These make the product low in fat but also high in sugar. And yes, it is labeled low fat even though it contains added sugar.
Fat-free foods are high in sugar and our bodies digest carbohydrates quite quickly! This results in blood sugar imbalance and cravings, making it more difficult to control the overall calorie intake. Trying to eat low-fat foods will result in you eating more quantities and more calories.
Misconception #3: Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease
A massive review article published in 2010 looked at 21 prospective epidemiological studies with a total of 347,747 subjects.3 According to this study, there is absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease. Another review published in 2014 looked at data from 76 studies with a total of 643,226 participants, which showed similar results.4
The fact that many students of nutrition, biology, and medicine are taught these misconceptions, which are re-enforced through health recommendation and nutritional guidelines, is horrifying.
An entire food industry relies on your belief in these misconceptions. The best bet for you is to gain more knowledge and educate yourself about what is right. For your reference, here is a list of relevant studies:
|↑1||Westman, Eric C., Richard D. Feinman, John C. Mavropoulos, Mary C. Vernon, Jeff S. Volek, James A. Wortman, William S. Yancy, and Stephen D. Phinney. “Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86, no. 2 (2007): 276-284.|
|↑2||Santos, F. L., S. S. Esteves, A. da Costa Pereira, W. S. Yancy Jr, and J. P. L. Nunes. “Systematic review and meta‐analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors.” Obesity reviews 13, no. 11 (2012): 1048-1066.|
|↑3||Siri-Tarino, Patty W., Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, and Ronald M. Krauss. “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2010): ajcn-27725.|
|↑4||Chowdhury, Rajiv, Samantha Warnakula, Setor Kunutsor, Francesca Crowe, Heather A. Ward, Laura Johnson, Oscar H. Franco et al. “Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary riska systematic review and meta-analysis.” Annals of internal medicine 160, no. 6 (2014): 398-406.|