Eat Fat to Lose Weight? Separating the Fat from the Fiction

In a recent webinar I gave, one of the participants asked the following question: “I keep reading everywhere that fat is good for you. I remember my doctor saying that I should reduce the amount of fat I eat to prevent heart disease. I’m confused. Which statement is correct?”

My response was both are correct! Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? That’s because doctors, patients and everyday eaters alike are all confused about fat. We still hold onto myths and misinformation that prevents us from taking advantage of the latest science to lose weight and become healthier. I recently wrote a blog article on the Good and Bad Fats, in which I described the more common information about the fats we eat.

Here are some of the more common myths or misinformation we hear all of the time:

  1. Fat makes us fat
  2. Fat contributes to heart disease
  3. Fat leads to diabetes
  4. Saturated fat is bad for us, vegetable oils are good

None of these “facts” are true. The right (good) fats can help you become lean, healthy and vibrant, while the wrong fats help do the opposite.

Eating Enough Good Fat Can Make You Thin

The right fats do the following:

  1. Increase your metabolism
  2. Cut your hunger
  3. Stimulate your body to burn fat
  4. Help optimize your cholesterols
  5. Reduce your risk of heart disease
  6. Reverse type 2 diabetes mellitus

Fat Facts You Need to Know

  1. It’s sugar that makes you fat, not fat – The average American eats around 152 pounds of sugar each year. In addition to that, we eat around 146 pounds of flour which is also converted to sugar. This puts a strain on the pancreas which produces insulin and as our bodies create fat from the sugars we cannot burn, we become insulin-resistant.
  2. Sugar is not as complex as fat – There are over 50 names for sugar. Even though there are minor variations of these sugars, they all do the same thing – wreak havoc with our health. Fats are more complex, with saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats (the most dangerous of all). So fats can be good, neutral or bad, depending on the type.
  3. Low-fat diets are heart-unhealthy – When food is low fat, to taste better, sugar is added. Too many sugars can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. Eating more starch or sugar can raise the levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks.
  4. Saturated fat is not bad – In a review article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. Again, it’s the quality of the fat we eat and not the fact we eat fat!
  5. Eating fat can make you lean – We have over 600 trillion cells in our bodies. Each cell has a cell membrane composed of fat. High-quality fats in our cell membranes make our cells better able to metabolize insulin. This keeps our blood sugars under better control. Remember insulin not only regulates blood sugar, but tells the body when and where to store fat (excess energy is stored as fat).