Eating fat helps you lose fat – FACT!
I understand that it is somewhat counter-intuitive to accept that eating fat facilitates fat loss, as fat is almost twice as high in calories as carbs and proteins and if we eat fat it must make us fat, no? Well, no!
I know I talk a lot about fats, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to incorporate healthy fats in to your diet. They are not just fundamental to brain function, cellular activity, glowing hair & skin and heightened mood, they are key in the extremely complex processes of manufacturing hormones and keeping them in balance and this hormonal balance is a critical aspect of weight loss, or more specifically, fat loss.
Many studies have confirmed that eating fat increases satiety, meaning your hunger is more quickly satisfied and this feeling will last much longer than eating a meal low in fat – hence you eat less.
Low fat diets tend to be high in carbohydrates. ‘Lite’, low-fat, non-fat foods contain higher amounts of sugars, flavourings and fillers (added starch) to try and replace the satisfying ‘mouth-feel’ and flavour that fat provides, but these additions will not only not lead to you feeling satisfied, the sugars will trigger a rise in insulin levels. This may well lead to these sugars becoming the very body fat you are trying to lose – here’s why….
Insulin is a very powerful hormone that controls blood sugar levels. When insulin levels are high, triggered by eating sugar and high carb foods, insulin moves these sugars out of the blood while also triggering a series of enzymic pathways that tells the body to store fat. When insulin levels are low, enzymes are triggered to release fat from the cells to be burned as energy.
Eating fat helps to keep insulin levels low, therefore inhibiting the fat-storage message. The notorious Atkins diet (very high fat, high protein, virtually no carbohydrates) worked on this principle – keep insulin levels low enough, the body will burn fat as fuel rather than store it. Although the Atkins diet is not something I would ever recommend as a healthy option, its success as a weight-loss tool does demonstrate that insulin management is critical to losing body fat.
So, a healthy way to get rid of the trouble spots that just won’t shift is to keep refined carbohydrates like sugar, white flour, crisps, baked goods, chocolate etc. to an absolute minimum; have small amounts of whole grains for breakfast and lunch but for really good results stay off them after about 5pm; include a wide range of low-starch fruits & vegetables (no potatoes, corn or parsnips) and make sure all you meals have healthy fats and proteins present.
This will ensure your insulin levels stay low so your body is primed to burn fat rather than store it. Understanding this process is key to losing stubborn body fat and for releasing yourself from the low-fat mantra that so many people are caught up in.
See my previous blog for which fats are healthy and which are not.