Yuri Elkaim—Fat started getting a bad rap in the 1970s and 80s, when low-fat and fat-free diets were all the rage. Cut fat from your diet, and you’ll lose fat from your body — that was the promise.
The problem? Dieting doesn’t work like that. Just as low-fat, Olestra-laden, Foreman-grilled foods boomed in the marketplace, obesity numbers started skyrocketing. Something was seriously wrong. The public was being warned that fat was to fear, so they carbo-loaded on Snackwells treats and pounded packs of high-sugar (but nonfat!) yogurt.
But, when we began to really look at the body processes behind obesity, fat wasn’t to blame. It couldn’t be. It had been cut in record amounts from diets everywhere.
Why Low-Fat Diets Don’t Make You Lose Fat
1. Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat
When you eat fat, your body doesn’t instantly turn it into body fat. It’s not a 1:1 ratio. When consumed with a whole-food, no-refined carb diet, your body actually uses fats as a powerful slow-burning energy source. Eat fat, get energy. That’s the equation at work here.
2. Cutting Fat Makes You Hungry
Fat comes with a satisfying feel and provides flavor to help us feel full. Most importantly, fats digest more slowly than carbs or protein, so they keep us satiated longer.
3. Cutting Fat Makes You Eat More
Not satiated? Studies show low-fat food eaters turn to carbs to cut their hunger and cravings. More carbs (especially refined carbs) means more blood sugar highs and lows. And a lot of hard-to-beat cravings.
4. Low-Fat Often Means High Sugar
To make foods fat-free or low-fat, food companies turn to additional processing, adding chemicals and fat replacers to keep textures and tastes similar to the original product. These additives (gums, inulin, maltodextrin, plydestrose, starch, modified food starch) are carbohydrate-based fat replacers. In many instances, fancy names for sugar.
5. Low-Fat Isn’t Healthy
Instead, turn to a, whole-food diet. Low-fat foods are chemically altered, far from the natural state of the original substance.
How Eating Fats Can Actually Make You Thin
The truth is, your body needs fat. It needs fat for energy. It needs fat to feel full. It needs fat to work right.
Just as all calories aren’t created equal, all fats aren’t created equal. Trans fats are a no-go because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But some saturated fats — like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats — actually boost your nutrition, help protect you from disease and deliver the power-punch of slow-burning energy good fats are made for.
We call these fats “superfats”— aka, fats that are more than flavor, more than a mealtime cooking agent, more than slow-burning energy. They’re high-quality, wholly natural, health-supportive fats that will do you right on every level.
Swap out the bad fats — corn, soy and vegetable oils, and margarines, shortening and other fats primarily used in processed foods and packaged meals — and you’ll start to feel a difference in your body. Add approximately four to eight tablespoons of these healthy superfats everyday (consult a nutrition coach to determine the ideal amount for your own diet), and you’ll be fuller, fitter, and feeling great.
Yuri Elkaim is a registered holistic nutritionist, NY Times best-selling author of The All Day Energy Diet and author of the soon-to-be-released All Day Fat Burning Diet.