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Eat Fat to Lose Weight

There are two objections to this concept. First, it goes against everything we've ever been told about weight loss. Every bit of dietary advice suggests we cut the fat out of everything we eat and drink. It's difficult to imagine that we can eat calorie-dense, high fat food as part of a weight loss program. Not only can we, but in fact we must eat those foods to lose weight.

Remember that there are three basic food groups:

Protein. We've been eating about the same amount of protein for well over 100 years. Protein is an essential building block in body maintenance and repair, and is an absolute dietary requirement. However, it is possible to eat too much protein in two respects. First, the kidneys have trouble with the disposal of  excess protein, and second, the body can convert protein into carbohydrates during carbohydrate deprivation. Similar to dietary carbs, those converted carbohydrates stimulate insulin, promote fat storage, and prevent fat burning.

There is a correct amount of protein to eat, which is:

  • In grams: 75-150 grams depending on your own body size and activity level.
  • In servings: 2-3 portions at ever meal. (A portion is one of the following: 2 eggs; 2 pieces of bacon; 4 oz. meat, chicken, or fish; 2 oz. cheese or salami).

Carbohydrates. I talked about those in a previous post, and stressed that carbohydrates play too large a role in the Standard American Diet (SAD). We overindulge in carbohydrates as part of the growing obesity epidemic. We want to lower carbohydrate consumption to at or below what it was 100 years ago. If you're interested in losing weight, your dietary carbohydrates have to go way down. (Way less to weigh less? Sorry, I like puns.)

A dieter's carbohydrate portions are:

  • In grams: 20-50 grams a day.
  • In servings: 4 portions daily only from the following list. (Portion: 3 or more should come from leafy greens (unlimited quantity) and 1/2 cup raw vegetables (excluding root veggies, shelling peas, and winter squash); 0-1 portion chosen from  1/4 cup berries, 1.5 oz dark chocolate, or 1/4 cup crispy nuts).

Fats. When you're limited in protein and limited in carbohydrates, only one food group remains: fats.

Fats provide several benefits: enhanced absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, flavor, satiety (the good full feeling after eating), and they don't cause your body to make insulin. If you ate a meal of nothing but fat, your body would not know how to store that fat without a carb-driven insulin signal. No carbs, no insulin, no fat storage.

A weight loss diet may have a great percentage (50-80%) of its calories come from fat, so long as the amount of carbs and protein is limited. Additionally, the fat included in the diet must be good quality.

Good quality fats are organic, mostly from animals (meat, butter, cream, egg yolks, cheese, salami) and seeded sources (olive oil, coconut oil); no vegetable oils, and no frying in high temperatures (deep frying or sautéing).

A dieter's fat portions are limited by satiety. Satiety develops over 20 minutes, therefore, if you rush your food, your “fullness” can belatedly catch up with you and then you'll feel overly full.

But won't I get heart disease? Heart disease is no longer thought to be associated with saturated fat or any fat intake. The best predictor of heart disease comes from two portions of your cholesterol test.  You are at increased risk of heart disease if you have one or both of the following:

  • High triglycerides (which come from carbohydrates) and/or
  • Low HDL's (the result of avoiding saturated fat and eating carbohydrates.)

Remember, back at the beginning I said there were two objections to eating more fat? Beyond the challenge to ignore misguided fat-avoidance, some people's bodies are out of practice, and they have difficulty remembering how to digest dietary fats. Fat digestion is enhanced through simple dietary suggestions and supplementation, and deserves its own full blog. 

Meanwhile, please let me know how these three blog posts sit with you: does it make sense to eat the cheese, and leave the apple, to eat the butter and leave the bread?  I'm curious to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment if you have one.

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