Fat Phobia: Does Eating Fat Cause Weight Gain?

Disclaimer: I do not intend to offend anybody by speaking about certain diets or by using the word ‘fat’. I am a strong believer that nobody knows their body better than themselves and happiness is more important than appearance once you have a clean bill of health.

Low fat diets have become extremely popular within the weight loss industry in recent years. Each time we enter a supermarket, there are more and more low fat groceries available to buy. Whether it’s cheese, meat or biscuits you are looking for, you are sure to spot a wrapper with the words ‘low in fat’ printed on it. While diet plans such as Slimming World and Unislim are great in helping people to lose excess weight, the programmes encourage people to stay away from full fat foods.

One very common misconception is that eating fat will ‘make you fat’. What most people don’t realise is that many ‘lower in fat’ foods contain twice the amount of sugar/salt than the original product to compensate for the loss in flavour. People are becoming more and more obsessed with calories and grams of fat in something rather than the ingredients. If people were to focus on eating more wholefoods over processed foods there would be less of a need to worry about how many calories or grams of fat that you are consuming.

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Much like anything in life there are good kinds of fat and bad kinds of fat. For people who are trying to lose weight it is very beneficial to add good fats into your diet. If you have been following a low fat diet for a long time and have hit a plateau with your weight, this means that your body have gone into defence mode. This is when your body isn’t being fed enough fat and it clings onto any bit of fat on your body to protect your vital organs. By re-introducing fats you can kick-start your weight loss yet again.

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It is vital to include healthy fats in your diet as it allows for you to absorb vitamins A, D and E, helps to shed unnecessary pounds and keeps you feeling full for longer. You should be eating more monounsaturated (found in olives, nuts, seeds and avocado) and polyunsaturated fats (found in fish, poultry and nuts) as they lower cholesterol and provide essential fatty acids, while you should reduce saturated fats (found in dairy and meats) and try to eliminate trans fats (margarine, chipper food, processed biscuits etc.) fats. There is no need to completely remove saturated fats but they should be met with caution.

The following is a list of benefits that come from incorporating more healthy fats into your diet:

  • Easier to Lose Fat: As your body knows it is being fed fat and doesn’t feel the need to hold onto it
  • Better Skin and Hair: Omega 3 and 6 boost hydration of skin cells and hair follicles as well as boosting collagen
  • Stronger Immunity: Fats found in coconut oil are anti-viral and anti-fungal which gives support to your immune system
  • Better Mood and Brain Function: Your brain is mainly made up of fat and is responsible for the creation of serotonin A.K.A the happy hormone. By feeding your brain more fat you are providing it with the energy it needs to produce more serotonin.
  • Balanced Hormones: Fat is used in the manufacturing of hormones in both men and women as well as gene improvement
  • Reduction in Belly Fat: When you eat more healthy fats your body will start to re-distribute fat around your body and allow excess belly fat to be shed as you are eating enough to protect your organs.

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Although eating healthy fats is good for your body it is important to remember to eat it in moderation. Fats should be incorporated into a balanced diet which included all of your essential macronutrients and micronutrients. Next time you are having a bowl of porridge you can add a small handful of nuts and seeds to your bowl or swap out cheese in your sandwich with avocado. The smallest of changes can make a big difference.

Until next time,

Lauren

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