There are dozens of misconceptions and myths in the nutrition industry… and while their existence could be understandable back in the 90s, its already 2019 and it is about damn time we eradicate them.
From the founder of “carbs at night make you fat”, partnered up with the creator of “eating fast makes you fatter than eating slow”… I present you “eating fat makes you fat”!! If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard one of those 3 phrases, I think I could buy the Burj Khalifa.
Today we are here to talk about the third one: “eating fat makes you fat”. There is a common belief that eating fat, just because of the fact that it is fat, makes you fat, and I actually find it a bit logical that people who do not know much about nutrition think that. I mean, gaining fat involves the word “fat” so, eating too much “fat” makes you “fat”, right? Well no, it doesn’t work like that.
Let’s just jump right into it.
First of all, fats are one of the three macronutrients (being carbs and proteins the other two) your body needs in order to work optimally.
All three are essential for your body and each and every one of them has crucial roles in your body. That means, you need to consume enough quantities of all three (including fat) so your body can function properly!! Not eating fat = your body not getting what it needs.
Second of all, gaining weight is all about calories in vs calories out. IF YOU EAT MORE CALORIES THAN YOUR BODY NEEDS DURING YOUR DAY (AKA YOU EAT IN A CALORIE SURPLUS), YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT. Is that simple. I don’t care if you eat 0 gr of fat, you eat in a calorie surplus = you gain weight. It has nothing to do with fat itself, it is all about the calories you consume vs the calories you burn.
Now I think the reason why there is a misconception about fat and weight gain it’s because fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient: while both carbs and proteins have 4 calories per gram, a gram of fat has 9 calories. That means, overconsuming fat makes it very easy to eat in a calorie surplus and, therefore, to gain weight.
That exactly is why, in my opinion, people think eating fat makes you fat. When people start overconsuming fat and suddenly start gaining weight, they come to the next conclusion “so, I’ve been eating more fat than usual lately and I’ve started gaining weight, so eating fat makes you fat”. And honestly, I can see the logic in that, but it doesn’t work like that. Yes, overconsuming fat COULD lead to weight gain. Not because of the fat itself, but because you are exceeding your daily calorie requirements. In other words, you are in a calorie surplus.
If you are smart about your caloric intake during your day, you can eat plenty of fat and still lose weight. In fact, you should be eating plenty of fat whether you are trying to lose weight or not. Again, it plays crucial roles in your body so, not eating enough fat = your body not working as good as it should.
Besides, have you ever heard of keto? The ketogenic diet is a weight loss “diet style” that focuses on consuming lots of protein and fats, and very small quantities of carbs. People that follow the keto diet are consuming + 100 gr of fats per day (which would be way over the average person fat requirements) and they are losing fat like its nothing. Why? Because they choose to consume most of their daily calorie needs in the form of fats and proteins, while keeping their carb intake low AND STAYING IN A CALORIE DEFICIT (aka eating less calories than their body needs during the day, which is all you need to do to lose weight).
Whether you like the keto diet or not, the point here is that you can eat lots of fats and lose weight at the same time. Why? Because it is all about calories.
If you are trying to lose weight and you are not following the keto diet (it is not for everyone, personally I don’t like it and I don’t follow it, but I know people that do and they have some amazing results), the low-fat options are the best options for you in my opinion, but not because they have reduced fat content, but because their lower caloric content.
Once again, fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, but that doesn’t mean that fat is making you fat due to just being fat; it’s the extra calories (from all the macronutrients) that is causing you to gain weight.
There is no correlation between overconsuming one macronutrient and gaining weight. But there is a direct correlation, scientifically proven, between eating on a calorie surplus and gaining weight. You don’t gain weight because you eat too much fat, you gain weight because you just eat too much. Fats are not the enemy, neither are carbs or protein. The enemy is consuming more calories than you need in order to support your goals. All you need to do is consume enough carbs, fats and proteins balanced in a way that fits your goals AND promotes optimal health.
That’s it for today’s post!! If you have any doubt, question, suggestion or constructive critic, please do not hesitate to let it in the comments section or use my social media.
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See you in the next one! :)