The Truth About High Fat Diets

The recent fat consumption craze is gaining popularity and it may make you wonder: ‘what’s so great about plunging a stick of butter into my coffee every day?’

Contrary to the common belief from the 80’s and 90’s – fitness gurus and trainers now suggest that fat isn’t only better for you than was originally thought but that it’s actually a miracle cure for obesity, diabetes and other diseases! Many programs, diets and articles encourage: ‘eat fat to lose fat’.  Two years ago an image of butter accompanied by an intriguing title was published on the cover of the Time Magazine.  This glorification of fat followed by the explanation that it ‘aids’ weight loss or that ‘the more fat you eat the better’  and finally that it keeps you full for longer has led to a boom in the diet scene such as: ketogenic, low-carb high-fat and bulletproof. Not only were carbs named the enemy but fat was connected with improved health and weight loss.

What’s wrong with this approach? According to a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of fitness programs James S. Fell, there are a few things wrong with the cult of fat.

Calories are the main, and ultimately the only factor when it comes to weight loss.

Nutrition expert Alan Aragon is certain that the only thing that determines fat loss is a caloric deficit. He has reviewed studies where it was proven that whether you eat ’clean’ foods or fast food, fats or carbs, as long as the total number of calories is in deficit, you will lose weight.

When it comes to health, moderation is the key!

Both carbs and fat in excess will almost certainly lead to health risks and obesity.  There are a few issues with having a high fat diet. Firstly it’s easy to overindulge (1 gram of fat has more than twice the calories of protein or carbs). Secondly, even though saturated fat isn’t as bad as it was originally thought, it is still not the best thing you can have and you should opt for healthier fats and nutrient dense foods such as fruit, nuts and vegetables.

Faulty Research

Aragon refers to the Time Magazine article as ‘epidemiological schlock’. He explains that such studies are strictly observational and can’t make claims of causation. Sometimes they can even create ‘reverse causality’ which means the person is not fat because of consuming low fat products but rather they consume them because they are fat. Also, such studies don’t take into account the fact that many low-fat products contain heaps of sugar and added calories and people indulge in them more freely.

To Fat or Not To Fat?

So what should you do? Cut fat or get that butter in your coffee ASAP? Fell recommends to take it easy on the butter coffee as consumed regularly it’s bad for you and more importantly you could ‘use’ these (oh so many) calories to eat something more nutritious. He also presents a ton of research which proves that fat is actually the least satiating macronutrient, protein being the winner.

This explains why people following high-fat, moderate-protein diets feel full for longer (go protein!).  To conclude, it is the best and safest option to have a varied diet with domination of healthier fats and watch the quantities and calories for the optimal health and physique.

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