It seems logical that if you eat fatty foods you will become fat. However this misconception has caused many to venture down the wrong path. Fat has gotten a bad name. In fact, if you eat “healthy” fats and your body is in position to use that fat for energy, you can lose weight with proper diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
Many people think that the way to lose weight is to count calories. Simply put, calories in versus calories out. The problem with this scenario is that not all calories are created equal. Calories from a doughnut are not the same as calories from an avocado. More importantly, your body becomes conditioned by your diet. The type of food you eat creates patterns of how your body can produce energy.
For most people the option for burning fat for fuel (which the body prefers) is limited. They have been eating high carb for so long that they are primary sugar burning machines. For millions of years humans did not consume such great amounts of sugar in their foods and were fat burning machines.
The body has limited storage of sugars (glycogen) compared to the storage of fat that our ancestors utilized during times of famine and mobility. The idea of three square meals a day is a modern phenomenon. These days you see even athletes having to use gels and goo’s during races because they have burned through their energy supply of glycogen stores after about 90 minutes of exercise.
The typical “modern” diet leads to excess insulin release effecting energy, appetite, and mood. In this case your body is very good at storing fat and not burning fat and thus you will experience weight gain and negative health effects and inflammation.
The recent phenomena of eating so many carbohydrates has for the first time caused an emergency need to lower blood sugar. The body has multiple ways to raise blood sugar through cortisol and other hormones, but only one way to regulate it through insulin. Excess release of insulin is a major player on this roller coaster of energy and mood.
Therefore, the idea that eating fat has caused an obesity epidemic is misguided. It has been sugars (including carbs broken down to sugars) that have played havoc with our health and diet in modern times. You have to be careful where these sugars are hiding. For example, some energy bars have 25g of sugar or around 5 teaspoons. Take a close look at your processed food packages and prepare to be surprised!
The good news is if you are able to wean yourself off of glucose dependency, then eating fat will actually slow your metabolism over time and allow you to burn 200-300 more calories a day. In addition, it will have an effect on appetite hormones and keep your cravings in check.
We should then strive to eat a quality fat, whole-food diet that’s lower in refined carbohydrates, low-glycemic and high in fiber. This would include healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and eggs.