Does Eating Fat Make You FAT?
Yes, and No. It is somewhat of a paradox. We actually need to eat fat to lose fat; healthy fat that is. Mary Enig addresses this in her book Eat Fat Lose Fat. The book is a huge plug for coconut oil, and while I don't agree with the application of going so heavy on any one fat, or any one food or food group for that matter, she teaches some good principles in the book.
Many foods have a "good and bad" version. Fats are a good example. Bad fats DO make you fat. The opposite is true of healthy fats. Healthy fat consumption actually promotes sustainable weight loss. When we eat healthy fats, our body produces a hormone in the stomach that signals that we are full. We feel satisfied and our temptation to overeat empty calories is shut down. Enig, 7
Consuming healthy fats, produces a thermogenic effect, meaning it raises your body temperature, boosting your energy and metabolic rate. Consuming a healthy fat at each meal keeps your blood sugar in check and aids your metabolism by providing a steady fuel supply throughout the day. More energy for a healthier lifestyle! Enig, 61
We are over programed to go for lowfat foods, to suffer through a salad without a delicious dressing, to avoid eggs, and full fat dairy products. Can I emphatically emphasize:
the problem is not fat, it is the type of fat!
Yes, processed fats DO contribute to weight issues. But healthy fat is a key component of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
CLA is abundant in raw milk from pastured cows, interestingly studies are finding that this fatty acid can actually protect against weight gain by increasing metabolic rate, removing abdominal fat and supporting muscle growth. Unfortunately, most studies are done with a CLA supplement which is not the real deal and therefore may alter the effectiveness of CLA in the studies. Go for the real deal found in organic, whole raw milk, raw butter, cream and coconut oil.
How do I get enough healthy fat in my diet? Personally, I shoot for a glass of milk, or cultured dairy at each meal and ideally at least one additional fat at each meal. This could translate into something like this:
Breakfast Italian Full Fat Yogurt Parfait with Einkorn Berries with Fruit and a scrambled egg, cooked low and slow in a bit of butter.
Lunch Green salad with a rainbow of veggies; including lacto-fermented carrots, quinoa, raw cheese and full fat homemade salad dressing, a fruit and a veggie with hummus dip and Raw Chocolate Milk
Dinner Glass of Milk, Salmon with a raw, herbed cream cheese sauce and sauerkraut, wild rice pilaf cooked in bone broth, steamed veggies with butter and a beet salad with full fat, homemade dressing, nuts and goat cheese.
As you can see, I have much more healthy fat in the menu above than "at least" one additional fat at each meal, but why not? Healthy fat is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps me feel satisfied and gives me the energy I need to make it through the day- no caffeinated soda, or coffee for me. The menu above shows how eating healthy fats can be a very natural and delicious part of your eating style. You no longer need to do weird things to get your healthy fat intake, like adding butter to your coffee, coconut oil to your smoothie or drink, consume weird olive oil cococtions, add flax seeds to everything in sight, take fish oil, or CLA supplements. Just eat real food and real fat.
I guarantee, I will not be hungry for any empty calorie foods with a menu like this. I will be completely satisfied with a happy tummy and if by chance I do just happen to get a craving for something sweet, I will make a raw whole kefir mango lassi. The great thing is, time after time I and others I know have actually lost weight eating wonderful full fat meals like this. It is yummy, satisfying, nutrient dense and will not leave you feeling deprived- at all! If it seems complicated, just start by adding a glass of organic, whole, raw milk with every meal and some type of fat when you eat vegetables and whole grains, such as butter, flavored avocado mayonnaise, raw cream cheese, yogurt, olive oil, coconut oil, fat from bone broth and healthy salad dressing.
Please see my previous posts on fat here and here to help you identify healthy sources of fat.
Enig, Eat Fat Lose Fat, New York, Penguin Group, 2006, Book.
Enig, Know Your Fats: Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol, Maryland, Bethesda Press, 2000, Book.