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Why Eating Fat Will Help You Lose Fat

Updated on August 4, 2012

The Fat Myth

For decades we've been told that we should limit our fat intake if we want to lose weight. It's as if we believe that the fat we eat will enter our stomach and migrate to our belly or thighs immediately, leading to weight gain and poor health. The reality is that eating fat, when part of a healthy diet, is no more likely to lead to gaining weight than is going for a walk. There are several reasons why eating fat will actually help you lose weight. First, eating fat will satisfy you, keeping your appetite in check so you don't eat too many calories. Second, eating more fat will likely come at the expense of carbohydrates and when you eat fewer carbohydrates, you store less fat in your body. Finally, eating fat is essential for good health and as the building blocks of hormones that help you control your weight. Read on to learn why eating fat will help you lose fat.

Avocados, almonds and pecans contain healthy fats that can help you lose weight
Avocados, almonds and pecans contain healthy fats that can help you lose weight | Source

Eating More Fat Will Satisfy Your Hunger

Did you know that when you eat fat, your digestion slows, helping you to feel full longer? It's true. You've probably experienced this yourself. You eat a low fat meal and feel hungry in an hour or two but eat a meal with some fat and you can go for four or five hours.

You can thank hormones for this feeling of satisfaction. When you eat fat, the stomach and small intestine release a hormone that slows digestion, keeping food in the stomach and small intestine longer and leading to feelings of satisfaction for longer periods of time.

Research has also shown that because you're more satisfied, you'll eat less at your next meal, further aiding weight loss. On the other hand, if you eat a low fat meal, you'll feel hungry a couple of hours later, reach for a snack, and also will likely overeat at your next meal. This is not a recipe for weight loss success.

Eating More Fat Will Lead to Eating Fewer Carbs

Many low fat foods taste bland. Food manufacturers want you to like their foods so they add sugar to their low fat offerings in order to improve the taste. Go to the yogurt aisle and take a look at the sugar content in the low fat fruit flavored yogurts. It's astronomical. In fact, so many packaged foods contain added sugar that it's difficult to avoid it. This includes things you may not suspect like sauces and canned vegetables.

So why is sugar so bad? It will lead to fat storage. When you eat a food that's high in sugar or even processed white foods like bread, pasta or cereal, your blood sugar rises. The body quickly releases insulin to bring the blood sugar level down. Insulin is very effective. It shuttles the sugar into the cells to be stored as fat. So every time you eat sugar or processed foods, you're not only shutting down you ability to lose fat but you're also causing your body to store fat.

If you want to lose weight, replace the refined carbohydrates and sugar in your diet with healthy fats. This will keep your insulin in check and will keep you burning and not storing fat, exactly what you want! Limit your carbohydrates to those with a low glycemic index. Things like whole oatmeal, brown rice, berries, and apples are great examples.

Eating More Fat Will Help Keep You Healthy

Fat is required by the body for many important functions. These include absorbtion of fat soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, for healthy cell function, and to produce steriod hormones that are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. For example, the body cannot absorb fat soluable vitamins in the absence of fat in the diet. These vitamins are essential for good health. In addition, steroids like testosterone are produced using dietary fat. Without it, your muscle building efforts will be sub-optimal and that will minimize your weight loss efforts. Finally, healthy cell function, including the prevention of insulin resistance is dependent on having enough fats in the diet. Proper insulin function is essential for health.

Which Foods Are Best?

Research has shown that some fats are better than others. The Mediterranean diet seems to have a lot of backing from advocates of eating fat for weight loss. This diet contains healthy fats from olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

In addition, there are many advocates of coconut oil as a healthy fat. Coconut oil contains a high concentration of lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that enhance the immune system. Coconut oil is also great for stir-frying or other high heat cooking methods since it's more stable and won't oxidize as easily as other fats.

Finally, eggs, butter, full fat yogurt, steak, and other fattier meats are fine to eat in moderation. You should avoid hydrogenated fats like the plague. The same goes for processed oils like the canola oil you find in your grocery store. And avoid deep fried foods. These are not healthy in any diet.


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    • profile image

      valerie berkowitz 5 years ago

      Fat and cholesterol are crucial dietary components for good health. Foods that contain fat and cholesterol are loaded with vitamins/minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 5 years ago

      I completely agree Carol! I personally avoid sugar as much as possible.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I have never believed in low fat diets. However am aware of healthy fats and we use plenty of them. Fat makes everything more flavorful. It is the sugar that is the big enemy. Great hub. Voted UP.

    • heidimedina profile image

      Heidi Dawn Medina 5 years ago from Denver, CO

      Such a great article about the healthiness of fats. So many people do not realize they are gaining weight by trying to cut fats completely out of their diets and also causing potential health issues.

    • profile image

      wwolfs 5 years ago

      Interesting article. I agree that moderation is the key to eating healthy fats. It does seem that there are many low fat products available which are really high in sugar. Great information.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Hi BlissfulWriter - I agree with sugar being a big problem. I feel so much better when I avoid it.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

      I agree that we should eat more healthy fats. I like avocados and olives. I've read both those books by Gary Taubes. Also Google "the bitter truth" for a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig. They all say sugar is the bigger problem.

    • GainEnergyLoseFat profile image

      GainEnergyLoseFat 6 years ago from USA

      Love your article!!! I stopped eating white flour and white sugar last year and I noticed I lost a lot of weight. I also feel very energetic. I read the comments and I agree about the butter vs margarine.

      I also stopped buying margarine and started eating more raw food. I agreed about the low fat or fat free diet is worse diet ever! People don't ever realize if they drink or eat anything "fat free", they are pumped with a lot of "artificial" stuff which harm our bodies even more.

      Fat free diet is the one of the main reasons for obesity.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Thanks DanielNeff and congrats on winning your battle with cancer. I agree with you about sugar and white flour and try to avoid both, especially sugar. Unfortunately, it's so addictive that many people don't want to hear that they shouldn't eat it. Once you stop eating it though, you don't crave it anymore.

    • DanielNeff profile image

      DanielNeff 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Excellent hub. I learned 11 years ago, when I went through a battle with cancer, that the real enemies of good health are white sugar and white flour.

      We have been sold a bill of goods over the last few decades in regards to nutrition. We were told that butter was bad and we should replace it with margarine. We now know that margarine is really, really bad for you (yet a lot of people still consume it, perhaps because it's cheap).

      People bought and consumed tons of low-fat and fat-free foods, not realizing those foods are often loaded with sugar.

      Finally, fat is good and necessary taken in moderation. More and more I am hearing that cooking with lard is actually healthier than most oils we cook with.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comments mbwalz and Kris...perhaps this stuff will catch on one day we keep talking about it:)

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Very nice and educational hub.

      I frequently find among the clients that I teach fitness and nutrition to that there is a huge lack of understanding between good fats and bad fats (and good carbs and bad carbs). Most people feel that have to avoid all fats or avoid all carbs which is very dangerous to the body on the long term.

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 6 years ago from Maine

      Agreed! I used to coach ladies on hormonal imbalance and one of my favorite expressions was that fat was the best appetite suppressant! Great hub.

    • Dewette profile image

      Dewette 6 years ago from NV

      Sounds like we`re on the same nutrition page :) I`ve written a few articles on insulin spikes and primal eating and things like that.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Yes, Dewette, that also makes sense. Low fat processed foods do have a lot of sugar and sugar helps us store fat via the action of insulin.

    • Dewette profile image

      Dewette 6 years ago from NV

      Plus the fact that everyone seems to be eating all low fat stuff which has a lot more sugar in it and doesn`t keep you satieted so you end up eating more.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Thanks for the kind comment KeithTax! I agree with you about the obesity rate. It seems logical that there would be a link between our fear of eating fat and and increase in obesity.

    • KeithTax profile image

      Keith Schroeder 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      Wow! You are amazing, SD. People forget that a generation ago and back, people ate more fat and obesity was rare. Exercise is part of the answer, but the never-ending media blitz against fat correlates with the rise in obesity. Your last comment says it all: "are fine to eat in moderation." Isn't that true of everything in life.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comments and vote up Ruchi!

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 6 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, I have read few books related to this book. I agree. I eat avocados, nuts and olive oil to benefit from fats. Thanks for the great hub. Voted up.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 6 years ago

      Yes, and foods that are high in fat taste better too!

    • Dewette profile image

      Dewette 6 years ago from NV

      Amen! I love that the fat myth is being exposed and more people are learning the truth.