There's an old die-hard myth that just won't rest... the notion that eating fats make you fat. It's not so!
Dietary fat and the stored fat in your body, or "adipose tissue" (composed of fatty acids) are different! Actually, diets with a healthy amount of fats provide some health benefits. One analysis(1) found that those with low-fat diets had a higher likelihood of heart attack or heart disease. Another trial(2) found that participants on a low-fat diet lost very little weight, if any. Some fats are good, some are bad, and some are actually very important for the body to function!(3)
According to the Harvard Medical School blog(4) on healthy fats, the good kind can be found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish.
Interestingly, a study in Food and Nutritional Research found that higher intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar) predicted a larger increase in waist size. This means sugar is more likely to make you fat than eating fat! (Well, actually, it all comes down to how many calories you consume. But I digress...)
A good overview of this diet can be found at this Business Insider page(5).
Diet advice is definitely tricky business, but this one is pretty clear at this point: eating fats is not the same as storing fat.
There is a lot more going on in your body, some of which I will cover in a later post. But it all comes down to how much energy you are consuming compared to how much energy you are expending.
This little table makes it very clear: fats have more calories per gram.
What this essentially means to you is that you will get full on them faster, so you don't have to eat as much. In other words, carbs sneak up on you, you don't "feel" how much energy you are eating- and then storing.
A great overview of the "calories-in calories-out" story (the discussion of energy from food converted to usable energy) is illustrated over at Physiqonomics in an entertaining format (some off-color language), and if you are interested in how the body takes care of stored fat, a free textbook resource can be read here if you like getting into the technical stuff.
Remember before modifying your diet, always check with your doctor and dietician first!
What's going on with me, research articles, interesting little blurbs. This blog is an attempt to consolidate research into an easily digestible format.
Alex Moon has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2012, did his undergraduate studies at Utah State, and is currently working on his Doctorate in Physical Therapy.