When people begin a diet, a common assumption is to cut the fat. While eating too many carbohydrates can lead to gaining weight, what many people don’t realize is that fat is not the culprit. Carbs can not only cause weight gain but make it challenging to lose weight, and that’s often due to the unhealthy sugars it contains. It may sound crazy, but fat helps the body burn fat. Fats help the body survive and specifically, healthy fats help our brain, nervous tissues, hormones, and more function. Cut back on the carbs and be pleasantly surprised because eating fat can lead to weight loss, which is what we discuss in the Body Reboot book. Keep reading to learn about what sources of fat to eat to lose weight and why eating fat leads to weight loss.
Fitness Magazine gives an excellent summary of the good fats to focus on while on a high fat, low carb diet. Unsaturated fats are good for you, and you can find them in many delicious foods from avocados to peanut butter!
The Good: Unsaturated Fats
What they do: These fats, known as MUFAs, raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries. They also help prevent belly fat, according to research.
Where you'll find them: In olive oil and olives, canola oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds, and avocados.
How much you need: Most of the fat you eat should be unsaturated, like MUFAs. “Just two to three tablespoons of olive oil a day can raise HDL levels and protect against heart disease,” says Dr. Roberts.
What they do: In addition to lowering your LDL, these fats contain essential omega-3 fatty acids — which boost brain function and may help strengthen your immune system and improve your mood — and omega-6 fatty acids, which in small amounts can keep skin and eyes healthy.
Where you'll find them: Omega-3s are primarily in fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, as well as canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, and tofu. Omega-6s are in corn and safflower oil, corn-fed chicken and beef, and farmed fish.
How much you need: Most of the polys you eat should be omega-3s. Too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation, which is linked to heart disease. Trade vegetable oil for olive and canola oils, and eat grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish.
Not only do eating carbs make you hungrier faster, but it’s also hard not to crave eating more carbs. That’s why The Daily Beast recommends eating more fat so that you burn fat!
When you eat a meal full of processed carbohydrates like breads and bakery goods, your insulin level skyrockets as your body digests the carbs in your food and immediately stores the glucose (sugar) from your food in your fat cells. And when your body can’t access the calories in your fat cells? Hunger strikes! Your body experiences an energy crisis and it will demand food, stat. If you’re reaching for more processed carbs like bagels or pastas to stay satiated, the vicious hunger cycle won’t stop.
Your solution: Eat more fat. “The fastest way to lower insulin levels is to substitute fat for processed carbohydrates,” says Ludwig. Seems counterintuitive that fatty foods can help you lose weight, right? Catch is: They have to be healthy sources of fat (think: olive oil and avocados, not Reese’s and Doritos). Foods rich in fat will help you feel satiated, and they won’t trigger the insulin high and crash that most processed carbs do. Without insulin highs and lows, your blood sugar will be more stable and your body can access the fuel it’s storing in your fat cells.
Body Building also argues that eating fat will help your body burn fat and they explain why this is the case.
Eating Fat Enhances Your Body's Ability To Burn Fat
From a biochemical level, low-fat diets don't make sense. They don't condition your body to be efficient at burning fat. Instead, they ramp up the enzymatic machinery in your body so it becomes efficient at burning carbohydrates.
Lower-fat diets can also have negative impacts on adipokines which impact fat loss. Adipokines are hormones released specifically from your fat cells. One such hormone, adiponectin, is a true fat-burning hormone that works to enhance your metabolism and increase the rate in which fats are broken down, curbing your appetite. Lower-fat diets lead to lower levels of adiponectin.
A few more examples of a high-fat meal includes eggs and bacon, and a salad with olive oil. There are additional tasty low carb meals, which VeryWellFit discusses as well as why a high-fat diet keeps you fuller, longer.
Foods with fat take longer to digest than carbohydrate-rich foods. As a result, you feel fuller longer when you include healthy fats at meal time. You are likely to feel gratified with a smaller meal and you might also be able to curb a snack habit if nutritious fats fill you up and keep your belly happy.
For example, if you eat a reduced-fat cheese and egg white omelette in the morning, your tummy may grumble by the time you've settled into your workday. But if you use a small portion of regular cheese in your breakfast, or if you prepare your omelet with whole eggs instead of egg whites, the fat in your morning meal may have help you to feel full for several hours. That feeling of fullness may help you to skip a mid-morning trip to the vending machine where you're likely to consume empty calorie foods like chips or muffins.
Do you like eating avocado? If you do, you’re in luck because Livestrong mentions a few studies. One of the studies discusses how eating avocado can help you experience less hunger and lose more weight!
The ketogenic diet, for example, is high in fat and low in carbs. This eating plan shifts your metabolism from burning glucose to burning stored fat for energy. According to Harvard Medical School, ketogenic diets exhibit neuroprotective effects and support weight loss. Over time, they may improve glycemic control and blood lipids.
Eat Fat to Burn Fat
A diet rich in healthy fats can help you slim down in more than one way. First of all, these nutrients promote satiety, making it easier to reduce your daily food intake. A 2017 clinical trial published in the journal Nutrition found that diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) caused positive changes in fasting and postprandial physiological markers of satiety and hunger in as little as seven days.
Another study, which appeared in the FASEB Journal in 2017, investigated the effects of avocado consumption on appetite control. This fruit is rich in both fiber and dietary fats. According to researchers, increasing the fat and fiber content of a meal promotes satiety to a greater extent then a low-fat, high-carb meal. Subjects who ate avocado for breakfast experienced less hunger and consumed less food over the next six hours.
The benefits of a high-fat diet for weight loss are supported by science. According to a 2014 review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ketogenic diet plans suppress hunger and trigger positive changes in ghrelin, leptin and other hormones that influence appetite. Furthermore, they increase fat burning and reduce fat storage, boost metabolic rate and stimulate thermogenesis due to the thermic effect of protein.
Some of the studies cited in the review indicate that ketogenic diets may improve mood, prevent cognitive impairment and reduce insulin resistance. In clinical trials, mice fed with low-carb, high-fat foods lived longer and had a lower risk of cancer and metabolic syndrome.
Want some more ideas on what type of low carb foods to eat? Many green vegetables are low carb, and Healthline also outlines a few other fat sources to focus on adding to your diet to increase your fat intake.
Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20–50 net carbs per day.
A diet based mostly on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.
Eat 2–3 meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a 4th meal.
Don’t be afraid of eating fat, as trying to do both low-carb AND low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan.
It’s pretty incredible that you can eat fat and burn fat! It seems crazy if you think about it, but the ketogenic diet is working for many people. Learn more about how the diet works and how it can help you lose weight in the Body Reboot book. If you want a free copy of the Body Reboot book help us cover the cost of shipping and we’ll send you out a free book. Visit this page and find out if there are any copies left.
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