I’ll let you in on a little-known secret: a high-fat diet can actually cause weight loss. The assumption that all fats are bad has been a growing belief since the better part of the end of the 20th century. But not all fats are bad. A very old, very traditional understanding about fats can enlighten you about the idea. New knowledge about the science of these fats can also raise your knowledge as to why these fats are more than ‘not bad,’ they’re actually very good for you. The great part of following a high-fat diet for losing fat is that you will be improving your overall health. Improving health is the underlying goal, or should be, for all of those on a ‘diet,’ per se. Of course, the best way to approach improving your health through nutrition should be a lifestyle change, not simply a diet. That being said, a high-fat diet that is high in the right kinds of fats can actually cause you to shed fat. Let’s learn more.
Fat is a part of our food. There’s no surprise there. Many would be surprised to see just where the fat is coming from. Part of our nutrition comes from non-natural sources of fat, that is, a fat that is created in a lab or a factory or is affected by how we create our food. We’ll call these factory fats. These are the bad fats. These fats will do more than make you fat, they are seen to be related to other health-related concerns such as cancer. These factory fats are also known as trans fats, interesterified fats, rancid fats, and genetically modified vegetable oils such as canola oil, corn oil, and soy oil. These fats are used in the food production of today because they are cheap. Unfortunately, they are also unhealthy for you. These fats are not the fats that will help you shed fat. You should avoid these processed factory fats whenever possible. Avoiding them will improve your health. That’s a fact. These industrially-made fats were never consumed by ancient cultures. The fats consumed by ancient cultures are the ones to focus your energy on. They are the fats that will help you shed fat.
Some of the best fats were used by traditional cultures that, during their time, were disease-free and long-lived. What are these fats? They are fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, cod liver oil, lard, and tallow. Every now and then you may see a recipe where one of these oils or fats is specifically mentioned as a key part of the recipe. You’ll see that the recipe is often very old or very new. Somewhere in the last fifty years, we tinkered with the creation of what we thought were better fats, when in fact, we know now that these fats are not better for us. Factory fats are out. Traditional fats are back in favor.
Understanding why a high-fat diet can cause fat loss must include some discussion about calories. Not all calories are created equal. Of all the macronutrients, fat is the most satisfying. Each gram is worth 9 calories. This means that you’ll stay full longer on fat. It’s a happy design element of this macronutrient. The byproduct of these facts is that you’ll feel less like eating just to eat. Fat helps to keep your blood sugar level steady so that you’ll end up having fewer cravings that are typically spiked by highly-fluctuating blood sugar levels.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study in the early 2000s. Their findings were presented in 2003 at the Association for the Study of Obesity Annual Conference. Their study demonstrated that a low carb, high fat diet with 1800-calories a day for women, and 2100-calories a day for men produced the greatest weight loss, more so than a low fat, low carb, low-calorie diet. Just how much of their diet was high fat? Actually, 65% of the food eaten by the study’s applicants was from fat. This is a far cry from the stay-under-30% rule that has been bandied about the last 30 years.
You shouldn’t have to starve yourself to shed fat. You shouldn’t have to go up and down on the scale from yo-yo diets. A high fat-low carb nutritional diet and lifestyle change can be a sustainable, doable, easy way to shed fat.
One new breakdown based on the traditional diets of our ancestors from ancient civilizations is 10% protein, 30% carbs, and 60% fat. The 30% carbs can include or exclude grain-based foods and ingredients. With this diet, you actually want to consume a total of 2500 calories. Remember, fats are higher in calories, to begin with in comparison to carbs and proteins. But that’s OK.
The key point is that the fats should come from those healthy fats mentioned earlier: coconut oil especially is a tasty, easy way to consume healthy fat before each meal. Avoid the factory fats. They should not be in your diet at all. Follow the recommended percentages above with the necessary calorie intake and you will gradually shed fat and lose weight. If you try to cut your calories below 2000, let’s say, you’ll end up putting your body into starvation mode and binge eating. Avoid that by making sure you’re eating enough of the good and healthy fats while cutting back on carbs. Count calories to ensure between 2000-2500 calories are ingested every day and you’ll be on track to lose fat in the long term and be able to keep it off.