“Don’t eat fat if you want to lose weight.”
“Eating fat will make you fat because it is fat.”
These are some of the common statements against eating fat.
Fat has always been demonized as being unhealthy and fattening. And one of the reasons given is that it contains too many calories. In this article, we will be debunking the myth that, eating fat makes you fat.
Disclaimer :- The information provided here should not be used as a substitute for any medical advice.
Fat contains 9 calories per gram while Carbs and Protein contain 4 calories. So, eating fat will increase your total daily caloric intake. And this will be invariably stored in your fat cells.
The common notion is that every excess calorie we consume gets stored in fat. This is the most oversimplified version which doesn’t hold any water when put to test.
Nobody becomes fat overnight. If this was how (eating extra calories) we were really getting fat, then our bodies will be like a giant balloon blowing up with every extra calorie we eat.
Also, this doesn’t explain the following cases :
People who are lean remain lean irrespective of eating any amount of calories without holding the excess calories in fat cells.
Or the same lean person, eating the same food, starts gaining fat as he grows older.
BMR explains it all – Really?
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) means the number of calories you are burning when your body is at rest.
The BMR varies from person to person. So the explanation goes that the lean person has high BMR so he is able to burn off excess calories as heat. He won’t be storing it as fat.
And, our fat person is doomed to remain fat because he has a low BMR. He will be storing excess calories as fat because he is not able to burn it off.
Why is a fat person storing extra calories as fat? How come his BMR doesn’t rise to match the excess calories to burn it or use it as energy?
So, the real problem is not the number of extra calories you eat. It is how your body responds to those extra calories.
Why calories don’t matter?
When you focus too much on just how many calories you are consuming you are missing out on the bigger picture.
It’s about how the body handles those calories. It involves a far more complex and sophisticated mechanism than just cutting back or increasing the caloric intake.
Like any other system in our body, body weight is maintained by a very tight and intricate mechanism involving hormones, enzymes, and genetic factors.
Food is not just calories it’s information
The crucial parameter is not how many calories but the source of those calories.
There three main sources of calories for the body are
The process by which the food is converted into calories is different for different sources. And each source has a different effect on the body.
Let’s take a simple example of water to understand how calories from different sources differ.
Water is vital for the body. But the different sources from where you are getting that water will affect the body differently. Water from a lake, river, sea or sewer can have a drastically different impact on the body. One source can vitalize your body while the other can make you sick.
In the same way, calories from a good source can energize you while calories from a bad source can make you fat.
So, is Fat a bad source or a good source?
Let’s see how fat affects our body
Fat is important for the absorption of Fat soluble Vitamins – The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat to get absorbed by the body.
It’s an energy source – Per gram of fat provides 9 cal. From the standpoint of your body, this is not a negative factor. It is a more dense source of energy for the body. When compared with Carbs and Protein which only provide 4 cal per gram, fat is a superior energy source.
Fat provides Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) – The body cannot make these essential fatty acids. And the body cannot work without them. Fat from your food is the only source from which the body gets these Essential Fatty Acids.
It protects every cell in your body – Every cell has an outer layer called cell membrane. The cell membrane is made of fat (phospholipid, triglycerides, and cholesterol). It helps in the nutrient exchange in the cells.
It allows the nutrients to get inside the cell and waste products get out of the cells. The better the structure of these cell membranes, the better the nutrient transfer.
Best Sources –
Ghee (Clarified Butter), Eggs, Butter, Animal fat, Cheese, Fatty fish, Full-fat milk, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil.
Trans fat which is mainly found in processed foods. All types of vegetable oils like Sunflower oil, Mustard Oil, Soybean oil, Peanut oil.
Looking at fat from the standpoint of calories and discarding all the benefits it is providing is ludicrous. So, don’t strip away the fat from your diet. Fat is a friend. Strip away the false assumption that it is fattening and unhealthy.