It seems like such a logical conclusion "if you eat less fat, you'll lose more fat," only that couldn't be further from the truth. That line of thinking is likely what encourages you to grocery shop for low-fat or fat-free food options rather than their counterparts. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I prefer low-fat alternatives because they just taste better. However, I want to dispel the myth that loading up on low or non-fat foods is going to help you get to your weight loss goal. Here are the main reasons why.
Low Fat Foods Contain More Sugar
Fat is flavor, it just is. That's why foods cooked in fat or that are higher fat are so downright delicious. So what happens when companies remove all or most of the fat from prepackaged foods? Some of the flavor is lost. To address the diminished flavor, companies replace the fat with added sugar, which is where the trouble begins. There are well-documented studies on the negative effects of excess sugar in your diet. Among those effects are increased risks of weight gain, heart disease, and dental issues. So the intention to manage or lose weight by opting for low-fat or non-fat alternatives could actually have the opposite effect.
Your Body Needs Fat to Burn Fat
Healthy fats like those found in coconut oil digest quickly for your body to either burn for energy or store. The more quickly your body can access available fats for energy, the more quickly it will burn it. I get questions all the time from women wanting to know how to burn fat in their stomachs, hips, and thighs. While it's not possible to spot reducing fat, the subcutaneous fat stored in those areas need "new" fat in ordered to be burned. This is because fat assists in breaking down the fat already stored on your body by activating PPAR-Alpha. PPAR-Alpha is a nuclear receptor regulates lipid metabolism in your liver and is necessary in fat burning.
Fat is an Important Source of Energy
Burning fat is all about creating an energy deficit, or caloric deficit, for your body. You can achieve this by burning more energy than you consume, or eating less food than your body needs for energy. Either way, energy is an important factor in burning fat. Fat provides over 2x the amount of energy per gram to your body than either carbs or protein. Fat truly is the best source of energy for your body, it's just not always the easiest to access.
The Healthy Fats List
Now, by no means am I advocating that you throw caution to the wind and scarf down the largest pizza you can find. You all are both hilarious and witty, so I decided to make that disclaimer. Instead, make sure the majority of your fats come from healthy sources. Here's a list of foods containing healthy fats, for your culinary pleasure: Fish or fish oil supplements, Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nuts, Avocado, Cheese, and Chia Seeds.
Low-Fat and Non-Fat vs Full Fat Foods
If you're like me, sometimes you just prefer the taste of low fat foods compared to their full fat counterparts. Otherwise, you may not be getting much more benefit out of consuming them. Ultimately if you, read your nutrition labels, understand your macros, and sweat you're in good shape.