Does fat make you fat? Dieting Answers Part 2
Could healthy fat actually be good for us? Believe me, I'm aware of how “politically incorrect” I am when it comes to this topic!
Two-part series on fats and dieting:
- PART 1 – Saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease issues (and one little tid-bit about the role of fats related to sexuality)
- PART 2 – Today we'll look at specific principles related to dieting
Let's get to the nitty-gritty with some dieting answers
It's true; gram for gram, fat has more calories than proteins or carbs. BUT ALL CALORIES ARE NOT THE SAME! As I said before, I'm not suggesting we sit down to a meal of butter, but a diet with 35-40% of calories from fat is nothing to fear, instead we should enjoy it. NOT by counting how many grams of fat we eat per day, either. Just don't be shy about cooking with healthy oils, and slathering some butter on your fresh veggies!
- Fat helps us to feel full, this is important for obvious reasons. It satisfies us – we crave cholesterol and fat because they're essential to our health and they help our bodies to digest and USE what we've eaten.
- What do fats, protein and fiber all have in common? They all slow down the insulin response in our bodies, which is spiked after eating carbs (bread, pasta, rice, any sugary foods, including fruit, etc.)
What does insulin have to do with weight loss?
Read some excerpts from this Diabetes Health article by Jamie Bailes, MD, The fat-free fallacy, obesity's enabler?:
- “I researched and relearned the physiology and biochemistry behind low-carb diets. As I began to take a closer look, my findings were not what I expected. It all came back to insulin. Insulin is what causes fat storage. Insulin is what drives weight gain. Insulin is what is secreted when we eat carbohydrates.”
- “Let me say this again: insulin promotes the production and storage of fat. That's right, even without eating fat, our body produces fat from sugar.” (All carbs convert to sugar in our body.)“
- “In the appropriate amount, insulin keeps the metabolic system running smoothly and everything in balance. However, in great excess it becomes a dangerous hormone wreaking havoc through the body. Mountains of scientific evidence implicate insulin as the primary cause or significant risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, arteriosclerosis and high cholesterol. It may also have a causative role in type 2 diabetes.“
“But I lost weight on a low-fat diet!”
We all may know someone who has great self-discipline and lost weight on Weight Watchers or other low-fat diets. But what if it had more to do with how they were cutting down on portion sizes and sweets consumption and had nothing do with dietary fat? What if they instead had watched their carbs and portions, ate enough healthy fats (to slow down the insulin response in the carbs), and were sure to include exercise into the plan, could they have had an easier go of it? And a better chance of keeping the weight off? Not to mention a healthier body overall with a stronger immune system, better regulation of insulin levels, healthier liver function, etc.
Read an excerpt from this article, “The fat that can make you thin”:
“The simple truth is that low-fat diets don't work-not permanently. You can lose weight on them if you starve yourself. You're hungry and miserable the whole time. In order to keep the weight off you must continue to limit what you eat and go hungry. Few people are willing to live a life of constant discomfort. For this reason, low-fat dieting is difficult to maintain for any length of time. Consequently, most people eventually revert back to old eating habits. When they do, the weight comes back.“
Bottom line for weight loss
If you want to drop extra pounds and enjoy great health, here are 7 suggestions:
- Get over your fat phobia and add healthy fats back into your diet. Don't hesitate to put them on things like plenty of yummy local, preferably organic, veggies! (Healthy fats are traditional fats such as: full fat dairy products – best from grass fed cows, egg yolks, cod liver oil, animal fats like lard & tallow, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and small amounts of sesame or peanut oil. Unhealthy fats include: all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils/trans fats, margarine, corn, safflower, rapeseed/canola, sunflower, and soybean oils, especially when refined or heated.)
- Watch your carbs and portions – I'm not always great at this part either, but I try to keep an eye on the scale and when I see I'm creeping up a little, I'll make the decision (that's often the toughest part), then watch the carbs for a couple weeks, and that's all it takes to get me back where I need to be. I never cut out meat or healthy fats. (Self-control is never easy, but I try, with God's help, to control my body, and not let cravings, desires, etc. control ME. I fail often!)
- When you do eat carbs, try to eat more of them properly prepared and whole grain. (When I don't serve properly prepared or whole grains, I do use mostly einkorn flour and einkorn pastas though! Read what is einkorn and why is it better.)
- AVOID trans fats and high fructose corn syrup! If you find items in your cupboards or frig with those ingredients, if at all possible, I suggest you toss them straight into the trash. Start reading labels so you can avoid them.
- Limit or eliminate the sweets — and hopefully you're better about this one than I am!
- Don't forget your OMEGA-3'S, especially if you're pregnant or nursing! Eating more fish and taking Cod liver oil are both great sources. These are very important for everyone, but especially for proper brain development in your baby and the avoidance of childhood illnesses! Here's an article on the importance of omega-3's for pregnant Moms and children: proper brain development.
- Exercise – find something you love to do! I may not limit the sweets as much as I should, but I am going for a run in a few minutes on this gorgeous spring day!
As with anything and everything you see on this blog, be sure to do your own research and talk with your doctor before you make any drastic changes in your life. I don't know what your specific health issues might be and I don't know your health history. However, don't JUST talk to your doctor without researching it yourself, too. Most doctors' main area of expertise is in the field of medicine. I'm not saying that is all bad, but nobody can know everything, so what would be especially helpful is if you had a doctor who is knowledgeable about the natural ways of looking at things, too, and who doesn't necessarily use medicine as a first line of attack.
- Harmful ingredients to avoid
- Kelly's yummy popcorn recipe with coconut oil
- My 7 favorite kitchen gadgets
- Life changes, 5 ways they're all the same
- What if it was all a big fat lie? – New York Times writer, Gary Taubes, takes on the “low-fat is good for you” mentality.
Shanna Ahearn says
I eat good meats and healthy fats and I am fit as a fiddelhead fern except for my stroke
Gaia Kitten says
The above link can show you to many sources of Omega 3! Such as WALNUTS, and FLAX SEED. Cod liver oil and fish isn’t the only way to get omega 3 as you may have been led to beleive by the industry. Also it would not be recommended to get your omega 3 from fish as it also contains high levels of mercury and other poisons we dump into the ocean so that is something to think about.
Here’s some info from this site: https://www.westonaprice.org/faq/faq-cod-liver-oil
“Q: I’m looking for information that backs up including fish and fish oils in our diets, but also something that takes into consideration the mercury and heavy metals issue. Basically, vegetarian groups and groups like PETA use the claim that the heavy metals and PCBs in fish preclude us eating them.
A: Fish does contain mercury but if you have good intestinal flora, you are completely protected against absorbing the mercury–but you are not protected from absorption through the mouth (as in mercury fillings) or the skin. Also, mercury is stored in the protein not in the fats in the fish.”
Plus I hate walnuts and flax seed goes rancid way too easily, so I’ll keep taking my fermented CLO! 🙂
When I read about how you got started, I couldn’t help but laugh! My wife’s and I recently had almost an identical experience. Ours started about 3 months ago when someone forwarded me a Dr. Mercola (had never even heard of him) about cocunut oil. Coconut oil good for you?! Madness! But what I was reading was so so different,opposite really, of almost everything I had ever read, I was intrigued and one thing led to another. To make a long story short, we have completely (well, almost completely) changed how eat and have each lost over 35lbs EFFORTLESSLY and feel so much better. The best part is we have 3 young kids who will be spared (at least for awhile) from the poison that is the modern American diet.
That would be another great way to get coconut oil into our diets, too! Have you ever used Crispy peanuts? I want to try this, thanks!
If anyone is interested
Rapeseed is canola.
I’ve been using dry roasted, unsalted peanuts to make my own peanut butter with coconut oil and Real salt in my food processor. I tasted some peanut butter from a jar once since I started this and it tasted horrible.
Margie, yes, I’m still up. If you get organic pb you will never have to worry about trans fats, but other brands are better these days, too.
Do you have a Whole Foods Market by you? Their organic pb is DREAMY! It stays stirred up and it’s so good I eat it off the spoon (too much).
I don’t know if Rapeseed is Canola (can’t remember right now), but either way, both are icky (newer oils and highly processed). The one I told you about above is made with palm oil – a good oil. 🙂
Margie/Midwifery Student/Mom of 7 says
Ok, Will someone tell me which peanut butter has no trans fat. I bought Laura Scudders Natural Peanut Butter (The new one that stays stirred up) thinking it was better because it was so much lower in sugar but then I read on the label that it has fully hydrogenated rapeseed (is this canola oil??) and cottonseed oil? So since it’s fully hydrogenated isn’t that trans fat??? I have only heard about partially hydrogenated vegetable oils so I thought maybe the fully was something better (duh). Then here I read that it’s also trans fat. Help.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Newlyweds…YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Music to my ears! 🙂
What a great article!! Of course I love reading how healthy fats are. Thank you for posting this. I am switching to whole milk today!
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Sounds like the baby steps are working great for you, and if only all of America were making the same baby steps, think how healthy we’d all be!
It’s interesting what you said about first trying to eat refined flours and sugars in moderation, but with no success at losing weight until you cut them out completely. I often hear the phrase, “all in moderation”, but yet I wonder how many can live that way and stay healthy…
I’m going to try the pancakes with oats next time! 🙂
Michigan Mom2three says
I keep a small amount of unbleached white flour for just a *very few* things (mostly when I make cookies for the kids, some of them do better with all or half unbleached white), and I also still use it as a thickener, as I’m experimenting with arrowroot and I’ve found it’s okay for some things, but not so much for others. But, we have ceased buying anything with white flour. No more pretzels, chips, snacks, etc. It took some time, but what I found was that when the white flour and all refined sugars exited my diet – the weight literally fell off. I had been trying “sugar and white flour in moderation” for a long time with no results – other than going up in weight a little bit. I eat plenty of real whole grains, sprouted grains, legumes and brown rice – just nothing refined. I’m doing better with soaking my flours too…. learning all the time. We made your pancakes again this morning, but I subbed 2 c of organic rolled oats for 2 c of the wheat pastry flour. They were wonderful!
Yes Kelly, we will try whole milk, but I’m sort of a slow mover. Mike and I actually went into a Heffron Farms store the other day to see what they had and talked to a person working there, but we did’nt buy anything yet. (I think I wasn’t going straight home or something….)It’s been quite a stretch for me to acclimate to the taste of the 2%, but I’m amazed at how much better it is for cooking. We still have a long way to go here, but we’re making small strides. One thing we’ve done for years is make changes by category and then stick with them. When we switched back to real butter years ago, I never bought margarine again. When we quit buying breads and cereals with hydrogenated oils we never looked back (although I’m not beyond caving for a treat during vacation). About the time your blog began I had already begun my mission against high fructose corn syrup. I’ve been diligent, or so I thought, for months now, but still I find items that I’ve inadvertantly purchased or still in my pantry or freezer that contain the wicked stuff. Some things I pitch and other things I use up and vow to do better. I think the baby steps approach is what works for us.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
GREAT story, I LOVE it!!! And wow, you’ve cut out ALL white flour? That’s awesome. I’m getting there…
Thanks for sharing!!!
Michigan Mom2three says
If I could add my testimonial too….. I finally took the WHOLE plunge and incorporated ALL of Nourishing Traditions into my diet (except the organ meats!). I cut out all sugar, and only use *very* small amounts of raw honey, real maple syrup and sucanat on *occasion*, and I have cut out ALLLLLL white flour and all processed foods. I eat liberal amounts of organic, grass fed beef, organic poultry, I eat tons of organic, farm eggs (we go through 3 dozen a week as a family!), liberal amounts of butter, coconut oil, naturally occuring animal fats (small amounts of evoo), I take cod liver oil (2 t a day). I sautee nearly all of my veggies and fry my potaotes in coconut oil. We eat tons of whole, organic raw dairy. We also consume a large variety of vegetables (organic when possible) and smaller quantities of whole fruits. No juices anymore – WHOLE fruit, when we want something “sweet”. Bottom line: Since last November, I have lost 26 pounds, and they fell off – literally with NO hunger! I am half a pound to being in the 120’s again – and that is a MIRACLE! I never thought that I’d EVER see numbers like that. I am never hungry, I have more energy, my skin has CLEARED up, my memory is better (I think!). This is the *FIRST* winter since moving to Michigan almost 6 years ago that I didn’t deal with “Seasonal Affective Disorder” – something I’ve seen my doctor for EVERY winter for the past 5 winters!!! That is a BREAKTHROUGH. OH, I could go on and on and on…… but I’m convinced – Nourishing Traditions gave me my HEALTH back, and has given me a new lease on life! It works – it really does work!
BTW – I had done Weight Watchers “low fat” diets after the births of my first 2 children….. I was constantly starving on that diet, and always obsesses with food (when can I eat again and WHAT can I eat within my points???). Both times, I regained the weight plus some. With NT, I haven’t counted or measured a thing – I’ve just nourished my body when it needed food with the RIGHT foods, and the RIGHT fats. It is amazing!
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Your comment cracked me up – don’t forget I have my share of “dark secrets”, too! (See that post!) Also, I’ve had a post in my drafts folder titled, “I’m really not a food snob!” – maybe I should get that one out – ha ha! 🙂
Kelly, you are absolutely on track with this. I have done some reading on the glycemic index of foods which is very interesting. The lower the index, the better the food. The book SUGAR BUSTERS is a good resource (although they call it a DIET it is more a way life). I was strict and followed this way of eating for only a week (old habits die HARD) but I felt great and had so much more energy. I lost a couple pounds too! Now if I can only give up the oreos!!!! It’s amazing how much better one feels when we eat the foods that we are suppose to eat and leave the “junk” at the grocery store. It’s a hard transition especially when life is busy and it’s so tempting to grab those quick McDonald’s meals. I am getting better. Every time I go to the drive thru, I think to myself…. oh Kelly wouldn’t approve!!! Ha Ha
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Thanks for sharing your great testimony! And how nice for you and your family that you were never into the nasty processed foods like we were.
Now, do you think I can get you to go all the way to whole milk??? My friend, Megan, couldn’t stand how thick it was, now she LOVES the Mooville whole milk. 🙂
Bringing the fat back in can be an unsettling feeling at first. I’ve eaten a low-fat diet for so long. I read quite a bit and it finally crystallized for me when I read The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein, MD. She explained, so well, how carbs, fats, and proteins are treated in our body. She explained clearly that it’s insulin resistance that causes the problem. I read this about a month or so ago. Since then, I do put butter on my vegetables, we’ve worked our way up to 2% milk, I’m eating full fat cottage cheese, eggs everyday and drizzling flax seed oil and fresh lemon on my salads or sprinkling flax seeds into my yogurt, cottage cheese and hummus. Before making these changes I was already watching my sugars and carbs, but now I’ve relaxed a bit on the whole grains and I have them with a fat. Basically, I’m still eating as healthy as ever — we’ve never been big into the consumption of processed foods — but I’m no longer eating low-fat. The result, I’ve dropped a few pounds, I stay full longer after eating and my skin isn’t as dry.