Does eating fat make us fat?
Actually, it’s quite the opposite for most people. Eating up to half your calories from nutrient dense sources of fat can help reverse type two diabetes, regulate blood sugar and improve your HDL and LDL levels better than a low fat, higher carbohydrate diet. (1,2,3) All this means many people lose more weight on a higher-fat diet than a high-carb diet.
But don’t go too nuts with saturated fat if you want to reduce your appetite. Research shows that while saturated fat has it’s good points, it doesn’t curb your appetite as well as other fats. Omega-6 fats from nuts and omega-3 fats from fish tend to be more satiating than saturated fat. If you’re looking to keep hunger at bay make sure to get a balance of the fats through whole foods whenever possible. My favourite food in this category is avocado. (4)
Why cook with saturated fat?
The browning reaction when searing or barbecuing meats makes them tastier but it undermines the health of your meal. Browning a meat means that something called advanced glycolytic end products (AGEs for short) are formed. (5)
When we use an olive oil to fry meat, for example, the oil doesn’t remain stable and the meat takes more of the heat causing it to charr. Processed foods are especially high in AGEs due to the intense heat used to prepare them. When we use a more stable fat like saturated fat to cook with, the browning reaction is reduced. (5)
How much saturated fat should I eat?
At this point, welcoming butter into your life and using saturated fat as a safer cooking oil for high heat cooking like frying is great place to start. If you’ve been avoiding nutrient dense animal products due to their saturated fat content, feel free to experiment again. Just make sure you’re prepared for a flavour overload because they are delicious! Include a variety of other fatty foods like nuts, fish, shellfish and healthy oils. (6)
In the end, specific recommendations need to be tailored to your unique case. A portion of people who eat a higher fat diet can have a problematic rise in cholesterol and weight most often due to genetic difference in how we metabolize our food. Certain conditions will benefit more from different ratios of fats in the diet. As such, changes to your diet are best made after discussions with a knowledgeable practitioner. (3,7)
Stay tuned for my next post on intermittent fasting where you’ll find out if skipping meals will help or hurt your weight loss and health goals!
- Tay J, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Thompson CH, Noakes M, Buckley, JD, Wittert GA, Yancy WS JR, Brinkworth GD. Comparison of low- and high-carbohydrate diets for type 2 diabetes management: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):780-90 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26224300 Accessed May 2, 2016.
- Santos, FL, Esteves SS, da Costa Pereira A, Yance WS Jr, Nunes JP. Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trails of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors.Obes Rev. 2012 Nov;13(11):1048-66 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905670 Accessed on May 2, 2016
- Kresser C. The diet-heart myth: cholesterol and saturated fat are not the enemy. http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy/ Accessed on May 2, 2016
- Samra RA. Fat detection: taste, texture and post ingestive effects: Chapter 15. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Boca Raton Florida. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53550/ Accessed on May 2, 2016
- Uribarri J, Woodruff S, Goodman S, Cai W, Chen X, Pyzik R, Yong A, Striker GE, Vlassara H. Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/ Accessed May 2, 2016
- Sanfilippo D.What are safe cooking fats and oils? http://balancedbites.com/faqs-what-are-safe-cooking-fats-oils/ Accessed May 2, 2016
- Erlanson-Albertsson C. Fat detection: taste, texture and post ingestive effects: Chapter 14 Fat-rich food palatability and appetite regulation.. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Boca Raton Florida. 2010.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53552/ Accessed on May 2, 2016