First of all I’d just like to say this to get it out of the way: fat doesn’t make you fat - extra calories do!
Too often do people immediately discard the full-fat options as they are scared away by that horrible buzz word. Yes, fat is more densely caloric than carbohydrates and protein but this isn’t always a bad thing. It means that it’s also more satiating, so you can eat less to feel more full, especially when paired with protein.
Low-fat versions usually make up for the lower fat content by adding sugar (I’m looking at you, yoghurt.) As we all know, once we eat a little bit of sugar we always want more. It won’t fill you up as much as a high-fat food and this might lead to overeating. Just because something is labelled as ‘low-fat’ does not mean you should be consuming larger amounts of it! Also, as a little bonus, high-fat foods tend to taste better than their lower-fat alternatives!
The previous points have solely been based on satiety and calories, but what will eating fat do to your body?
Well, your body actually needs fat in your diet in order for you to lose weight or stay lean! Fats help turn on the genes that are involved with fat burning (lipolysis) and also support thyroid function which is a hormone closely involved in body fat regulation. Also, like I said earlier, fat is more filling than carbohydrates/sugars and can lead to greater satisfaction and help with cravings. In other words: Fat can help you lose weight and curb your cravings. This might sound a little strange, but fat can help you build muscle. Fat supports hormone balance and recovery from exercise. Our muscles grow in recovery time, not in the gym, so we want to provide our body with adequate amounts of fat to create the best recovery environment possible. In other words: Fat can help you gain muscle. Did you know that your brain is mainly made of cholesterol and fat? Well it is! Docosahexaenoic acid, specifically. Try and say that five times fast. I can’t even say it once so we’re going to refer to it as DHA! Adequate amounts of DHA - which is an omega-3 fat - can improve brain function and even put you at a lower risk of depression, as the brain dictates everything from mood to muscle function. In other words: Fat can give you the smarts!
So we’ve pretty much summed up that fat isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s pretty great. This doesn’t mean that I want you to go off and stuff your face with chocolate and cookies, or start lathering your food in butter and cream. For the majority of your fats, stick to the healthier options such as nuts, avocados, fish, olives, eggs and every now and again treat yourself to some others!
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