Fats make you fat and will clog up your arteries, right? Well, actually no. Fats are good for you – and can help you to lose weight. That fat is bad is possibly one of the hardest nutritional myths that you’ll need to let go of when you’re making changes for life long good health and weight loss.
A look at the myths about fat...
1) Myth 1: Fats cause heart disease and strokesWrong! The lead researchers of a meta-analysis which assessed the link between saturated fat and heart disease in close to 350,000 people had this to say: "no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD" This in layman’s terms means that eating saturated fats – the kind found in full fat dairy and foods like bacon – does NOT cause heart disease or clogged arteries. A Japanese study that followed 58,000 men for an average of 14 years found no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease, and an inverse association between saturated fat and stroke, that is, those who ate more saturated fat had a lower risk of stroke
2) Myth 2: Eating fat makes you fatNow if you’ve been following mainstream dietary advice then you might have to suspend your disbelief when I tell you that there are fats that will help to make you thin. That’s right, despite being told that the only way to get and stay thin is to eat low fat foods, research today suggests that the opposite is in fact true. The former president of the American College of Cardiology Sylvan Lee Weinberg was quoted as saying:
"The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet… may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations."There are of course other variables which need to be accounted for as well, but since the promotion of low fat diets, we’ve been getting fatter and fatter, not thinner and thinner! In fact, low fat diets might even be a contributing factor to weight gain. Research has shown that when compared to following a low glycemic index or very low carbohydrate diet, people that have been on a low fat diet burn food less efficiently after eating. The researchers put it like this: These findings suggest that an LF(low fat) diet may adversely affect postprandial EA(or how well you burn calories after eating) and risk for weight regain during weight loss maintenance. This finding does not support the use of LF diets, as presently endorsed by many organizations for weight-loss maintenance It is quite common to know that we need essential fatty acids, such as those found in oily fish, in our diets. But few people are familiar with the fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Triglycerides, which is just another name for fats, are classified according to how long they are and whether they’ve got lots of hydrogen atoms attached. The fats that make up the majority of our diet are long chain ones (LCTs), which are either “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, such as those found in animal fat, or “unsaturated”, like those found in vegetables, nuts and seeds. When you eat a long chain fat it’s broken down by enzymes and taken away to be stored as body fat. For MCTs though, it’s a different story. They bypass the normal enzyme pathways and are taken straight to the liver where they are broken down to be used as energy and not stored as fat. But not only do they avoid making a contribution to the development of your wobbly bits, they actually seem to help reduce body fat.
3) Myth 3: Burn more and eat lessMany research trials show that eating MCTs actually increases the amount of energy your body burns. In research where all other factors such as calorie intake and exercise are constant, people who consume MCTs as opposed to the LCTs found in vegetable oils:
- burnt more calories
- had a reduction in body fat
- had improved satiety which meant they ate less at the following meal