A high fat diet with carbohydrates is not the same as a high-fat diet with no/low carbohydrates.
This statement, if misunderstood, can cause a lot of confusion and heart ache for people on a weight loss journey.
With that said, not all fats are equal. So, munching on anything high in fat because you’re following a so-called high fat diet, might ruin your diet.
Let’s look at dietary fat in perspective. But before that, let me reiterate that dietary fat is not the same thing as the fat around your belly. Dietary fat is natural fat that you find in food – from there the word dietary. With the emphasis on natural. A lot of our food in the grocery store contain highly processed manufactured fat and oils.
On the other hand, your belly fat…well…it’s just fat. Nothing dietary about it other than you are just eating too much processed carbs and sugar.
In the 1800’s, most people lived on farms. Food was seasonal and there was not a lot of food choices during a season. Cooking dominated the time and energy of the average housewife and was extremely labour intensive. With the introduction of electrical stoves in the 1920’s and refrigerators, food and produce, like vegetables and meat, could be stored for longer. The 1920’s also saw the explosion of grocery stores which opened a door for commercially prepared foods.
Since that time, we’ve seen numerous labour-intensive saving devices make their way into the modern kitchen. If you dive into the research, you will see that in 1889 93% of money was spend on food to be eaten at home. In 2009, that number tumbled down to 51% which means that only 51% of money was spend on food that were consumed at home. This number could be higher and does not include already prepared tv dinner that was consumed at home. During this period, the money spend on fast food increased from 2% – 18%.
Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. The American Diet. 2012.
A century ago, the predominantly added dietary fats were butter and lard during cooking (as shown above). Today, people in general have abandoned traditional healthy fats for commercially manufactured oils like sunflower oil and margarine. Seed oils include oils like canola oils, sunflower oils and include oils where you find a mixture of good saturated fat, like olive oil, and canola oils/sunflower oils. You cannot mix the good with the bad and think it will turn out good.
The scientific evidence shows that dietary saturated fat, in general, has no effect on cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. Limiting your healthy fat intake can lead to physical and mentally ill health as well as early death.
Your body needs fat for all its processes, so does your brain. You brain, is about 60% fat. Without healthy fat in your diet, you will not be able to think properly or build memory correctly. That’s exactly why they prescribe fish oil for kids with attention deficiency. Dietary fats protect you from disease and is needed by every single cell in your body for optimal function.
There are 2 general types of fats. Saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats have 3 sub-types, Trans Fat, Monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fat does not cause heart disease. You can eat this. This is all your fat you get from animal products, like dairy and meat.
Food sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, nuts and avocados. You can eat this.
Your polyunsaturated fats come from fish. You can eat this.
Trans fats sources includes margarine, seed oils and highly processed oils like canola, sunflower oils. You should NOT eat this.
Fats are essential for us to live. Mono and saturated fats are good for us, as well. However, fats behave differently in the presence of carbohydrates. When you decide to go on a high-fat diet, it does not give you cart blanch to dive away on the fatty French fries and other junk food which has been prepared in tons of unhealthy trans fat sources, like sunflower oil.
You cannot go on a high fat diet, but still eat all the other crappy junk food, breads and pastas, which is highly processed and high in carbohydrates. You cannot go on a high fat diet and stop for a Wimpy breakfast every morning. That is a recipe for disaster. Why? Because the food is prepared in unhealthy trans-fat oils.
By eating more healthier fats and cutting out processed foods, you will by default revert to a lifestyle of lower carbs and higher healthier fats.
Don’t geek out about it. It doesn’t matter how much of what and how many of what you eat. You don’t have to drink a gallon of fat, drown yourself in the bacon to claim a high-fat status.
If you eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, you have a lifestyle that is easy to follow and easy to sustain.
Eat healthy and stay healthy!