By: Robert Maalouf BS, CSCS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
I am sure you have all seen how fat phobic (in food) we have become. Everyone seems to avoid fat like it’s the plague, and what’s worse is that we blame it for making us fat. So what’s the deal, does fat make us fat and should we be scared of consuming foods with fat? Well, to answer that we need to understand a few things about fat. Fat is simply a macronutrient alongside proteins and carbohydrates, but due to its name, FAT, it has gotten a bad reputation amongst people trying to control their weight. More often than I would like I hear people complaining that they’re not losing weight despite being on a no/low fat diet. It just doesn’t work that way! We don’t simply get fat by eating fat, so why then do we expect to lose fat by cutting fat out. We need to look at what really makes us gain fat: consuming a caloric surplus and chronically elevated blood sugar levels.
Consuming a caloric surplus
This one is simple basic math, if we consume more the we burn, then we will gain weight. Even if you are eating a no/low fat diet, but your total calories are still high, then you will continue to gain weight. There are two ways you can control your calorie balance to create a deficit: consuming less calories and burning more calories through exercise and physical activity. I suggest manipulating both these factors, which means eating healthier and exercising a little bit. You’re more likely to create a calorie deficit if you hit it from those two angles.
Chronically elevated blood sugar levels
When we eat excess carbohydrates, whether it is the form of sugar or starch, they get converted into sugar in our bodies. In order to restore balance, our bodies produce the hormone insulin which shuttles excess sugars and stores them as fat for future energy use. This becomes problematic when a large portion of our foods come from carbohydrates. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure our diet is properly balanced between fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Fats are essential for life, and healthy fats even help with muscle building, boosting your metabolism and lower overall body inflammation. In one of my next articles I’ll discuss the different fats and which are good for you and which you should avoid. In the meantime, I hope this helped shed some light on how we lose fat and gain fat, so stop only blaming fat!!!