If I asked you does eating fat make you gain weight what would your answer be and why? When I ask this question in my office the answer that I get is “yes” fat makes you fat. Many people believe that it is fat that makes them gain weight and the correct answer to this question is no fat does not make you fat, let me explain why.
In order for there to be storage of fat there needs to be a release of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas and has extensive effects on metabolism. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle and fat tissue to take up glucose (sugar) from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stopping use of fat as an energy source. For example, when you eat something sugary your body will use the sugar that it needs for immediate energy and will then store what it does not need. It is when your liver and muscles can not store anymore sugar the remaining will get stored as fat. Therefore, it is sugar that causes an insulin response that causes fat storage. Fat on the other hand does not have an insulin response and therefore fat storage does not come from eating fat. If you are looking for weight loss it is when insulin is absent (or low), glucose is not taken up by body cells, and the body begins to use fat as an energy source and that’s when weight loss begins to happen.
This is an important topic to understand since we are lead to believe that low fat, non-fat food items are good for us but guess what? Low fat, non-fat food items are higher in sugar; this needs to be done so that flavor can remain. The next time you are grabbing for a low fat food item, flip it around and read the label, you may be surprised at what you read.
Fat is essential to our health, here are a few examples of what fat provides for us. Fat lines our nerves to help with conduction velocity, fatty acids from fat is what your brain uses to create cells that help you to think and feel and fat in the form of cholesterol is the foundation that your hormones are made from. Depression, PMS, quality of sleep, ability to detoxify and an improved sex drive all take place when your body is making normal levels of hormones due to healthy fat intake. Healthy fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts, raw butter, nut butters and egg yolks just to name a few. If you are unfamiliar about coconut oil or would like more information about the dangers of sugar you can read our blog entry’s titled “The truth about coconut oil” and “Sugar- sweet, delicious and causes dis-ease”.
Nutrition & Wellness Specialist