One of the most pervasive myths we see on the Banting social media groups is that we should be eating copious amounts of fat because this is after all a “high fat diet.” Many posts bemoaning a lack of weight loss are peppered with the advice to “up your fat” or to add fat into coffee or snack on fat bombs between meals.
Unfortunately human beings are notorious for only hearing what they want to hear and not hearing what is actually said. We also have a penchant for interpreting what we hear to suit our own (sometimes gluttonous) ideals.
We hear slogans like ” bring back the fat” or ” fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does” and somehow we come to the erroneous conclusion that pigging away on fatty snacks and fat loaded meals is going to magically melt away the centimeters that prevent us from fitting into every pair of jeans bought any longer ago than yesterday.
Well let me break the news to you, and I’m not going to be gentle about it. TOO MUCH fat WILL make you fat ! If you don’t believe me and want to go into the science of it, read Dr Peter Attia’s blog How to make a fat cell less not thin
So what are the facts and what do we mean by a high fat diet?
For years we were told to cut fat out of our diet. We replaced fat with carbohydrates and spent decades eating foods with as close to zero fat count as possible. What is meant by ” bring back the fat ” is simply bring back the food that contains saturated fat in it’s natural form. In other words, eat a full cream yoghurt instead of a fat free one.You no longer have to cut the fat off that lamb chop or choose a low oil synthetic salad dressing when you can be eating a rich olive oil vinaigrette.
Simply put all we are saying is do not be afraid of the fat IN your food. We are telling you
that using butter instead of margarine is good and that it’s okay to cook with saturated fats like coconut oil , ghee and butter. Nowhere however does any low carb expert recommend you add copious amounts of fat to your food or drink or eat an excess of fat rich food at any one meal.
The bottom line is that anything in excess will make you gain weight. You have to be able to use the energy that you consume.
I know that calorie counting has been well and truly discredited as a means to lose weight but there is no getting away from the fact that if you consume too many of them, you are not going to budge those that have already been stored on your hips and waist.
HIGH FAT refers to the number of calories derived from the fat in the food and NOT the amount of fat in grams. Fat contains double the number of calories of carbohydrate and protein. For example 10 grams of protein contains 40 calories but 10 grams of fat contains 90 calories
To simplify this let’s look at an example of a meal.
100g piece of chicken contains 25g of protein and 13g of fat.
A cup of broccoli contains 6g of carb and 5g of protein.
2 tablespoons of pumpkin contain 1.2g of carbohydrate.
To this we add 25g of butter over our vegetable. 25g of butter contains 20.3g of fat.
If you total these macro nutrients you get 30g of protein, 7g of carbohydrate and 33 g of fat. If we convert these numbers to energy we get 120 calories from the protein which is 27% of the energy of this meal, 28 calories from carbohydrate making up 6.8% of the meal and 297 calories from the small amount of fat that we have eaten , making up the largest amount of energy consumed at 66% of the energy in this meal.
As fat is the most calorie-dense macro nutrient, adding one tablespoon of butter to a meal of 150 grams steak and a cup of vegetables sprinkled with full-fat cheese could well be classified as a ‘high fat’ meal. So you see, in reality a high-fat diet probably comprises a whole lot less fat than you imagine.
If you would like to read another explanation of this please check out the article What should my plate look like on the Real Meal Revolution site.
The idea with eating fat for weight loss is that is helps suppress appetite and we do not require much to make us feel satiated.It is also supposed to be self-limiting, which means that it prevents us from consuming too much of it. This is not always the case, however, as many people don’t appear to have an ‘off switch’, resulting in a massive over consumption of the most calorie dense of the macro nutrients. It therefore goes without saying that you need to exercise some control over the amount you eat.
Another important point is that if you have a lot of body fat to lose, you need to use your stores for energy before you shovel more into your body. This graphic below from Stephen Phinney (A well formulated ketogenic diet) shows very clearly that in the initial stages of the diet, you should be using body fat. As you get closer to your goal weight , increase the fat you eat. Many people do not take this into account and are eating portions of fat that would fuel an elite athlete for a 5 hour marathon or more and then becoming disillusioned with Banting because they don’t lose weight.
In conclusion before you take up on somebodies suggestion to up your fat or before you make the suggestion to somebody to add fat bombs and butter loaded coffee into their diet or cook all their food in masses of fat, check how much body fat they have to lose and whether they are not already overdoing the energy intake which has caused their weightloss stall.
For more information on how to Bant correctly, we recommend you invest in our book. Loaded with information, extensive food lists as well as meal plans, it’s sure to get you on your way to successful weight loss and a healthier life overall.
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