Fat does not make you fat!
I just hung up the phone with my teammate from 2006, Mike Lowell. Mikey was musing about how he buys low fat ground beef for his chili, sometimes even turkey. He can’t help it; he’s simply doing what society told him to do. By the time we hung up the phone, he was amped to add a splash of real mayonnaise made with farm fresh whole eggs to his tuna and replace fake “low fat spreads” with high quality, grass fed butter.
But why did Mikey feel like a low fat diet made the most sense?
He, like his parents and mine, were constantly bombarded with the message that low-fat is better – a message first trumpeted by government and public health agencies, and then reinforced on a daily basis by the food industry selling low-fat products. Subsequently, pharmaceutical companies selling cholesterol-lowering drugs jumped on the bandwagon. Makes perfect sense.
“Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat. Eating good fats can actually help you stay healthy. So, eat good quality fats and real, whole, fresh food, and don’t worry about it,” according to Dr. Mark Hyman.
In fact, consuming fats is essential to appetite satiety and reducing body fat. Many people fail at dieting for this reason; it’s hard to maintain a lifestyle change when you’re constantly hungry. From fitness author Mark Sisson:
“When consuming animal products you get healthy animal fat. You get protein, important for building muscles and keeping you full…You get all the micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals that the animal ate, in a form that your body can absorb. It’s the perfect package of nutrition for a fat burner.”
This doesn’t mean that fitness devotees should venture out and consume huge amounts of saturated fats. Fats still contain more calories per gram than carbohydrates or proteins. It simply means that eating foods we love, like beef, cheese, chicken legs and thighs, etc., can be a healthy practice when performed sensibly. Our choices matter, too. A fast food double cheeseburger provides fewer health benefits than a grass fed steak.
“Grass-fed beef is lower in calories, contains more healthy omega-3 fats, more vitamins A and E, higher levels of antioxidants, and up to seven times the beta-carotene,” says Kim Cross.
However, contrary to a lot of so-called experts, even saturated fats are beneficial. Saturated fat increases testosterone levels, and higher testosterone levels are essential to building a healthy, muscular body for both men and women.
The takeaway message here is to enjoy your full fat food, and tell your friends to challenge conventional wisdom!