Bust That Myth!
When you hear the word “fat” what do you think of? Most people view fat as a negative thing to avoid, whether it’s on your body or in your diet. The media told you to eat less fat. “Nonfat” this and “lowfat” that have popped up on every aisle of the grocery store. Is there truth behind the thought that fat in your diet increases fat on your body?
Dietary Fat Doesn’t Increase Body Fat
Just because food has fat in it, does not automatically mean that you will gain body fat because the fat that is found in food is not the same type of fat that is held on your body. Evidence based findings state that the only way to gain body fat is by consuming more calories than you are burning on a daily and weekly basis.
You Actually Need Fat
Yep, you need to eat fat in your diet. Fat contains essential nutrients that cannot be made by the body, as well as acts as the primary transportation for several essential vitamins. Some of the many benefits of dietary fat include:
- Membrane structure and function
- Precursors to hormones
- Regulation and excretion of nutrients
- Surrounding, protecting, and holding organs in place
- Insulating the body from harsh environments
- Prolonging the digestion process which increases the feeling of fullness after a meal
Where The Fear Came From
The fear of fat came into play as obesity rates started to rise. It was also around the time that fast food restaurants were multiplying in numbers. People looked at the correlation between the two and assumed that the former must be caused by the latter. Remember though, the only way to gain weight is by eating extra calories. Fat further gained a bad reputation because it has over twice as many calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates. For every gram of fat, there are 9 calories. In contrast, for every gram of protein and carbohydrate, there are 4 calories. Foods that contain more fat, also tend to be higher in calories, but it isn’t the fat that made you gain weight.
Eat In Balance
The way to combat this is by balancing your macronutrients and making sure to keep your calories in check. Fat should make up 20-30% of your daily calorie intake, while protein should be around 30-40% and carbohydrates around 40-50% of your daily calories. By watching these numbers, you can make sure that you are getting enough of the nutrients that you need without eating too many calories. Get a personalized calorie goal by speaking with one of our personal trainers today. Now you know, fat doesn’t make you fat. Instead, it is an essential nutrient that you need in your diet.
2012. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Fourth Edition. Philadelphia, PA. Lippincott Williams & WIlkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.