I know when you read that title aloud it may sound completely counter-intuitive, especially given all the misinformation that has been out there for so long.  We have been told for years that in order to lose fat we must consume less of it.  The belief that eating fat will lead to increased fat storage in the body couldn’t be farther from the truth.  The truth is, in order to become efficient at fat loss you must eat healthy fats while also limiting processed foods and refined carbohydrates.  It is true that fats are more calorie dense than proteins or carbohydrates and this is most likely where the fat shunning stems from.  For example, if an individual consumes a diet high in fat without adjusting/limiting their carbohydrate intake, they will be over their recommended daily caloric intake, which will lead to weight gain.  They will basically be consuming more energy than they are burning off and thus have increased fat storage.  If this same individual consumes a diet high in fat but makes the necessary adjustments by limiting their carbohydrate intake and consumes adequate protein, they will be creating an optimal environment for fat loss.  This environment will greatly reduce the energy available from carbohydrates and allow the body to use existing fat stores as energy instead.

Let’s explore how the body uses energy in order to understand what makes the body efficient at burning fat.  The primary source of energy is from carbohydrates, broken down into glucose.  When you consume a meal high in carbohydrates there is plenty of readily available glucose released into the bloodstream and sent to your muscle tissues.  Because it is readily available, the body automatically uses this glucose as energy.  If there is too much glucose in the bloodstream, there will be elevated levels of insulin as well.  When insulin levels are raised, the body does not release fat stores and thus does not use fat as an energy source.  With the typical American diet being so high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates the body starts to prefer these easy energy sources and doesn’t metabolize fats effectively. In order to become efficient at using fat sources for energy you must limit the body’s access to the quick energy sources from excess carbohydrates and replace them with healthy fats.  This will lower the insulin levels and increase access to fat stores for energy.

Another benefit of eating fat is that because it is denser than both proteins and carbohydrates it offers a sense of satiety.  If you are consuming adequate fats in your diet you are less likely to feel deprived and hungry throughout the day as they offer a sense of fullness. 

Fat is not something to be avoided, especially if you are trying to lose fat.  It is essential for our growth and development.  It provides energy and helps the body absorb and process nutrients, as well as help the body burn fat.  Remember that not all fatty foods are created equal, so choose wisely.  Stick to fish, seeds, nuts, olive oil and avocadoes.