Does Fat Make You Fat?

We’ve been asked this question many times: “does fat make you fat?”

The one-word answer is, “no.”

So, why do so many people avoid fat? Why do people believe dietary fat causes weight gain?

The answer is likely because the diet industry went through a low-fat craze in the 1990’s. It doesn’t help that body fat and dietary fat share the same name. You are what you eat, right? Not in this case!

It probably also doesn’t help that the word “fat” is sometimes used to describe someone who is overweight.

If you combine all that, it’s easy to see why so many people avoid fat and so many products have the phrases “low in fat” and “fat-free” on their labels.

Dietary Fat Isn’t A Problem

But dietary fat isn’t a problem. In fact, it is one of three important macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates are the other two). Fat is just a nutrient which supplies energy and it’s a source of “essential fatty acids.” The body can’t make these fatty acids, so we must eat them — and they are indeed “essential” for health.

“Studies have shown that increasing the intake of certain essential fatty acids, either alone or in combination with other fats and compounds, can increase health, help in treating certain diseases, and even improve body composition, mental health, and physical performance.”
– “The Essentials of Essential Fatty Acids” [Published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements]

So some kinds of fats are very good for you. You might have heard of “unsaturated” or “good” fat. These fats can be found in foods like fish, nuts, and avocado. You’ll also hear about two other kinds of fat: “saturated” and “trans.”

Saturated fats are found primarily in meat, dairy, and some plants. Experts have different opinions on saturated fats but the quick summary is: a reasonable amount of saturated fat from high-quality sources likely has a place in an overall healthy diet. In fact, saturated fat is a building block to testosterone production.

Trans fats — “bad” fats — are primarily found in processed foods and have been linked to heart disease, strokes, and other health problems. These fats should be avoided!

What Causes People to Gain Weight?

More and more, researches are pointing to refined carbohydrates and sugar. The interesting part is that some foods are packed with sugar and fat and they’re delicious. That makes it very easy to consume too much — and overconsumption of fat adds a lot of calories to you diet. Again, it’s not the fat itself, just the amount.

Sugar, on the other hand, has fewer calories per gram, but it WREAKS HAVOC ON HORMONES LIKE INSULIN.

Let me say it louder for those in the back: SUGAR WREAKS HAVOC ON HORMONES LIKE INSULIN.

While it can get a bit more complicated just understand that high levels of added sugar are not good for health. If you’re interested on digging a little bit deeper, head HERE for a bit more information regarding carbs and blood sugar.

The Takeaway

  • Body fat is not directly produced by eating dietary fat.
  • Healthy fats are definitely part of a solid nutrition plan and supporting sex hormones vs stress hormones.
  • Weight gain is more closely tied to a number of factors including food quantity, food quality, activity levels, sugar intake, and other factors.

So some almonds or slices of avocado can definitely be included in your nutrition plan. Those foods will give you energy and fuel your workouts. Huge bags of chips and lots of chocolate at every meal? This plan won’t help you achieve your fitness and health goals.

The best news: you don’t have to figure all this out! We have qualified experts who can help you develop the healthy eating habits to help you reach your goals.

To talk to a coach, CLICK HERE.

To talk to a nutrition coach, CLICK HERE.

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