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Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

5 Myths About Fat that Are Keeping You from Weight Loss Success

Falling victim to the myths about fat may not only be deterring you away from weight loss success, but can have some heavy and harmful consequences on overall health. Learn the truth about dietary fat and overcome your apprehension towards it once and for all!


Falling victim to these 5 myths about fat may not only be deterring you away from weight loss success, but can have some heavy and harmful consequences on overall health.

Myth #1: Eating fat will make you fat.

The Truth: If told to eat fat to burn fat or recommended a full-fat diet for weight loss, you may be questioning judgments and wondering how results were achievable.

But contrary to popular believe, eating fat does not necessarily lead to excess body fat and avoiding it may even lead to weight gain, especially if opting for carb-rich options.

Carbs and fats are digested vastly different: When simple carbs are consumed, the body releases insulin, a hormone that fundamentally signals cells to send available energy in fat tissue and other storage forms. And not to mention, the quick digestion makes you feel hungry not shortly after, subsequently increasing the risk of eating greater volumes and more frequencies.

Fat has a much slower digestion process, which helps to induce satiety and lower the risk of overeating, thus controlling calorie and encouraging weight loss.

Myth #2: Dietary fat essentially has no purpose.

Truth: Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Dietary fat has a heavy role in health and is one of the three core macronutrients to balance in the diet.

Dietary fat lends numerous and essential functions in the body, including insulating and protecting vital organs. It is needed to carryout a number of chemical reactions that help regulate growth, immune function, reproduction, and other components required for metabolic processes. Fat’s presence in the body is also required for successful utilization of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

That being said, depriving yourself of fat may not only impact your weight, but can be extremely threatening to overall health.

Myth #3: There is only one type of fat.

Truth: If believing only one type of fat is deterring you away from its consumption, it is imperative to recognize there are numerable types of fat to succeed in weight loss and overall health goals.

Clumping together fats is essentially like clumping together veggies and candy: While they are both considered carb sources, the way the body processes them vastly differs from one another.

Fats are virtually categorized into saturated, trans, and unsaturated forms and knowing the differences between them can help guide you to better decisions regarding their intake.

For instance, a high-fat diet rich in trans fat in particular has severe consequences on health. In fact, those who consume a diet rich in trans fat are 21 percent more likely to develop heart disease, grow the risk death related to heart disease by 28 percent, and have a 34 percent risk of overall death compared to those with a lower trans fat intake. With such alarming statistics, the Food and Drug Administration has placed a ban on trans fats and the AHA recommends to lower its intake to no more than one percent of total daily calories (or better yet, avoiding it altogether)!

Also in worry of saturated fat causing heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) encourages consuming less than 7 percent of total daily calories from saturated fat sources, including high-fat and processed meats, whole and full-fat milk and dairy products, some plant oils such as palm and coconut, and convenience snacks using butter or such oils.

On the other hand, a Mediterranean style-diet emphasizing high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has shown to be effective in the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Sources of healthy unsaturated fats include avocados, nuts and seeds, olive and canola oil.

Myth #4: Dietary fat and cholesterol increases blood cholesterol.

The Truth: First off, too much dietary fat can increase cholesterol, particularly related to trans fats and marginal concern linked to saturated fats. (Remember, too, a modest intake of unsaturated fats is also considered to be cardio-protective!) Also unlike historical worry, that cholesterol-containing egg does not necessarily increase blood cholesterol…

But dietary fat does not deserve the entire blame!

There is strong evidence linking a high-sugar diet to high cholesterol and heart disease. Researchers noted sugar consumption can disturb several markers for cardiovascular disease, including both HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

So along with replacing unhealthy fats with healthy ones in your diet, reduce sugar in your diet by moderating sweet treats and hidden sources and taking advantage of the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients labels.

Myth #5: You should avoid high-fat snacks.

Truth: Well, maybe you should sit down that sleeve of mini donuts…

But consuming high-fat snacks can actually synergize your weight loss goals! How? Fat is slowly digested, especially when compared to refined carbohydrates, thus inducing greater satiety and lessening the risks of overtime come mealtime.

Options to beat the snack attack should be balanced with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Need some inspiration? Look no further than these 12 healthy high-fat snacks, including avocado, edamame, full-fat yogurt, hummus, and trail mix.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on September 06, 2018. Updated on April 26, 2019.


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