Myth #4: Eating fat makes you fat

Sources of fat
Sources of fat
Sources of fat

This is going to be a tricky one. I understand that it seems to be counter-intuitive since everyone knows that fat has 9 calories per gram whereas proteins and carbohydrates have 4 per gram. But, bear with me.

The problem with fat is not how many calories it provides as much as it is that it is quickly stored. But, fat doesn’t trigger fat storage, the way that sugar and other carbohydrates do.

When you eat something high in sugar, your blood sugar levels increase and naturally your pancreas secretes Insulin to take the excess sugar out of the blood. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. It stores that extra sugar as glycogen and then as triglycerides once the glycogen stores are full.

When your blood sugar is low, it is up to another hormone, Glucagon, to mobilize stores into sugar back into the blood for energy use.

When Insulin is active, you are storing fat and when Glucagon is, you are burning fat.

It is that simple!

On top of that, fat in that dessert will actually slow that sugar spike down, reducing the insulin peak. This is an additional reason why fat free desserts are a very bad idea (add link here)

Let’s push the reasoning a bit further. Once insulin has done its job and removed the extra sugar from the blood, your blood sugar takes a low and you start craving more sugar to compensate. Hence, our addiction to sugar!

Adding to all of this, I would like to discuss the concept of satiation. Fat triggers the satiation mechanism and that is another reason why low-fat diets are very hard to maintain. No matter the number of calories, your body needs fat to feel satisfied.

There is more on the subject of fat and sugar and also it is important to add here that not all fats are created equally but that would be the topic of another post.

In the meantime, I think we should change the common expression people use from, I am fat to, I have fat. Having fat doesn’t and shouldn’t define us.

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