Gone are the glory days of the low-fat diet. In the past, if you wanted to lose weight, stocking your pantry with low-fat snacks and your fridge with non-fat yogurt was the go-to strategy for healthy eating. Unfortunately, this low-fat eating fad started in the 80s and hung on tight for over two decades.
More recently the health community has started to push back against this assumption, thank goodness! More personal trainers and nutritionists are speaking out against low-fat diets and in favor of cutting back on refined carbohydrates and sugary foods while increasing fat intake. Still not convinced you should ditch your 100-calorie cracker packs? Here are four reasons it’s time to trade in your low-fat diet for low-sugar, high-fat eating.
1. Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat
The main assumption of a low-fat diet is that foods with high-fat content will cause you to store fat on your body. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Fattening foods are actually some of the healthiest eating choices you can make. Nuts, avocados, and full-fat dairy products shouldn’t be avoided with the hope of losing weight.
Research backs up the assertions that fat won’t make you fat. A 2016 study published in Diabetes and Endocrinology observed individuals who were overweight or obese and at risk for cardiovascular disease were asked to participate in a high-fat, Mediterranean diet. They were not encouraged to restrict their intake or get extra exercise. At the end of five years, participants placed on the diet not only didn’t gain weight, they actually lost weight.
2. Fattening Foods Aren’t Linked to Heart Disease
While it is commonly accepted that foods high in fat can increase your risk of heart disease, this isn’t true. The right fats are actually good for you! Take omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, which can be found in salmon, nuts, eggs, certain oils, and dairy products. This power-house nutrient is linked to mood improvements, lowered risk for heart disease and metabolic syndrome, lowered risk of cancer, and more.
Additionally, diets containing healthy fats like olive oil and nuts were found to reduce the risk of experiencing cardiac events in individuals who were considered to be high-risk, according to a 2013 study in The New England Journal of Medicine.
3. Fat Helps Keep You Full, Longer
To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. Unfortunately, what is simple on paper isn’t always simple in real life. Controlling your calorie intake isn’t so simple when you need to remain satisfied to avoid hunger-induced binges.
This is where fat is a powerful tool. Fat takes more time to digest and is linked with increased levels of satisfaction. So, when you make sure a moderate amount of healthy fat is a part of your daily diet, you are supporting your weight loss goals by managing your appetite well. This is compared to a diet high in sugars, which is known to cause cravings for more sugar.
4. High Fat Diets Can Fuel Your Training
A commonly held belief about athletic training is that you need a diet high in carbohydrates to fuel training. Surely by now, we’ve all heard the term carboloading. While it might true that carbs provide your body with energy, it is also true that fat can fuel your training as well.
Amazingly, if you’re an athlete, eating high-fat might actually help you to burn more fat. A 2015 study of two different groups of athletes, one consuming high-fat, low-carb diets, and the other a more typical, high-carb diet, found high-fat eaters were burning twice as much fat during their workouts.