Can eating more fat make you leaner?

12th July

Are you not sure if saturated fat is healthy?

Should you really include animal sources of fat in your diet?

If you're still wondering, check out the first part of this blog:

gymbox.com/blog/is-saturated-fat-a-healthy-fat

Today, it's time to move on to learn how animal and saturated fats make it easier to maintain a lean body.

A life without cravings 

Feeling completely satisfied and full of energy after each meal..? Yes! This is how we were designed to function. If you need a dessert or coffee, something's off. 

I know first hand that it's no fun to constantly battle cravings (and guilt) but it's also very easy to fix: have more fat, especially the animal and saturated kind. 

  • Fat is needed to make cholecystokinin which increases satiety and stops you from eating more.
  • If you don't eat enough fat your body will release hormones that spike appetite and make you crave carbohydrates. Have you ever eaten a tub of ice cream or cookies only to want more an hour later? 

To regain control over your appetite and sweet tooth, swap some of the carbs you eat for fat.

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Hormonal balance 

Hormones dictate what happens to calories provided with food  - in short, they can be used for energy or stored as fat. Because your endocrine system has the final say in regulating your metabolism, it's far more important to focus on hormonal balance than the amount of calories. No doubt! 

Going low fat will disrupt your hormonal balance and make it difficult to lose fat efficiently or to stay lean once you're done dieting. 

Metabolic flexibility 

Metabolic flexibility is exactly what you thought it was – your metabolism can be more, or less, flexible and better or worse at switching between different fuel sources – glucose (carbohydrates) or fat. 

Guess what happens when it's not so good at using fat? Yes, you gain weight. Now guess what's required to achieve good metabolic flexibility? Yep, it's fat. 

If you're eating too little fat, you will most likely experience spiking levels of the hormone insulin - the one with the most influence on your weigh and on how lean you are. 

High insulin levels equal low metabolic flexibility and the inability to burn fat for fuel. To keep them low, the ratio of fat and carbs should be adjusted to your metabolism.     

Most of us eat more carbs than our metabolism can handle which causes too much insulin to be made. Eating fat, on the other hand, causes a minimal release of this hormone. Yes... fat provides more calories than carbs but by now you will know - it doesn't matter. 

Motivation and staying on track 

The brain is the fattiest organ in the body. If you don't eat enough fat it won't get what it needs and in turn submit you to low serotonin levels. Serotonin is called the happy hormone which is neatly illustrated by (shocking) statistics showing that among patients put on low fat diets (that are supposed to lower cholesterol) suicide rates jump like there's no tomorrow. 

Acetylcholine and dopamine add two more compelling reasons to keep a good amount of fat in a diet that will keep you lean. With a low amount of these two hormones you're going to feel tired, unmotivated, unable to focus and most likely... hungry and craving something sweet to perk you up. 

Studies show that diets higher in fats and lower in carbs are by far more effective. 

Scientists have looked at what ratios tend to work the best and showed that those dieting with more fat and less carbs achieve superior results – they lose more fat (sometimes by eating more!), keep more muscle and yo-yo less. 

Why not take a look for yourself: 

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...

www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/...

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12...

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12...

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