The importance of eating fat to lose weight
I have been eating Primal for almost two years now, and I think one of the biggest fears that people have about this diet is that eating so much fat will make them fat, or in the very least make it impossible to lose weight. This is why it is so hard for many people to start eating this way. What people don't understand usually is that eating fat does not make you fat. In turn, we can eat as much of it as we want.
We should eat a lot of fat. When I started this diet I weighed 190. I now weigh 172 and my diet is made up primarily of fats and protein. For instance I eat lots of bacon, cheese, heavy cream, grass-fed beef, and dark chocolate. I usually eat those extremely fatty foods every day. I am a good example of someone who eats an obscene amount of fat - and has become trimmer because of it. I just wanted to clarify that important point, because several of my friends who have started to eat Primal the last few months have gotten majorly hung up on this subject.
I guess many people won't believe that they can actually LOSE weight by eating lots of fat until they do it. Besides Mark's books and posts, two other books that really bring home this point are Fat: The Weight Loss Secret and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. Those links go to their Amazon pages. Cheers
Eating fat is one of the first red flags that goes up for people who ask me about eating Primal. I tell them what I eat, and I can immediately see the panic and shock set into their faces. I try to offset that by pointing out that my cholesterol numbers are fantastic. I've had them checked twice in the past year, and my naturopath (who is Primal too) says they're "practically sparkling" they're so optimal. Pass the bacon and butter please!
No we can not eat as much fat as we want when in a fat loss mode. Some of us stall because calories add up. That is not to say you have to be afraid of fat - not at all. Just don't add fat unnecessarily.
There aren't magical properties of fat that make you lose weight and their aren't magical properties of carbs that make you gain weight. You can lose weight on a low fat diet just like you can on a low carb diet. It comes down to calories. You can't eat as much fat as you want and lose weight (unless you only want to eat enough fat so you are in a caloric deficit).
Originally Posted by mando
I think the idea is not that you eat as much fat as you want per se. Fat is much more satiating and doesn't trigger all kinds of binge-fests or hormone havoc like carbs do. So you end up eating less than if you ate the same amount of carbohydrates and your body handles what you are eating better too.
It's ridiculous to think you could eat 15 sticks of butter every day and maintain a healthy weight, but it's also ridiculous to think you could actually eat that much butter in a day without vomiting. Candy bars? Yeah, I could do an equivalent amount in a heartbeat, back in the day.
So both camps are right.
The "Eat more bacon. It will make you lose weight" mythology around here was the big thing that I needed to realize wasn't for me before PB ever worked for me. I don't say that the high fat thing doesn't show results for some people, particularly those with a lot of weight to lose or those who had a very SAD diet prior to PB. It didn't work for me.
What worked for me was Primal Plus Portion Control. When working on that last 30 lbs, calories do count.
My special snowflake can binge-fest on fats like there's no tomorrow but carbs never did hold much appeal. I can seriously overeat on fat if I let myself.
Originally Posted by RitaRose
My solution was to step back from the carbs vs fats debate and focus on protein instead for my satiety.
Beyond the weight issue how about Cholesterol? I have high LDL and what can I expect from including fats in my diet?
It has to be a really individual thing. I always ate a lot of both dairy and fat - never bought into the low-fat bull - but I ate a lot of grains too. I only had 20lbs. to loose and I'm happy as a clam that it's gone, but my main motivation for going Primal was to feel better - grains gone, mission accomplished.
That said, I find I have to up my carbs to maintain 98 - 100 lbs. in spite of eating more fat than ever, otherwise I keep loosing. So for me it's true - I can eat as much fat as I want & still lose weight, I think it's just that (for most people) by eating this way your bod only craves as much as it needs.
always been intrigued by this issue...
Hi! New here... tho I started my current 'journey' many months ago.
My [imperfect] understanding is that fat will be stored in the fat cells if and only if the endocrine machinery (ie., insulin) allows it to happen. On the other side of the coin, we have the old "calories in, calories out" calculus, which implies that every calorie consumed has to "go somewhere".
When you have high insulin levels and insulin resistance, as is typical for the SAD, I think pretty much everyone agrees that extra calories go straight to adipose tissue, whether they originated from fat or carbs. But what about low-carbers who have a low-insulin, glucagon-dominated blood profile? Where does extra dietary fat end up?
Logically, it must be either burned, stored, or excreted. BMR and exercise physiology give a pretty good handle on the first variable, and if you're not gaining pounds or inches, you obviously aren't storing it.
That leaves excretion, which gets to something I've wondered about ever since first encountering low-carb plans in 2000. Nobody I've read ever seems to account for this obvious way of getting rid of excess caloric intake. Is it truly a given that all fat you consume will be absorbed by the intestine in the first place? And IIRC, ketone bodies are partially metabolized fat: aside from qualitative testing to confirm ketosis, has anyone really studied how much dietary fat sneaks out via the urine, barely singed by the metabolic process?
"How much fat to eat" is an open question for me. One nice thing about n=1 eating is that you only have to figure out what works for you. I seem to do pretty well cutting out refined/concentrated carbs, eating meat and "big-ass salads", and not worrying about fat per se. I did start out eating a lot more fat, and I wonder if that helped me retrain my metabolism to burn primarily fat instead of glycogen during the first few weeks.