Keto Diet: Won’t Eating Fat Make You Fat?
Keto diet newcomers often struggle with the idea that eating fat won’t make them fat and will actually help them lose weight, as we will see. Fat is the most demonised and misunderstood nutrient in the world. Not only does eating fat help you lose weight, it’s an essential part of a healthy diet. For years, we’ve been fooled into thinking that fat makes us fat when the culprit is really sugar. Fat does not make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.
In the keto diet, what we want to do is keep the carbohydrates way down (as carbs turn into sugar, i.e.glucose, in your body). When we eat ketogenically, we consume no more than 50g of carbs per day and ideally only 20g. We eat a moderate amount of proteins – not too much – because it can convert to fat-storing insulin. And we we want the fats to be about 60 to 80 % of the total calories.
Now, let us be clear. We’re not talking about total volume. We’re talking about calories. If we take one unit of the fat unit, it has more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein. So, we’re talking about daily calories and not talking about just quantity.
So you’re not going to be drinking liquid butter or lard but you are going to have a good amount of fats in the diet and they’re going to be healthy fats.
The big fat lie
There’s some things to talk about regarding fat understanding because people are freaked out because they’ve heard for a long time that this eating fat will clog your arteries.
Probably, the biggest study in this area was by a man named Ancel Keys. He did the study back in the 1950s and started this whole phobia of fat. What we know now is that he omitted several countries in this study which did not fit his hypothesis. So he didn’t show the full picture. He basically took what he wanted to and then he omitted the other stuff that didn’t support his case.
We know now that Keys’s study was altered and, in fact, healthy fat is okay to consume. This is after years of misguided healthcare policy to promote low-fat diets, eat carbs and avoid fat. Obesity rates, diabetes and heart disease continued to rise under this incorrect advice.
Let’s talk about clogged arteries. There is no independent study whatsoever that shows eating fat will cause increase in cholesterol or heart problems in any way shape or form. So, that’s interesting, because that goes against what people been telling you. Yet many people have a hard time believing this because, for decades, well-meaning doctors, the education system, media and our own friends and family have repeated the idea that fat is bad.
Yes, there are studies that found that eating fat will cause insulin resistance and possibly some diabetes but the types of fats in these studies was corn oil. Well of course, corn oil is genetically modified. It’s really bad. We don’t recommend you consume it. The fact is, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. We’ll get into this in a little bit.
Healthy fat is essential for our wellbeing
So why do we have to eat (healthy) fat? Fat provides our bodies with:
- Raw building materials for our body
Fat for nutrients
The first thing is that there’s a lot of nutrients in fat. That’s where you get all your fat vitamins, fat soluble vitamins and vitamin A, D, E, K, K1 and K2. Those vitamins are essential for health and you can’t live without them. You consume vegetables but those have the precursor of vitamin A, for example. They don’t have the actual active form of vitamin A found in fat. So, it would take four pounds of carrots to equal 1 teaspoon of beef liver for vitamin A. Fat is packed with vitamins and are essential for our health.
The nutrients in fat don’t stop there. There are essential fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and we need a little omega-6. These are essential because our body can’t make them. We also need cholesterol. Our body also doesn’t make it but it’s a beneficial thing because it helps to heal parts of our tissues. That’s part of its purpose.
Fat as building material for the body
Now, we get into the raw materials for the bodies. You know that your brain is mostly fat so we have to constantly replace that. Your brain sucks up 20% of all the calories you eat! It’s a very hungry organ and it’s full of fat.
The nervous system; all the myelin sheath that surrounds our nerves is made from fat. All of your cell walls; you have trillions of cells and they’re all made of fat. So, we need that fat to protect the cells in the immune system.
Fat is an immune protector as well. It contains a lot of properties that help the immune system. (When a baby is given breast milk, there’s just tons of healthy fats to help that baby develop.)
Lastly, the raw materials of fat build up your hormones. Without fat, you’re going to starve the body of those hormones and have all sorts of problems with fertility and with memory, especially the stress hormones and the sex hormones. Your libido is going to go down so we need these fats.
So, that’s the benefit of consuming fats and they also will satisfy you nutritionally and you will be less hungry. That’s important because you don’t want to be doing any type of diet where you’re constantly hungry – that’s not sustainable.
Fat as energy
Finally, fat is energy dense. It’s a great fuel source. The problem is, under the typical high-carb, high-sugar diet most people are on, the fat reserve is never touched and just accumulates as your body prefers to burn sugar if given the choice. So, under the keto diet, we want to get the energy your body needs from a combination of (a) the fat you consume and (b) the fat stored in your body – and we’ll make adjustments until it’s perfect. Your body on the keto diet will literally become a 24-hour fat-burning machine.
Won’t eating fat make you fat?
Then the big question is this: if I eat these fats, will those fats convert to more fat? That’s the big question that people have. Well, yes and no – it depends what type of fats that you consume.
The type of fats that we’re going to recommend are mainly Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) They’re basically shorter fats that convert to energy and most of it does not even convert to fat at all. (Very small amounts will if you consume large quantities but you’re going to be consuming the right amount of fats that’s going to convert to energy.)
We have been brainwashed to think that all fat is bad. Hopefully you can now see that this is nonsense. The correct way to think about fat is that there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. The keto diet is high in healthy fats and has zero unhealthy fats.
Keto diet healthy fats you should eat
- Olive oil
- Grass fed/organic butter
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts but not peanuts)
- Coconut oil/butter
- MCT oil
- Flaxseed oil
Unhealthy fats you must avoid
- Processed trans fat
- Certain oils (peanut, sunflower, grapeseed, palm, corn, canola)
Finally, if your activity level is very low and you are a little bit older, you may not be able to consume as many fats but you need some of this fat to be able to supply the health of the body. Because if the body is in an unhealthy state or if you try to lose weight unhealthily, it’s not going to work. So, our goal really is to make you healthy and part of that is to feed the body what it needs.