Eat your fats, people!

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

For decades we’ve been hating on fat rich foods specially those high in saturated fats. Those specially pursuing weight loss have a notion that eating fat will make them fat and counter their efforts but this is not true. I have detailed out why fats aren’t bad here and in this article I will list out common misconceptions about fats like:

  1. Fats make you gain weight: over eating of the earthiest foods (yes, even kale) can cause you to gain weight. Fat rich foods, on the contrary make you feel fuller for longer and may help you eat less and aid in weight loss. Certain diets like Keto diets have fats as major calorie contributor and these diets have been effective in weight loss.

  2. Low- fat and fat- free alternatives are always healthier: there are plenty of novel versions of conventional foods in the market which claim to have lower or no fats which may give them an appearance of being ‘healthier’ but this may not be true as fat substitutes are highly processed food additives or sugars which may do more harm than good as compared to fats they replaced.

  3. Fat and cholesterol rich foods are ‘unhealthy’: this one gets on my nerves! Whole and unprocessed fat rich foods like dairy, fish, eggs, nuts and nut butters are loaded with nutrients like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy cholesterol which are good for our health. Even fat in itself is essential for our body and it’s functioning.

  4. Fat rich foods cause heart problems: this is not as simple and you can go through details here. In a nutshell though, eating wholesome saturated fat rich foods like full fat dairy, red meats and nut butters is not a problem for most people.

  5. Vegetables oils are always better: although vegetable oils are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are healthier than saturated fats, higher omega 6 to omega 3 ratio has been liked to inflammation and lifestyle disorders. Hence, having a balanced diet which has all types of fats (except trans fat) is a good idea.

The takeaway box:

Fat rich foods aren’t evil! Fat is a macronutrient and is essential for our bodies. If you want to follow a healthy and balanced diet free from myths and misconceptions then you would want to have atleast 25-30% calories from healthy fat sources like dairy, red meat, fish, eggs nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut and its oil, vegetable oils, olive oils, avocados and dark chocolates (yes, chocolates! But atleast 70% though). Reducing or removing deep fried fast foods or highly processed foods will help reduce trans fat and keep saturated fats in control.

References and further reading:

Berger ME, Smesny S, Kim SW, et al. Omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio and subsequent mood disorders in young people with at-risk mental states: a 7-year longitudinal study. Transl Psychiatry. 2017;7(8):e1220. Published 2017 Aug 29. doi:10.1038/tp.2017.190.

Coelho, Olívia Gonçalves Leão, Flávia Galvão Cândido, and Rita de Cássia Gonçalves Alfenas. "Dietary fat and gut microbiota: mechanisms involved in obesity control." Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 59.19 (2019): 3045-3053.

Crichton GE, Alkerwi A. Whole-fat dairy food intake is inversely associated with obesity prevalence: findings from the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study. Nutr Res. 2014;34(11):936-943. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2014.07.014.

de Souza RJ, Mente A, Maroleanu A, et al. Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2015;351:h3978. Published 2015 Aug 11. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3978

Gunnars, K., 2017. 10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy. [online] Healthline. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 August 2020].

Kubala, J., 2020. 9 Myths About Dietary Fat And Cholesterol. [online] Healthline. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 August 2020].

Ludwig, David S., et al. "Dietary fat: From foe to friend?." Science 362.6416 (2018): 764-770.

Ratliff J, Leite JO, de Ogburn R, Puglisi MJ, VanHeest J, Fernandez ML. Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutr Res. 2010;30(2):96-103. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002.