Catherine Mercer M.S. Exercise Physiologist
Back in the 80’s and 90’s fat was the enemy. Anyone who wanted to shed some pounds knew that they had to virtually eliminate fat from their diet. Fat will make you fat, right? Wrong.
Too many calories makes us fat. When we eat more calories than we burn we gain fat, regardless of whether those calories came from fat, protein or carbohydrates. In fact, when we try to avoid fat we tend to become carbohydrate junkies. Do you remember back in the 80’s and 90’s when low fat foods were the rave? The thought was that fat free cake, cookies, ice cream etc. wouldn’t cause weight gain. However, those foods were loaded with extra sugar (carbohydrate) to improve the taste. Guess what happened. People who ate those foods regularly got fatter. Carbohydrates cause an insulin response in the body which causes hunger. Those fat free foods were causing people to eat more.
That’s right. Our body gets used to converting what we give it to energy. If we give it loads of carbohydrates it will learn to metabolize carbohydrates. If we give it some fat it will learn to metabolize fat including stored fat. The best way to help the body burn fat is to eat fat.
Remember, however, that we still need to take in less calories than we burn in order to lose weight. The key is portion control, moderation and variety. A good rule to follow is to have no more than fifty percent of your caloric intake come from carbohydrates. Have at least thirty percent come from protein and twenty percent come from healthy unsaturated fats.