Good Fats: Are they Really Good?
I get it. You want to lose fat. You also want to eat things that taste good. That’s why it’s so tempting to believe things like “eating fat burns fat!” or “it’s ok, they’re good fats!”
Eating fat does not burn fat
The only thing that burns fat is being in a calorie deficit.
You may achieve this by eating mostly foods that contain a lot of fat. That’s what people on the keto diet do. However, people on the keto diet do not lose fat because they eat fat. They lose fat because they’ve put themselves into a calorie deficit by cutting out certain foods (as well as with exercise).
Many people on the keto diet fail to lose fat, and they eat plenty of fat and still avoid the carbs!
This is because those people are NOT in a calorie deficit. Fat is 9 calories per gram after all, so it’s possible to create a calorie surplus quite easily if you eat a lot of it – even if you cut out all of your carbs.
There aren’t any fat burning foods
Nothing that you eat is going to burn the fat right off your body. That’s not how this works. It’s all about the energy balance (whether a calorie surplus or deficit is present).
Foods don’t do something magical inside you to strip the fat off of you.
You can eat any food whatsoever and lose fat.
You can eat any food whatsoever and gain fat.
You’re not going to prevent yourself from gaining more fat if you’re in a calorie surplus, but you also add some celery and some raspberries because they’re “fat burning foods”.
They are ONLY fat burning foods if they are taking the place of a higher calorie food, and the difference in calories is what puts you into a deficit.
This is true of any food. Even a chocolate bar. This is why you’re able to lose fat regardless of whether the food you’re eating is “healthy” or not.
You can still get fat eating “good fats”
I have to roll my eyes every time I see someone eating smashed avocado, salmon, nuts, peanut butter etc. and proclaiming that it’s “all GOOD fats” so it doesn’t matter how much of it they’re eating.
Yep, they’re good. They taste good too. That’s why you overeat them.
Every gram of fat contains 9 calories. That is regardless of whether it’s fat in an avocado, or fat that oozes out of a burger from Meat Mission.
The “good” fats make you gain weight just as much as the “bad” fats.
When I am losing fat I avoid salmon, avocados, nuts etc. Not because there’s anything wrong with eating them, but the high fat content means they all contain a lot of calories! Calories I can’t afford to rack up too quickly when I’m trying to create a calorie deficit.
A salad with two pieces of salmon and half an avocado can easily run into 800+ calories. Yes it’s “healthy”, but if it’s causing you to gain fat because you’re in a calorie surplus, is it really still healthy?
I would rather have two pieces of chicken breast (helping me hit my protein goal) swap the avocado for some broccoli and have a more filling meal for half the calories.
If I still have room for those other 400 calories I’ll eat some ice cream. Overall I’ve still eaten 800 calories, so the effect on my fat loss progress is the same, but much more enjoyable.
You need to track your calories if you want to lose fat
You need to keep some sort of eye on your calories if you want to lose fat.
The best way is to weigh everything accurately and record it in myfitnesspal.
Otherwise, even if you’re eating “healthy”, how do you know if those healthy meals are actually helping you? If you’re not creating a calorie deficit, they won’t be.
“Good fats” still contain calories, and for fat it’s 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can definitely do it while eating fat. However, it’s easier to do it by avoiding fat, because you need to keep your calories lower.
You need to know what your maintenance calories are
Then you can start tracking your intake and eating below your maintenance. That’s when the fat loss happens. Not because of “good fats” or fat burning foods.
Read about maintenance calories here.