claim "Fat is a fat is a fat and therefore makes you
fat", isn't theoretically untrue, but nevertheless, in real
life it is wrong and literally misleading.
isn't a fat isn't a fat, and can't be regarded as such. Dietary
fat consists of a huge variety of fat molecules divided into groups
and subgroups; each plays a different role in the body.
studies demonstrated the critical functions of essential fatty acids
(EFAs), phospholipids and cholesterol compounds, in regulating blood
pressure, inflammation, lipid metabolism, stress reaction, build
up of cell membranes, nerves functions, immune actions and steroid
hormone production, respectively.
evidently clear that the role of dietary fat goes far beyond just
being a fuel for energy or storage. The real question is does dietary
fat convert efficiently into energy? And for that matter, is the
human body primarily well adapted to utilize fat as an immediate
fuel for energy?
you're about to read, the answer isn't simple, but even so, it is
yes and yes. Studies at the department of clinical biochemistry
and medicine, Addenbrooke's hospital, Cambridge, UK, revealed that
different people respond differently to high fat intake. An excess
fat calorie was predominately stored in some individuals and in
contrast, it increased total energy expenditure and fat oxidation
with no fat gain, in others.
question remains: why some individuals are more prone to gain fat
from fat calories than others? There is a substantial amount of
evidence that certain variables profoundly affect the capacity to
utilize fat fuel. These variables include gender, exercise intensity,
source of dietary fat and diet composition. Recent studies at the
University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, discovered that
women have higher levels of lipid binding proteins, with a higher
capacity to utilize fat fuel in the muscle tissue, than men.
the same studies found that men's capacity to utilize fat in the
muscles significantly increases with application of intense exercise.
The effect of exercise intensity on fat burning was farther investigated
at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Studies revealed
that fat serves as a most efficient fuel in the form of intramuscular
fat (IMT). IMT stores function as an important and most effective
substrate source of energy, in particular during intense prolonged
noted, it has been suggested that fat mobilization and utilization
seems to be also determined by other variables such as diet composition
(ratio of fat/carbs), glycemic index, source of dietary fat as well
as the frequency and intensity of exercise.
to the thrifty genes theory (Journal of Applied Physiology 96:3-10,
2004) humans have primarily adapted to better survive when following
cycles of famine and feast (undereating and overeating); exercise
and rest. It has also been suggested that we humans have adapted
better to primal foods on the bottom of the food chain evolution
(late Paleolithic period).
has been suggested that following a lifestyle that mimics primal
feeding cycles and physical activity, would most likely trigger
genes (thrifty genes) that help us better survive; making us more
efficient in utilizing fat and carb fuel with an increased resistance
to fatigue, stress and disease.
that aspect, we humans generally do better on primal fat rich foods
(bottom of the food chain), such as nuts, seeds and fertile eggs
than later fatty foods (top of the food chain), derived from farm
animals or processing, i.e. lard, butter or margarine, respectively.
fat foods such as nuts and seeds are also good sources of amino
acids and fat-soluble vitamins. In their raw state, they contain
phytosterols (cholesterol- like plant compounds), which predominately
support the production of sex steroid hormones. To take advantage
of nuts and seeds, eat them alone or with veggies and protein.
not combine these fat foods with sugar or grains. Nuts and seeds
are naturally low glycemic. Generally our body is better adapted
to food with a low glycemic index (slow releasing nutrients).
summary, fat is primarily a superior fuel. Muscle is the largest
fat utilizing organ. Exercise intensity positively affects the body's
capacity to utilize fat for energy. We humans have adapted to better
survive on primal high fat foods that belong to the bottom of the
food chain, such as nuts and seeds or fertile eggs.
primal high fat foods should maintain their natural low glycemic
character and therefore should not be combined with later high glycemic
foods such as grains or sugar. Evidently, the same fat foods that
may cause fat gain could instead convert to energy and promote fat
burning if combined properly.
conclusion, "fat makes you fat" is a fallacy that completely
disregards the complexity and critical functions of dietary fat.
taken seriously, this fallacy often causes fat phobias, typically
leading to extreme low fat diets, with severe consequences including
malnutrition, chronic fatigue, eating disorders, impotency, compromised
immunity and fat gain.
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