Eat Fat, Lose Fat

Part Three of The New Nutrition Series

For many of my readers, this is where it gets a little real. And before you read any further, I have to ask –

How open are you willing to be? How ready to question the norm, or go against the grain? Eating fat (and cholesterol) to lose fat is not a new concept. In fact, it’s one of the oldest in the book. And I’m certainly not the only one who is talking about it. In the five or so years that I’ve been part of the radical ‘eat fat’ camp, I’ve noticed that more and more people are getting on board as they realize that it just doesn’t make sense to cut out one of nature’s most readily available energy sources. And that maybe, just maybe, fat exists for a reason. A positive one, that is. And that what was ten years ago barely spoken about is now being recognised and acclaimed by experts in all fields of nutrition, medicine and wellness.

But it’s still a concept that is spoken about for the most part in whispers. And it’s definitely still an idea that strikes fear into the heart of those who have not yet come across it. Especially when they realise that no, it’s not just about eating some olive oil and a little avocado here and there. I’m talking about FAT. Actual fat off animals. I’m talking about the fact that – as step three of my Introduction To New Nutrition article stated –

‘Eating (real) fat and even cholesterol is vital for hormone function, brain function, optimal digestion and energy and even for burning fat’.

Hold onto your hats people. Because it’s definitely time to listen up. And I hope you’ll be open to some new ideas. Your body incredible is worth it. So here goes.

Eat fat to lose fat? Sounds kinda crazy at first, doesn’t it?

Some years back a friend tried to get me off the low-fat bandwagon. I told him there was no way! I was having a hard enough time losing that last layer and thought he was trying to sabotage me efforts.

These days, after years of my own research and testing, I advise many of clients to increase their intake of good fats – even saturated fat and cholesterol. In fact, in my new book (coming soon!) I go into great detail on some shocking research and statistics in the field of fat. For example, did you know that there was actually never any conclusive evidence showing that saturated fat causes heart disease? That the main study, by Ancel Keys, on which the ‘anti-saturated-fat’ theory was based, actually studied over 20 countries and their food intake, yet chose to base its results on a mere handful of those countries? And that when you look at the full analysis of those 20+ countries the true conclusion is that saturated fat is not the big baddie its been proclaimed to be?

But for now, I’d like to share with you my reasons for promoting increased fat and cholesterol consumption.

I’ll start with some facts about fat that I’m guessing you weren’t aware of:

  • Your body will use carbohydrates to make saturated fat – even if you don’t eat any fat.
  • This is because you need fat for cell stiffness. In fact, about 50% of your cell membranes are made of fat, so if you don’t eat enough of the stuff they become floppy. Not a good look.
  • Fat is also used to protect your liver and vital organs from toxins, and it is necessary to enhance immune function.
  • You need fat for calcium to be effectively incorporated into your skeletal system.
  • You hormonal system cannot work efficiently without sufficient fat and cholesterol. In fact, not having enough of the stuff could lower your metabolism, decrease your sex drive and contribute to bad moods and poor energy.
  • You need fat in order to properly absorb and utilize Essential Fatty Acids.

But this article isn’t just about the many positive benefits of eating good fat. I also want to talk about cholesterol. If anything, the idea of eating cholesterol is even more scary for most people than eating fat. At least most of us have come around on the idea that some fat is good for us, but cholesterol still seems to get a bad rap at every turn.

Why You Should Give Cholesterol A Chance – And Let It Give You One.

  • Like fat, cholesterol is also important in giving your cells stiffness and stability
  • It is a precursor to steroid hormones and vitamin D (your body can’t produce them without it)
  • It acts as an antioxidant in your body
  • It is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors (the part of your brain that keeps your moods stable and helps you to feel happy and calm)
  • Low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behaviour, depression and suicidal tendencies. This is also due to their role in hormonal stability
  • Cholesterol plays a role in maintaining the health of your intestinal wall
  • High-serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered free-radical-containing fats. This could mean that a high cholesterol reading from your doctor indicates your body needs MORE cholesterol to stay healthy, not less.

I realize that reading all this could alarm you. Particularly if it’s the first time you’ve ever heard such stuff. But think about it – if the low-fat low-cholesterol approach were the right way, wouldn’t we be living in a much different population? Over the past 60-70 years fat and cholesterol intake within the Western world has dropped dramatically. Yet heart disease, obesity and diabetes all continue to climb. And meanwhile sugar consumption is sky-rocketing.

If you’re not willing to at least stop and think about that, then you truly are swept up in the fear and propaganda of modern nutrition. Not to mention the endless pockets of food manufacturers, which combine to fund over 75% of nutrition-based scientists. Scary.

So let’s say you’re on board with what I’m talking about. Even to a degree. That you’re starting to believe that fat and cholesterol are vital to your health and survival. How about the aesthetic side of your body incredible?

What about eating fat and cholesterol helping you to get into better shape?

Stay with me here. When you think about what I’m about to say, you’ll realize that you’d be crazy NOT to eat fat and cholesterol if you’re looking at staying in shape …

One of the roles of fat is to act as a sustainable energy source, helping you to perform at your best both mentally and physically. For this reason, quality fat will be stored as a ‘use-soon’ energy source. It won’t get shipped to your fat cells. Replacing sugary and starchy foods like white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes and even excess fruit with quality fats will balance your hormonal system and allow your body to release existing toxins and stored fats. It will also kick-start your metabolism, increase your satiety, and reduce cravings. Pretty cool, huh?!

So which fats are we talking about? And how much?

It’s not a long or complicated list. I start by recommending each client take a quality, mercury-free Salmon or Fish Oil supplement each day. Any health food or supplement store will be able to point you to a good one. Next, I recommend increasing fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, olives, and organic meat and poultry – including the rind or skin. I say organic because the fat of conventional animals stores toxins, and if you eat them then YOUR fat will also store those toxins. This is not just a health concern. It also means your fat cells will be forced to expand.

Nuts and seeds (raw) can be a great source of fat but I do find people tend to indulge with these!

Lastly, I recommend switching from olive or vegetable oil to coconut oil for all cooking. Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, but it is medium-chain and has been shown to go straight to your liver for energy. It will improve digestion, up your metabolism, has anti-inflammatory properties and has even been said to help with cellulite!

How much? As a very general rule I would say that most people need a minimum of 20% good fats in their diet. This is a general guideline. As an example, use a few teaspoons of coconut oil to cook, try to incorporate some (organic) animal fat daily, and add a little avocado or oil to your main meals.

I hope I’ve given you pause for thought. I do understand that you may have further questions or concerns on this topic – it’s definitely a biggie! Rest assured, I will be writing frequently on the topic of eating fat to lose fat, and welcome your direction or feedback.

In the meantime, why not run your own trial? After all, the proof is in the pudding. Eat fat to lose fat and enjoy the energy boost as a bonus. Your body incredible will thank you for it!


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23 responses to “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”

  1. Nice article!

    It’s taken me a while to get over the fear of eating fat. I was eating a low fat vegan diet for 10 years, I was always naturally slim, but around the age of 27/28 started putting on weight. Although I still appeared slim, I was getting heavier and my scale was telling me that my bodyfat percentage was 29%. This and other factors (like being exhausted and anemic!) caused me to re-think my diet, I now eat much more fat and less carbs, I also eat some fish & organic eggs occasionally too.

    I found that eating more fat caused me to eat less carbs (because I felt satisfied more easily), I no longer restrict intake of nuts, peanut butter and coconut oil and I’ve actually started losing weight. My body fat percentage has gone down to around 27% (which is still higher than I’d like). My cellulite has practically gone too, which I attribute to eating coconut oil daily. My energy levels are much healthier now too.

    By the way, what is a good bodyfat percentage for a woman? I’m almost 30 and not very active, I enjoy yoga and would like to get back into doing yoga daily like I used to (before I got exhausted and anemic!).

    • Kat says:

      Hi Bonnie. Great to hear you are feeling better on a more natural protein/fat diet! Personally I don’t know how I got by so long without eating this way! Okay, normal bodyfat (if there is such a thing), would be between 18 and 24% .. so you’re not far off. How long have you been eating this way for? It can take a year or two to really see results in terms of weight, as your body has to first heal itself internally. I’d definitely recommend more exercise, yoga is great, but weight training is also very important for a healthy metabolism.

  2. Thanks Kat 🙂 18-24% sounds like a good range, when I was at my fittest and leanest several years ago my bodyfat percentage was about 24% so I’d like to aim for that again as a starting point. The funny thing is when I was up to 29%, I didn’t actually look much fatter, just less smooth & toned, I think I was a classic case of “skinny fat” 😀

    I’ve been eating this way for about 3 months. The only rules I follow are to eat whole foods (as I was doing anyway) base each meal around a protein food, add fat with each meal and snack on nuts rather than anything carby. I’ve been slowly losing weight since I made the switch to a higher fat & protein diet, but most importantly regained some strength and vitality.

    In a few weeks I’ll start a new job and will have access to an onsite gym, so I plan to start a weight training programme & revive my yoga practice!

    • Kat says:

      That’s fantastic Bonnie, it is so good to hear a genuine success story .. even after hearing many people’s positive response to a higher protein/fat diet it still puts a huge smile on my face to hear of someone who has found better health this way! The best part for you is that you are going to notice increasingly better results over the coming months – 3 months is very early days. I look forward to hearing how you go moving forward!

  3. Confused says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that cholesterol gives cells (plasma membrane) fluidity, not stiffness and stability?

  4. Nicole says:

    I just started a no carb diet I am on day 3 I plan on doing this for 14 days and then eating only salads and protien , no soda even diet, no salt and def no carbs I need to see immediate results to stick to this dieting I have also joined a gym and today i was in for 2 hrs 1 hr on treadmill and 1 hr toning body I have to hard on my body I am tired of being fat this is the fattest I have ever been and I have seen the light

    • Kat says:

      HI Nicole; well done on your commitment to such a drastic change! My advice would be to skip the cardio and focus on weight lifting. Cardio (especially for an hour) elevates cortisol, and can cause you to keep fat stores. Also, be sure to include good fats with your protein and salad/veg.

  5. alice says:

    Hey kat, started taking selenium, fish oil, zinc and glutamine today. Tomorrow no coffee and green tea instead. Eggs chicken and almonds for brekkie tomorrow. Can’t knock it till I’ve tried it eh?! Oh and bought some coconut oil! Pressing play kat