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Curious how YOUR metabolism is using fats, carbs, and proteins?

The Other F Word

Ever notice how many times society uses the the other F word? You might hear, “I’m gonna fatten you up!” or “Yo momma so fat….” or “Do these jeans make me look fat?”

Trans fat, low fat, high fat…fat, fat, fat. Fat has gotten a bad rap. From recess playgrounds to viral memes, the topic of “fat” is so confusing, it’s no wonder many have NO idea WHAT to eat!

Let’s explore some common misunderstandings and clear up the confusion about this hotly debated macronutrient.

Myth #1: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Dietary fat contains 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates contain only 4.

If you’re as good at math as I am (which is not saying much, since the real estate previously dedicated to math in my brain has been replaced with Pinterest info)… you’d think that MORE calories means you’ll GAIN more weight. 

This is simply not true.

Yes, fat has more calories per gram, but that makes it more satiating. You’ll feel full and want to stop eating sooner than when you eat carbohydrates. Certain fats such as medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil and butter activate appetite-suppressing hormones and slow stomach emptying.

Research shows that diets high in good fats have a greater impact on weight loss than low-fat diets. High-fat diets also have benefits against diabetes and cancer and positively impact serum triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Takeaway: Our bodies are uniquely designed to sense feelings of hunger and fullness without counting calories. When we consume foods that have a high number of calories per gram (i.e. fats), we naturally feel fuller faster.

Myth #2: All Calories Are Created Equal

Nope! 1 fat calorie does not act the same in your body as 1 carb calorie.  Has your doctor ever said, “Just eat less”? They’re assuming that simply diminishing your calorie intake will result in losing weight.  Wrong.

Using that logic, eating a donut (195 calories) is healthier for you than eating an avocado (234 calories), but we all know that is not the case!

Example: Imagine yourself eating one or the other for an afternoon snack. How would you feel after eating the avocado? Satisfied, satiated, energetic? How about after you ate the donut? A quick burst of energy followed by a crash and ravenous appetite an hour later?

That’s the feeling of insulin.  (Or what many call a “carb coma”)

Not all calories are created equal!

Each calorie provides a signal to your cells:

  • influencing the metabolic effects in your body
  • how you digest and acquire energy from this calorie
  • how it affects your hormones and the influence on your appetite

Scientific Research:  “A Calorie is a Calorie Violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.” Different macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) go through different metabolic pathways and have different biological effects. Some biochemical pathways are inefficient, which causes the calories consumed to be lost as heat.   I see this ALL THE TIME when I do functional testing in my office. (Watch an example here)

Takeaway: Food is more than energy.  The quality of calories consumed matters. Food affects your gene expression, energy levels, gut flora, immune function, brain chemistry, and the ability to store or burn fat.

Why should you eat healthy fats?

What fats should be avoided?

Trans fat is found in foods that are prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These fats increase inflammation, slow metabolism, raise bad cholesterol, and causes obesity.  They are found in foods such as:

  • Fried foods
  • Margarine
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Cookies/pastries
  • Many processed snack foods

Where can you find healthy fats?

Unsaturated Fats & Some Saturated Fats: fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, flax seeds, avocados, olives, nut/seed butter, ghee, eggs, MCT oil, dark chocolate.

Practical tips to get more healthy fats in your diet:

  1. Eat avocado as a side or blend into your smoothie to make it extra creamy!
  2. Enjoy wild caught, fatty fish for an easy lunch or dinner.
  3. Add grass fed butter or coconut oil to your food when cooking.
  4. Eat eggs for breakfast or make hard boiled eggs for a snack.
  5. Add ground flaxseed to your smoothie.
  6. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your salad.
  7. Snack on nuts.

Interested in learning more?  Curious how YOUR metabolism is using fats, carbs, and proteins?  Watch this video about how I found new ways to help a patient when all her conventional testing was “normal”, and when you’re ready, you can schedule a 15-minute phone Strategy Session with me so we can start helping you make immediate changes!

Now go make friends with some FAT!

Dr Lara Salyer Blog Author Photo

Dr. Lara Salyer

I am a Functional Medicine Physician, Speaker, Author and Mentor located in Monroe, WI.