I’ve been known to have conversations that start like this…
me: Tell me, what does an average day of food look like for you?
my client: I start my day with muesli and low fat yoghurt, followed by a mid-morning latte – skim milk of course (said very proudly with a big smile)…
At which point I make a mental note to chat about “low-fat” later on in the consultation.
The low-fat dairy myth is one I encounter a lot – and even though I manage to convince my clients, one by one, that they NEED to switch to full-fat dairy…I figured it was time for a blog post about it – in which I will attempt to show you the hard facts (yes, this includes some science) to stop your fear of fat, including the fat found in dairy.
There is no other way to put it:
Eating fat will not make you fat.
Actually, that should read Eating the RIGHT type of fat, will not make you fat.
You might be afraid to increase fat in your diet – I get it…the food industry has done a great job over the years at convincing the world that by eating fat, you will get fatter.
While fat contains more calories per gram (9 to be exact) than carbohydrates or protein does (only 4 for each), this does not mean that your body responds the same way to 1 calorie of fat as it does to 1 calorie of carbohydrate or protein.
I don’t believe in calorie counting for this reason.
Sure, creating a calorie deficit may result in weight loss – but it will most likely be short term.
If you are after long term results, you need to look at a food in its whole state, rather than how many calories it contains.
Consuming foods that contain trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) such as many packaged goods (crackers, chips, cakes, pies and biscuits) and deep fried foods (schnitzel, hot chips, donuts etc) is what contributes to fat gain. These foods are not as they appear in nature – I’m yet to see a tree growing biscuits, hot chips and schnitzels!
Substituting foods that contain trans fats with foods that are high in essential fatty acids such as cold water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds will reduce inflammation in your body, improve your omega 3:omega 6 ratio (more on this in another post later), increase your metabolism and help your body burn fat more efficiently.
And what about full fat dairy?
Fats are designed to satisfy, keeping you fuller for longer. Eating moderate amounts of full fat dairy products such as butter, yoghurt, milk and cheese (as long as you are not sensitive to dairy) will provide satiation and help your brain function throughout the day.
Other foods that will provide your body with the healthy fats it desires include avocados, extra virgin olive oil (and olives), coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
Lastly, the great benefit of eating healthy fats is that they taste good! Don’t be afraid to add them to your breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner to experience their health benefits.
As Hippocrates said (in a few more words), food is medicine.
Have a great weekend!