Myth: Eating fats will make you fat
TRUTH: Eating fat will not make you fat. Simply not true. Eating fat is essential – we need fats to live but our bodies cannot make them without a sufficient dietary source. It’s true that fats contain more calories per gram than protein, carbohydrate, or alcohol; however, all that means is that they’re more concentrated sources of energy and therefore we require smaller portions.
So, given that we need to eat some fat, some people believe that consuming more than the minimal amount of fat required will simply makes us fatter. I don’t quite understand how this process would work – would we eat it, our bodies immediately recognize it as fat and send dietary fat directly to our thighs (or abdomen, butt, etc)? It doesn’t work like that!
With all foods, we first break down the nutrients and then we use the building blocks for different processes (i.e. tissue repair). Once we’ve met our needs for normal functioning, we store calories – any extra calories as fat (aka energy). So, if you eat too many calories from protein (or carbohydrate), they’ll be stored as fat as well.
BOTTOM LINE: Get over your fear of fat! Fats are necessary and some fats are even healthy. Eating fat does not make you fat – but eating more calories than you burn will.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- National Institute of Health: Weighing In on Dietary Fats
- Mayo Clinic: End the Guesswork with these Nutrition Guidelines
Check out Figuring out Fats for more details about which fats to choose.