does fat make you fat

Does Fat Make You Fat? Myths You Need to Stop Believing

A lot of people ask the question Does Fat Make You Fat?

When I was a kid, I learned to despise fat.

Everything was fat-free this, fat-free that – yadda yadda yadda. But of course, foods containing loads of sugar and other chemical sh*tstorms were perfectly acceptable. Plus, I battled with my weight starting when I was very young, so as far as I was concerned, avoiding fat was simply the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, though, it sure didn’t keep my weight down. It did, however, lead me to engage in unhealthy eating habits (which eventually became eating disorders). I relied on pre-packaged foods that offered me the promise that I could eat what I wanted without consequence. As long as I was convinced I was consuming less fat, I had no problems eating an entire bag of fat-free cookies.

I’m sure you can relate.

Fast forward a couple of decades and of course, it’s a different story now. As with all things, an idea becomes a fad; that fad becomes a belief and soon enough, we all live our lives as though this notion is objective truth.

But is it true? Does Fat Make You Fat?

What if it turns out fat isn’t the enemy?

Let’s see what fat really is and what it does for us. Then maybe, instead of grabbing those little colored packets of artificial silliness (thinking they’ll keep our waistlines tiny and our little black books filled with dates), we’ll start eating consciously and intelligently.

Does Fat Make You Fat?

Myth #1 – Fat (in the body) is unhealthy

Even though most of us would prefer to keep our body fat down, the truth is, we need it.

Fat does a body good. It provides useful (and life-sustaining) functions, such as:

  • Storing energy for later use.
  • Maintenance of menstruation, pregnancy and lactation in women.
  • Helps provide healthy metabolism, bone health and energy balance.

Now of course, just because fat (in the body and in our food) is beneficial doesn’t mean it’s cool to overdo it. Actually, it isn’t a good idea to overdo anything. And when it comes to fat(s), they aren’t all created equal.

Some are ideal, and some – well – not so much.

This leads to…

Myth #2 – All fats are bad

As you’ve probably heard by now, there are several types of fats out there, and they all provide different effects on our health.

Saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature, are most commonly associated with heart disease . However, what’s interesting is that while we associate saturated fats with things like butter and fatty meats, coconut oil also falls under the category of saturated fat.

But coconut oil is considered beneficial for our health. And according to this study, it doesn’t seem to have the same adverse effects on heart health. So this just shows us that using discernment is a wise thing to do.

Now unsaturated fats are considered “ideal.” You’ll find this in things like nuts and oils (including fish and plant oils) that remain liquid at room temperature.

It’s been said a diet that includes nonhydrogenated unsaturated fats, in combination with fruits and vegetables and physical activity is the ideal way to maintain optimal heart health.

Trans fats, on the other hand, are considered the most harmful type of fat for cardiac health, yet the inclusion of it is pretty widespread in most American diets.

You’ll find trans fat in things like processed foods – often labeled as “partially hydrogenated oil.”

Your best bet is to steer clear of it. And since it’s still legal to include .5g of trans fat in a food product without mentioning it in the nutrition facts, I’d strongly suggest reading the labels and keeping a lookout for those partially hydrogenated oils.

Myth #3 – Low-fat foods are a better option

Food products that claim they’re either “light” or fat-free usually get away with this because they just add sugar and other chemicals to enhance the flavor.

Your best bet is simply to eat a diet rich in high-quality nutrients and kick the processed stuff to the curb.

If you eat things like avocados, nuts, seeds and oils – and do this using balance – you’ll not only feel satisfied, but you won’t have to sit around and worry about whether or not you’re causing harm to yourself.

So as you can see, fat can be useful and even healthy.

It’s just about using food as a tool for well-being. When that becomes your priority, your choices will start to make sense – and you’ll enjoy the process.

6 thoughts on “Does Fat Make You Fat? Myths You Need to Stop Believing

  1. Hi Dana,

    This is a really awesome post! I remember when I first started dieting, I was all about the low fat or fat-free. But like you said, it’s not necessarily better for us. My hubs was diagnosed as prediabetic recently so we are reading every stinking label on ever piece of food we pick up in the store. I’ve always said, fat doesn’t mean we are unhealthy. Do you know how many people that are over 200 lbs are actually healthy? It’s amazing to think about it. Anyway, very informative post here that I’d love to pass on. I know many that will appreciate your wisdom.


    1. Hey Brenda,

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you got something valuable out of this.
      I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s health diagnosis, but the good news is – it’s never too late.

      Yep, like you, I relied on those “light” or fat-free foods in the past. Never thought about what was in them to replace the fat, but I’m glad I’ve wisened up since then.

      It’s really just about eating high quality foods and knowing which types of fats are useful/ beneficial and which aren’t. Under no circumstances are the trans fats cool. But with fat and everything else, balance is always the key. When you know how to use food and it becomes a friend (which it has for me), life becomes SO much easier – and far more pleasant.
      No more guilt. 🙂

  2. Hi Dana,

    This is a really great post. I remember the low-fat, no-fat craze only to find out it’s not necessarily good for us. Then I found out not all fat is bad – like myth #2.

    I pay attention more to labels now and I buy organic fruits and veggies when I have a chance and eat more fish and chicken. Still have my vice with soda but I’m getting better at it and almost ready to let it go completely. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this with us!


    1. Hi Cori,

      Yep. I went through an entire bag of fat-free cookies once because you know, they were “safe.”
      But I (like many of us) grew up in the era where avoiding fat (all of it) was considered a good idea. Never bothered to read labels – and healthy living wasn’t the idea either. It was simply to avoid fat at all costs.

      Fat, used wisely (that’s the key), is beneficial. And the human body needs a certain amount to function – so I’m glad I had the opportunity to put this together. The funny thing is, when you know how to use food properly, eating becomes a pleasure and you don’t worry so much about the guilt.

      You’re on the right path with your food choices. You won’t go wrong with the fresh, organic produce. It’s also great you’re minimizing the soda intake. Your body will love you for that.

      Thanks so much for chiming in. 🙂

  3. Hi Dana,

    Great post! I remember the low-fat, no-fat craze. But I learned the truth about those “so-called” fat-free products and I learned to stay away from them altogether. But I’m sure that they are a lot of people who don’t know the truth and think that those products are actually good for them.

    Just like you said, not all fat are harmful and our bodies need some fat to function properly. But it’s important to know which one is good and which one isn’t. And most importantly, kick the processed foods to the curb.

    Thanks for this very informative post!


    1. Hi Nataly,

      I apologize for not responding sooner. I didn’t see your comment 🙂

      Yep, I think most of us were caught up in the “fat is the enemy” craze. I had always wondered what was supposed to replace it, but never bothered to look into it – figuring that science had a magical answer for everything.

      Thankfully we know better now – and the truth is simple. The more natural the foods and the less hold food has on the psyche, the better. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

      I appreciate your insight and contribution here, Nataly. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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