In an article posted online today in The Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology a sub-analysis of the PREDIMED study shows that a high fat version of the Mediterranean diet did not lead to weight gain as some were concerned but rather the authors noted it might lead to weight loss. A commentator to the article writes: “Dietary guidelines should be revised to lay to rest the outdated, arbitrary limits on total fat consumption. … We must abandon the myth that lower-fat, lower-calorie products lead to less weight gain.”
Low Fat Diet Failure
For many years, low fat diets have been advocated based on the theory that there are more calories per gram of fat than per gram of protein or carbohydrates. It you subscribe to the theory that your weight is purely the difference of the calories that you consume minus the calories that you spend, then getting rid of the item that is most calorically dense would make sense.
Unfortunately for those who subscribe to this belief, the physiology of weight loss does not support this. The amount of energy that is spent by your body each day is a function of many components. These components can include the amount and quality of sleep achieved, the levels of hunger and satiety hormones, thyroid hormone activity, insulin levels, and exercise. A diet that is higher in protein and fat will have beneficial effects on several of these components. Hunger hormones are known to decrease for greater periods of time with protein and fat intake and rise suddenly and after a shorter period of time when consuming refined carbohydrates. Being kept in a well fed state also maintains the activity of the thyroid axis in such as a way as to make the body more likely to spend energy. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, consuming fat to a greater degree than carbohydrates will cause insulin levels to be lower. Lower insulin levels make the body more likely to burn fat as an energy source. When insulin levels are higher, glucose and fatty acids in the blood stream are more likely to be stored as fat leading to weight gain.
Science Supports High Fat Diets
At Inland Empire Weight Loss, we are happy to see comments in the medical literature that supports the vast literature on the topic of being more permissive in your fat intake. It is time to stop vilifying fat in the diet and start to see that fat can be a valuable tool in a healthy diet to help a person to lose weight and maintain their weight loss goals. Additionally, through weight loss, we then start to see a resolution of weight related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea and many others.
Here’s to your good health,
Carl Knopke, M.D.