There are a lot of myths surrounding high fat foods, especially in the dieting scene. (You might remember the low fat dieting crazes of yesteryear.) However, at Atkins, we’ve known for decades that the opposite is true. The fact is, replacing sugar and refined carbs—as you do with Atkins plans—and incorporating a variety of fats into your diet is not only delicious, but can be a key factor in helping you lose weight.
Why is Fat Important?
Although fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates, it’s what fat does when it enters your body that is important. The four major reasons why eating fat to lose weight is so effective are as follows:
- Fat is an energy source: When you limit your carb intake and increase your fat intake, your body recovers its ability to burn fat for energy-reducing fat deposits, and reducing your weight.
- Fat helps you feel full: Fat has nine calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates contain four calories per gram. So, you’d have to eat twice as many carbs to feel the same fullness that fat provides. Feeling full means snacking less, which can help you stay on track to achieving your goals.
- Fat helps regulate blood sugar: Dietary fat slows down the release of glucose into the blood, which helps to keep your blood sugar from spiking or crashing–with an added bonus of reducing sugar cravings!
- Fat carries flavor: More flavorful food is more satisfying, which can help curb snacking and overeating. Life on a high fat diet is downright delicious!
Types of Fat
- Monosaturated fats (MUFAs) are found in olive oil, canola oil, and in walnuts and most other nuts, as well as avocados. MUFAs are usually liquid at room temperature.
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are always liquid both at room temperature and in the refrigerator. They’re found mostly in oils from vegetables, seeds, some nuts, and in fatty fish.
- Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are two families of compounds of dietary fats that your body can’t produce on its own. Both omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs are PUFAs essential to your health and well being.
- Omega-3s are usually found in the fat of shellfish and cold-water fish.
- Omega-6s are found primarily in seeds and grains, as well as in chicken and pork.
- Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) tend to remain solid at room temperature. Butter, lard, suet, and palm and coconut oils are relatively rich in saturated fats.
- Trans fats are typically found in foods you already should be avoiding: fried foods, baked goods, crackers, candies, snack foods, icings, and vegetable shortenings.
How Much Fat Per Day is Healthy?
Every human being is different; a high fat diet for weight loss is going to look different for everyone. In general, however, you should eat enough to provide satiety, keep your fat metabolism humming along, and make foods tasty.
But that doesn’t mean you should eat so much that you wind up with a calorie bomb. There’s a misconception that you can eat as much as you like on Atkins, as long as it’s low carb; however, common sense is key. After all, it can be tempting to load up your steak with butter, or slosh sesame oil into your veggie stir-fry–especially when you’ve just started eating fat to lose weight.
That’s why the Atkins Nutritional Approach recommends higher level of healthy fats during the first three weight-loss phases when carb consumption is lower. This higher recommended level of good fats helps you lose weight, stay fuller and more satisfied, and regulate energy levels. As you approach the Lifetime Maintenance Phase, you may find up to 30%-40% of your calories coming from fat–however, the percentage will ultimately depend on your individual level of carb consumption.
Fat metabolism is perfectly natural for your body, and the fastest path to fat burning is during Phase 1 (Induction) of Atkins. During this time, you wean your body away from its carb and sugar habit. it may take several weeks to fully convert your metabolism to primarily burning fat, but after the first week of controlling your carbs, you’ll be most of the way there.
Atkins is the perfect way to eat fat, lose fat, and start living better. If you’re ready to jump-start your weight loss journey, sign up today. Or, if you need more info, check out our Beginner’s Guide.