Monday, February 28, 2011

Does eating fat make you fat?

I have been reading this topic a lot in many blogs and i thought i would like to address this issue as well. Many of the blogs i read say that fat doesn't make you fat, its consuming more calories that your body can use that makes you fat. This statement is true. There is no denying that.

Though the statement above is very true, this is only half the story. People forget that there is another essential part to this statement. Without this second part, you will give people the wrong impression. The second part should be - however, it is important to note that it would take less fat than carbohydrates to make you gain fat. Confused? Let me explain.

See it is true that fat alone does not make you gain weight. If you eat lots of fatty food and your calories in is still less than you calories out, then bravo... you will not gain fat. Because in order for you to gain additional unwanted weight, you must have a surplus of calories which your body cannot use. This is true. So it is possible to eat butter and other high fat foods and still get away with it.

Now on to the second part. If you were to only focus on eating fatty food all day, you can only eat very little, and trust me, you will be extremely hungry the rest of the day. This is because 1g of fat has 9 calories, where else 1g of carbohydrate only has 4 calories. As you can see, 1 g of fat has more than twice the amount of calories as fat does. So, you could eat twice as much on a full carb diet compared to a full fat diet. Which one seems more appealing to you now? To be able to eat more or to be able to eat less?

Lets look at it this way. One stick of butter (roughly about 110g) has about 800 calories. If you need to consume 3,200 calories a day to maintain yourself (assuming you are pumping iron really hard and work as a labourer), you can only eat 4 sticks of butter or about 440g of butter for the whole day. That's it. Anything more will cause you to overshoot your caloric intake for that day. How full do you think you will feel? Can you really survive the entire day with just 4 sticks of butter? And remember, to spend 3,200 calories, you will be doing LOTS of activity. Highly unlikely i think.

1 slice of white bread has about 80 calories. To reach 3,200 calories, you will be allowed to eat 40 slices of white bread. Now which diet do you think will keep you full longer. 40 slices of white bread or 4 sticks of butter. Can you see my point? It IS possible to get fat on fat, because faty foods are very high in calorie. So it makes it that much easier to surpass your limit.

So yes folks, though technically fat itself does not make you fat, but it can, when done in exaggeration, just like anything else. You can even get fat on a pure fruit diet, as long as you consume enough of it. So knowing this, what should you do? Should you cut down your intake of fatty foods such as cheese and butter or should you just continue as usual? Since the statements now seem contradictory.

Well, here is my take on that question. As you know, losing weight is a pure numbers game. Calories in vs. Calories out. As long as you know how to manage these numbers, then you are fine. But because its a numbers game where your aim is for the lowest score, eating lower calorie foods would help you achieve a lower score compared to foods with high calories. Food with high fat content (which will also naturally mean higher calorie content) means you can eat less. Again, you want to be able to eat and stay full and not where you feel hungry and uncomfortable.

So you know yourself best. If you are the kind who will put in the work after eating an unhealthy meal, then yes, go all out. If not, then you can increase your chance of success by staying away from fatty foods, because it CAN make you fat. So staying away from fatty foods will give you a huge advantage in succeeding. But at least, now you know the whole story and not just part of it. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.


alex said...


i was wondering if 4 scrambled egss (w butter) for breakfast is fattening? p.s for lunch i may be having fruits or light meal...

thank you

regards alex

Rajan said...

Alex: eggs generally are healthy, low in calorie and good source of complete protein. 4 eggs for breakfast is fine. The butter is OK, just as long as you use a little.

alex said...

thank you...

i really appreciate this...