Up until a few years ago, fat was seen as the “villain” of the food world. Dieticians, fitness experts, and nutritionists recommended high-carb, low-fat diets as a means to curb weight gain and encourage fat burning. However, recent discoveries have proven that fat is actually GOOD for your health, and can reduce the risk of obesity and promote weight loss. Adding fat back into your diet can help to improve your health in many ways.
Of Mice and Fat
A team of researchers from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine recently conducted a study examining the effects of a high fat diet on mice. One group of mice was given a regular high-carb diet, another a low-carb, high fat diet, and the third a VERY high fat (ketogenic diet) containing roughly 90% fat. The calorie count for each mouse remained the same—the only variable was the amount of fat consumed by the mice in their diet.
Not only did the ketogenic (very high fat) diet lead to improved weight loss and decreased obesity risk, it encouraged some pretty fascinating secondary results. The mice had a longer median lifespan (by about 13%–or the equivalent of 7 to 10 human years), and the diet increased both their motor functions and their memory. They had better coordination and strength, and their risk of inflammation (the result of age) decreased. The incidence of tumors was also visibly lower as a result of the ketogenic diet.
According to the Researcher
“In this case, many of the things we’re looking at aren’t much different from humans,” said nutritionist Jon Ramsey, senior author of the paper that appears in the September issue of Cell Metabolism. “At a fundamental level, humans follow similar changes and experience a decrease in overall function of organs during aging. This study indicates that a ketogenic diet can have a major impact on life and health span without major weight loss or restriction of intake. It also opens a new avenue for possible dietary interventions that have an impact on aging.”
What This Means For You
Basically, this discovery proves that adding fat to your diet is a good way to improve your health, metabolism, and weight overall. By cutting carbohydrate intake way down (to an almost non-existent amount), you force your body to burn fat for energy. This leads to a higher usage of your body fat, which in turn can help to promote better weight loss in the long run. And, by burning fat, you prevent the build-up of lipids that can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems. As a bonus, as this study proved, it may also extend your lifespan, improve strength and coordination, decrease cancer risk, and prevent inflammation in your body. A totally awesome reason to go on a high fat diet!
How to Include More Fat in Your Diet
The truth is that it’s fairly easy to increase your dietary fat consumption. You should ALWAYS try to consume unsaturated fats—the type of fats that come from plants, seeds, nuts, and natural oils. Olive oil is one of the best sources of unsaturated fats, along with coconut oil. Avocadoes, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds are also excellent sources of these natural fats. However, you can also add saturated fat—the type you get from animals—to your list. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, and dairy products can all provide you with the healthy fat you need to encourage a ketogenic balance in your body.