Eating fat does not make you fat

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 28 January 2020

So many people have not gotten the memo yet about fat!

That is why today's I'm sharing with you an email from my Apple a Day series. It is all about deconstructing the limiting belief that eating fat will make you fat. 

Notice I said the word belief, not fact.

Unfortunately the Canada Food Guide, our government, your doctor, and every diet program you have been on in the past has supported this belief.

The truth is nutritional science does not support this belief. 

Research studies do not support this belief. Population studies do not support this belief. People who abandon this belief get the results they have always been looking for...Let me explain why.

There is a difference between dietary fat and body fat.

Body fat is not the same thing as dietary fat. 

Body fat is just excess calories that your body stores away for later use. Body fat can be made from dietary fat, dietary carbohydrate, AND dietary protein, if any of them are consumed in excess.

Imagine yourself at the movie theatre. You order the large bag of popcorn. You eat the whole thing mindlessly while watching the movie and a couple hours later when you get home you are still looking for a little something to eat before bed. Now imagine that large bag was full of almonds, or imagine that large bag full of chicken chunks. It would be impossible for you to eat the whole thing right? 

We are much more likely to consume excess calories in the form of dietary carbohydrate. This causes storage of these sugar molecules in our fat cells by our old friend insulin. Our body fat goes up because we are eating too many carbohydrates. You become stuck in a vicious cycle where your appetite cannot be controlled. Unlike fat or protein, carbohydrate only satisfies your appetite short-term and a few hours later you want more.

Dietary fat in contrast is very satiating. Eating good, fat-rich foods, like the ones I recommend to my patients, will satisfy your hunger for a long time even in small amounts. 

Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating sugar makes you fat.

Let’s now look at a big example of how this was proven to be true. 

In the 1980’s the low-fat, no-fat revolution started as an answer to reduce the incidence of obesity and consequently heart disease in America. People started to eat a lot less fat in their diet, they were no longer using lard, tallow, or butter. They were using margarine and buying lots of low-fat, no-fat products. As the fat consumption decreased, the sugar and refined grain consumption increased.

The food industry wasn’t stupid. They knew when they took the fat out of the food it would taste like cardboard and no one would buy it.

So what did they do?

They introduced sugar. In particular, high-fructose corn syrup. What happened to obesity rates and heart disease? They started to sky-rocket. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of information that is available on this topic so I have included extra resources for you. Check them out  below.

So here’s the take-home message: Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Sugar makes you fat.  Eating good quality fats will help you stay healthy.  

Check out the extra resources here:

1. Documentary - Fed Up
2. Documentary - Is Sugar Toxic? - 60 Minutes
3. Documentary - The Secrets of Sugar - The Fifth Estate
4. Lecture - Sugar - The Bitter Truth - Dr. Robert Lustig

Are you ready to change this limiting belief?

Now I would love to hear from you! What low-fat products do you think should be avoided? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

If you would like to sign up for my Apple a Day please use this link here: APPLE A DAY

6 Replies to “Eating fat does not make you fat”


Well said, Dr. Durkin! We need to cut down on sugar and sugar-laden processed foods.


I think all low-fat products should be avoided. Low fat products don’t taste as good to begin with and as well, they don’t keep your hunger satisfied for as long. For those who can eat dairy, buy the 2% cottage cheese, not the 1% – it is way better. And the full fat yogurt is smooth, creamy and divine. Not only is it healthier for your brain, it will hit ‘the spot’ better than the low fat product, which may have additional sugar in it to make up for the lack of fat.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Good point Lynn. Many low-fat products masquerade as “healthy” but they are full of sugar.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Sylvia!

Jill G

Thanks Dr. Durkin! Your advise regarding eating fats and reducing sugar really works!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

You’re welcome Jill!

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