Eating fat doesn’t make you fat

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 28 June 2016



If you believe in science it is my hope that by the end of this article you will understand why the above statement is true. Unfortunately if you are swayed by marketing, you'll keep thinking that whole wheat bagels, cereal, and low fat crackers, yogurt, and other prepackaged low fat snacks are on the menu for a great bathing suit season.

Let me explain. FYI, this is the science part.


Excess calories will be stored in your body as fat. Fat is exactly that, a reserve tank of calories that can be burned later on when you need them. You know, the next time you are running a marathon, or maybe the next time you won't have any access to food for more than 12 hours.

That means protein consumed in excess, fat consumed in excess, and carbohydrates consumed in excess will all be stored in your fat cells.

Now I want you to picture yourself at the movie theatre and you have a big bag of popcorn, a big bag of chicken bites, and a big bag of avocado. Which one can you see yourself consuming all of and maybe even wanting a snack before bed when you get home?

That's right! We can all consume way more popcorn than chicken or avocado. That is because protein and fat are inherently satiating. You will likely get full before you eat too much. Carbs on the other hand do not trigger that internal off switch as easily. The more of them you eat, the more of them you crave, and the more of them you end up eating. The result: consuming excess calories from carbs and storing them as fat.

But that is only part of the story.

The other main factor involved in weight gain is the hormone insulin. Insulin is your body's fat storage hormone. To put this simply, if you want to lose fat, you need to make less insulin.

And what is the secret to making less insulin? Eat less carbohydrates.

Insulin is secreted from your pancreas in direct response to carbohydrates in your diet. Not fat. Not protein. Carbohydrate.

A breakfast of Cheerios, banana, and a glass of orange juice is about 75 g of carbohydrate and minimal protein or fat. In contrast, a breakfast omelette with a couple eggs, spinach and bacon is about 3 g of carbohydrate, 15 g of protein, 10 g of fat.

I know which one I'm choosing. The one that keeps me full longer and isn't going to spike my insulin. Bonus, it also has less calories.

Now I would love to hear from you! What comes to mind when you think about eating fat in your diet? Leave a comment below and send this article to someone you think might benefit. I look forward to bringing you next week's article on Doctor as Teacher Tuesday.

2 Replies to “Eating fat doesn’t make you fat”

diet conscious

Is it possible to eat too many avocados over a 7 day period? Can one eat too much good fat before it has a negative affect on our body?

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

In general fat is very satiating, so it’s really hard to eat too much of it before getting full. Your natural appetite suppression will kick in before you over consume it. You can however override your natural appetite suppression if you are also eating too many carbohydrates (i.e. grains and sugars) at the same time. Think of fat and carbs on either end of a teeter-totter, when one goes up, the other naturally should go down. Avocados in particular, most people can easily eat 1/2 of one a day without any issues.
Thanks for your question!

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