Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

For decades, fat in foods has been a popular scapegoat for the cause of weight gain. Many fad diets, starting with diets that became popular in the 1970s, list all fatty foods as contributing to weight gain. Even a cursory examination of the aisles at your local supermarket help convince you this is true. There are non-fat or low-fat versions of everything from sour cream to coconut milk. There remains such a prevalent culture of removing fat of any kind from foods that it can feel sometimes like there is only one possible answer. Eating fat must make you fat, or else why would so many companies work so hard to remove it from our diets, right?

But our assumptions can be wrong. So, the question remains, does eating fat make you fat? Let’s explore and debunk the myths.

Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

According to the National Institute of Health, “There’s still this misconception that eating fat—any kind of fat—is bad, that it will lead to heart attacks or weight gain. That’s not true.” (NIH) In fact, there is more than one kind of fat. In the most simple way of looking at it, there are two kinds of fat: saturated fat and unsaturated fat. In the same article from the National Institute of Health, it reads, “Fat is an essential nutrient for our bodies. It provides energy. It helps our guts absorb certain vitamins from foods.”

When you’re trying to figure out what makes you fat, the important thing to understand about fatty foods is that not all fats contribute to weight gain. Some fats are essential for maintaining a healthy gut biome and for overall health.

Put another way, eating fat can actually help you lose weight. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. You just need to understand which fats are good fats for weight loss and which fats are not good for you. What makes you fat is not as simple as eating less fat.

Healthy Fats and Unhealthy Fats

Healthy fats vs Unhealthy fats

There are a lot of healthy fats for weight loss. When I say this, what I mean is that some fats will actually help your body use nutrition better. Some fats will give you better energy and help with your overall health. Additionally, some fats will actually help you lose weight.

Unsaturated fats are considered good fats. These are fats that your body can use to maintain a stable appetite, to improve energy levels, and to improve gut health.

One way to determine if something is an unsaturated fat is whether or not it is liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats will be liquid at room temperature. This isn’t to say that foods with healthy fats are all liquid. There are many foods that naturally have a lot of healthy fat in them.

Unsaturated fats fall into two categories: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Your body needs both kinds of fats for optimum gut health. (Harvard)

Some foods with high levels of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Olive, peanut, and canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

Some foods with high levels of polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Fish and fish oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil

There are many more sources of good fats than just these foods. However, the important thing to remember is that unsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados, yogurt, etc., are good for your overall health. These are healthy fats for weight loss, and when you’re trying to figure out what makes you fat, remember that it doesn’t always mean eating less fat. It is more important to eat good fat and less important to cut out fats.

Fat, Calories, and the Lean Instinct Formula™

Woman eating burger - does eating fat make you fat

If you’ve had trouble losing weight or meeting your weight loss goals, you may need to address deeper symptoms instead of trying to diet. Dieting can have negative effects and cause deprivation. Maybe you’ve tried removing fat from your diet entirely, and you haven’t been satisfied with your weight loss. Maybe you’ve been meticulous about counting calories and you still haven’t achieved the weight loss goals you’d hoped.

If this sounds familiar, it might be that you need to fix the underlying issues. It might be that you are still making decisions based on a set of limiting rules. These rules are the ones you learned from living in a society with a tendency to create bad relationships with food.

Losing weight using the Lean Instinct Formula™ doesn’t mean sticking to a fad diet, or cutting out fats without considering the consequences. It also doesn’t mean you need to count calories. None of these techniques alone will have the long-term impact on your weight loss goals. You have to address the psychological habits you’ve developed by living in a culture with a chronically unhealthy relationship to eating and food.

Instead, the Lean Instinct Formula™ addresses those rules you’ve learned subconsciously. We will help you relearn how to think about food and empower you to achieve weight loss. A client who dieted with little result ended up losing 40 pounds with Lean Instinct Formula™. Click here to learn more.

If you want to experience the same energizing, liberating, and smooth weight loss, and build a delicious and wondrous love relationship with food, book a 1:1 Clarity Call with me here. Let’s sit together to look at where you are and map out your fastest route for success. 


Leslie Chen from Rise Lean helps people learn how to stop emotional eating forever and overcome food obsession. Watch her free training here.



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