Fat through fats?

A myth that persists:
Many really still believe that their problem is fat;
The opposite is the case.

It is one of the biggest nutritional errors of the last decades: the assumption that fat in food makes you fat. Numerous studies have shown that fat is important and healthy – if you eat the right kind. In recent decades, the food industry has brought more and more low-fat light products onto the market and sold them to consumers as healthy slimming products. No wonder, since the media and nutrition experts have been telling people for years that too much fat in food is unhealthy – and above all that it makes you fat.

On the other hand, it would be right to distinguish which fats are actually beneficial to health and which are not. In addition, one should also inform which fats are metabolised in what way and which then have to be regarded as fattening.
In general, a distinction is made between unsaturated and saturated fats, which used to be labelled “healthy” or “unhealthy” (a distinction that is now considered outdated). Humans need both types of fat every day for metabolic processes in the body. They are necessary for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, provide a natural feeling of satiety, are needed for the function of hormones and enzymes and reduce fluctuations in the blood sugar level.

Low-fat diets don’t work, but fat can help you lose weight.

The US author, doctor and professor of paediatrics, Aaron Carroll, also clarifies the fat myths in his new book “The Bad Food Bible”. He writes: “If there is one thing we know about fat, it is that eating fat does not cause weight gain. On the contrary, it can even help you shed a few kilos”.

He supports this statement with various study results. A large-scale women’s study with almost 50,000 participants over a period of eight years investigated whether a low-fat diet was healthier. Sixty percent of the women ate normally, while the other 40 percent significantly reduced the amount of fat in their diet. Instead of consuming 38 percent of calories from fat, they only consumed 20 percent.

After analysing the data, it was found that low-fat diets could neither reduce the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, nor contribute to weight reduction in the long term. Conversely, it can be said that fat does not negatively influence these factors either.

Not fat, but sugar makes you fat

An evaluation of over 50 nutrition studies published in the medical journal “Food and Nutrition Research” shows where the problem of weight gain actually lies. Only studies conducted from the year 2000 onwards were taken into account. When analysing the data, the researchers found that an increased consumption of dietary fibres and nuts hardly leads to weight gain, while a high meat consumption promotes weight gain. Similarly, evidence was found that whole grain products, oatmeal and fatty dairy products protect against weight gain. In addition, dietary fibre and fruits prevent weight gain around the waist.

On the other hand, a link has been found between heavy consumption of white flour products, sweets and desserts and weight gain coupled with a larger waistline. The problem is obviously not fat, but sugar and simple carbohydrates from white flour. According to the authors, increasing fibre-rich foods and dairy products and decreasing white flour, meat and sugar permanently protect against getting fat.

“In Germany, it is not too much fat that is eaten, but too many carbohydrates. Germany has become fatter and fatter under the increase in carbohydrates,” says nutrition expert Dr. Riedl. Sugar is the “king of fatteners“. And further: “It passes quickly into the blood and causes insulin levels to rise. High insulin levels, in turn, prevent fat loss.

Eat fat and stay slim?
Sounds paradoxical, but it’s not, as a new study suggests. According to the scientists, olive oil is the most filling food.

Of all things, the consumption of certain fats can apparently help against unwanted weight gain. The reason is the satiety effect – and this is particularly great with olive oil, as a study at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Vienna showed. Low-fat foods, on the other hand, do not necessarily help against excess pounds – because they do not keep you full for long.

The reason for the satiety effect in the case of oil was the flavouring substances, as the TUM announced. “We have proven that flavourings can regulate satiety,” explained Professor Peter Schieberle, who is also head of the German Research Institute for Food Chemistry. “We hope that the results will help to develop more effective low-fat foods with unchanged satiety effects in the future.”

Olive oil group did not gain weight

The working group led by Schieberle and Veronika Somoza from the University of Vienna had studied four edible fats: lard, milk fat, rapeseed oil and olive oil. For three months, the study participants consumed 500 grams of lean yoghurt enriched with one of the four fats daily – in addition to their normal diet.

“The olive oil had the greatest satiety effect,” said Schieberle. The olive oil group also did not gain weight – in their participants, the percentage of body fat and body weight remained constant. “The result was surprising because rapeseed and olive oil contain similar fatty acids.”

Ingredients affect blood sugar levels

Therefore, the scientists took aim at the flavours. Now one group received yoghurt with flavour extracts from olive oil and a control group received plain yoghurt. The olive oil group maintained their energy intake; the control group, on the other hand, consumed more calories.

The ingredients apparently had a direct effect on blood sugar levels. How long the feeling of satiety lasts depends, among other factors, in particular on the blood sugar level. The faster it drops, the sooner you feel hungry again. In the study, Italian olive oil was the most effective.

Thanks to the ingredients it contains, especially the monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil is more suitable than any other oil for sustainable weight loss. This is because oleic acid is readily metabolised by the body, is rarely stored, is stable and the oil as a whole, if consumed daily, could act like a metabolic turbo.

Experiences with this oil in terms of weight loss have been positive across the board!

Read also: How healthy is olive oil really?