To clear this confusion, the only way you’re going to get fat from eating any of these foods, is if you are consistently eating more calories than you’re using each day (if you are eating in a calorie surplus).
Eating carbs with meals won’t make you fat, unless you’re taking in too many calories total, and eating fat at meals won’t make you fat, unless you're taking in too many calories total. There are a few distinctions I am going to make that you need to be aware of... so please keep reading :)
Let's talk about carbohydrates first. What I want you to commit to memory is that all carbs are NOT created equal. The starchy complex carbs you get from a whole sweet potato is different than the simple, extracted, processed, and refined carbohydrate you get in a doughnut. The way the body utilizes the carbohydrate (and the hormonal responses that take place after eating each of these foods) is completely different, one having a better and more beneficial effect than the other.
The starchy, complex carbs from the potato the body loves to receive and thrive upon. The carbs you get from the doughnut are not beneficial because without all the fiber, water, vitamins and minerals (not to mention all the other unnatural ingredients) causes a cascade reaction to occur that, over time, can be detrimental to ones health. For example, you get a rapid rush of blood glucose after eating the doughnut (not good), where as compared the the potato you get a slower, more controlled blood glucose effect (which is what we want). Slow and controlled.
Yes, one may consider both sources of a carbohydrate, but the body does not utilize them the same. The entire "packaging" is different. The potato comes in natures packaging, the doughnut comes in completely unnatural packaging. Of course they will react differently in the body!
Fats are the same way, as in not all fats are created equal. Some are more beneficial than others. There are two main types of potentially harmful dietary fats: Saturated fat and trans fat. Today, we consume too many of these types of deadly fats. Most of the sources of fat we eat today are from vegetable oils, meat, and dairy products (and this is the wrong types we need). Healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, wild caught fish, these are good fats, but it is also easy to eat too many of these, intaking too many calories, and sabotaging weight loss.
The thing about a high carb diet vs a high fat diet, is that when you eat foods that are high in fat, it’s easier for the body to convert those into fat on the body. Carbohydrates however, are more easily stored as glycogen. Turning sugars into fats is a process called de novo lipogenesis. Cows and pigs are very good at this, but we as humans are inefficient at converting complex carbohydrates into fat.
Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of energy, and when you consume too many, as said before, the body stores them as glycogen. When you eat a diet low in carbohydrates, you lose those glycogen stores, and you lose water weight (for every gram of glycogen stored, the body retains 2-4g of water).
Eating a high fat- low carb diet then, such as keto, causes the body to lose mostly water weight, but what happens is you GAIN visceral fat. This visceral fat is associated with increased risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
There have even been studies showing that increasing more carbohydrate in the diet- compared to fats- causes one to end up losing more weight. I myself would fit this comparison. As I have reduced my intake of the fatty animal and dairy products, and added more starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, & beans, I have lost more weight, and kept it off (which is a huge accomplishment for me)!
Indeed if you eat a lot of junk food, or eat a lot of high fat and high calorie foods, on top of low amounts of nutrient-rich plant foods, it will be easier for you to gain fat and gain weight. Remember, the body is efficient at storing the fat you intake from food in your fat cells, but not so much with carbohydrates.
If fat loss is your goal, then eat less fatty foods, and increase intake of complex carbohydrates and starches, but when it comes to daily total calories, the key is to fill your plate with foods that are the least calorie dense (low in calories). If you do this, you can eat in abundance, without restriction or starvation, and feel full and satisfied without going over your daily calorie target.
So what are the lowest calorie density foods? Typically CARBOHYDRATE rich foods: fruits, vegetables. legumes, whole grains – plant based whole foods. If you start eating more whole foods and plant foods, you will find it almost IMPOSSIBLE to exceed your daily calories, and weight loss will come effortless to you.
~Fun fact~ The healthiest and longest living populations on the planet all have one thing in common- a diet high in fruits, vegetables, complex starches and carbohydrates. These are the Blue Zones, which are areas across the globe where people tend to live the longest and have the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Although food choices vary from region to region, the Blue Zone diets are primarily plant-based, with as much as 95% of daily food intake coming from vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. People in Blue Zones typically avoid meat and dairy, as well as excess sugary foods (not fruit) beverages and processed foods. The low carb dieting comes from diet culture, marketing schemes, and a misinformed confusion between the different types of carbs that exist.
So what is a good carb versus a "bad" carb (not as healthful carb)? Refined grains such as white bread, pastries, chips, high fructose corn syrup, pizza crust, and packaged snacks, etc., are the least healthful carbohydrates and should be avoided if improving your health or weight loss is a goal. During the refining process of these grains, they are stripped of their beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and phytochemicals. These foods are low in nutrient density as they have little or no nutritional value and supply a large amount of calories (and fat).
The healthiest sources of carbohydrates – unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, potatoes, rice, corn, fruits and beans, promote good health by suppling the most nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytochemicals (anti-disease fighting nutrients). The health benefits of complex carbs found in nature are very clear.
Understand that whole food carbohydrates are amazing fuel for you. For health, increased energy, optimal athletic performance and for weight loss.
So my friend, all in all, too much of either carbs or fat can lead to weight gain. Too much of anything can be harmful. There are better health promoting sources of both carbs and fats. But both carbohydrates and fats are essential. I recommend eating plenty of whole food starches and complex carbohydrates, and having some healthy fats. Balance in the diet is very important!
If you'd like to know more about my holistic weight loss methods, please check out my 12 step transformation program. You will get everything you need to know for lasting weight loss and optimal health. You won't have to worry about which foods you should be eating (or not eating). You get all of my weight loss meal plans + recipes + grocery lists, also my workout guides, and my mindset and meditation guides.
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That's all for today, much love. XOXO