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All You Need To Know About Fat

October 29th, 2014 | by Events Staff
All You Need To Know About Fat

Fat has an unfortunate reputation. It is all too easy to believe that eating fat makes a person fat. Indeed, for many years most diet experts believed that it did, and many do even today despite compelling evidence that eating a fairly high-fat diet is no more likely to cause overweight than eating a high-carbohydrate or high-protein diet.

For example, in a 2002 review called “The Influence of Dietary Composition on Energy Intake and Body Weight,” Roberts et al. noted the following:

– Fat calories as a percentage of total calories in the American diet had fallen over the preceding 20 years while overweight and obesity rates had increased drastically

– Studies designed to determine whether people eat more calories when they eat more fat have generally concluded that they do so only when the energy density of foods is not controlled, suggesting that energy-dense foods rather than fat are the cause of weight gain

– Studies investigating the effects of reduced fat intake on weight loss have shown that reduced fat intake results in very little weight loss when calories are not controlled, suggesting that it is an excess of calories in general rather than of fat in particular that causes weight gain.

The anti-fat doctrine that prevailed for so long in society also prevailed in sports. Generations of endurance athletes, in particular, were schooled to aim for a 60-percent carbohydrate, 20-percent protein, 20-percent fat macronutrient breakdown in their diet. That’s a low-fat diet for sure, since the average American gets 34 percent of his or her calories from fat. While the carbohydrate piece of this formula stood on reasonably sure scientific footing (although it has been modified recently into a recommendation that carbohydrate calories as a fraction of total calories should vary with training volume), the fat piece never had any scientific support. In fact, much of the relevant science indicated that more fat was better.

For example, a study from the University of Buffalo found that female runners who got 30 percent of their calories from fat were significantly less likely to get injured than those who ate less fat. It is not likely that the extra fat itself protected the less-often-injured runners, however. Rather, those who ate the least fat probably did not get enough total calories to meet their bodies’ needs.

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