Fats contain 9kcals per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates contain almost half of that. Therefore, it is easier to gain weight from eating fats. However, even eating proteins and carbohydrates in excess of your caloric expenditure will cause weight gain.
2. Truth: Limiting fat is healthy.
For a diet to be healthy, the body needs a certain (and limited) amount of fat. Fats have many benefits; as they are necessary in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, while essential fatty acids (i.e. Omega 3s and 6s) create numerous healthy effects in the body, such as lower levels of cholesterol, protect against inflammation and prevent cardiovascular disease. These fatty acids are found in salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, soya nuts, and olive and canola oil. American dietary guidelines recommend that 30% of total calories come from fat, so in a 2000kcal diet this equals 67 grams of fat.
3. Myth: Food that has a lot of fat is also packed with cholesterol.
Foods that are high in fat are often low in cholesterol. Cholesterol is not found in vegetable fats, but in animal fats such as in eggs, beef and chicken. Cholesterol is important for maintaining intestinal health, but too much may increase blood cholesterol.
4. Myth: A low fat diet is always best.
Low-fat or fat-free products often contain more added sugar in order to compensate for the lost palatability, which can make these products equal or higher in caloric content than their original counterparts. Eating too much saturated and total fat in a diet can increase cholesterol and triglycerides, but so can eating too much added sugar and calories. Thus, in some cases, the original version might be the better choice, so always compare the caloric content, especially because fats provide satiety and very low fat diets make it difficult to achieve a feeling of fullness after a long time.
Nada Jawahery is the Registered Dietician at Royal Bahrain Hospital and is a member of, and licensed by, the American Dietetics Association. For more information call 17246832 or email: Nada.Jawahery@royalbhrn.com