It’s the New Year and the newspapers and magazines are full of the latest weight loss diets. The sugar detox diet and the 5:2 diet are making the headlines again this year but the one that caught my eye was the Eat Fat Lose Fat diet.
The idea that eating fat will help you detox and lose weight seems to go against the grain doesn’t it?
For years we’ve been told that fat is the enemy and that we have to eat low fat foods to lose weight and prevent heart disease but low fat diets have been a complete disaster.
Ever since people have been avoiding saturated fats and eating low-fat foods obesity rates and the overall incidence of heart disease have continued to climb so that has not been the answer.
Jeff Volek, professor of human sciences at Ohio State University said recently “There is widespread misunderstanding about saturated fat. In population studies, there’s clearly no association of dietary saturated fat and heart disease, yet dietary guidelines continue to advocate restriction of saturated fat. That’s not scientific and not smart.”
Doctors are now coming round to the idea that it’s carbohydrates like sugar and refined grains and damaged fats that are causing the problem and that if you eat healthy fat and restrict carbs you will lose weight.
Insulin the fat storage hormone
Carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin which is essentially a fat storage hormone. When you eat carbohydrates they get broken down by digestion to glucose which is absorbed into your blood stream triggering insulin to be released.
The hormone drives the glucose into your cells where it can be used to produce energy. If it cannot all be used at the time some is turned into glycogen and stored in muscle cells and your liver. It can be turned back into glucose and used later if needed.
Your muscles and liver can only store so much glycogen so if you are constantly eating more carbohydrates that you can use for energy the glucose gets turned into fat and stored in fat cells instead. This is how you get fat and develop a fatty liver.
The interesting thing is that fat does not trigger insulin so if you eat a diet high in natural fat and and low in carbohydrates you are in effect removing your body’s normal source of fuel. It can cleverly switch to burning fat instead.
Eating fat and protein actually keeps you from feeling hungry so the diet is easy to stick to. With little glucose entering your blood stream you don’t get the sugar highs and lows that make you hungry.
The fat you eat on the Eat Fat Lose Fat diet is healthy fat that no doctor or dietician can argue against. We’re talking avocados, walnuts, oily fish, coconut oil and olive oil. What’s not to like about those foods?
Researchers have found that it is the polyunsaturated vegetable oils, not the saturated fats in coconut oil and animal foods, that contributes to changes in the cells lining the arteries, leading to heart disease.
The effect of the healthy fats combined with moderate healthy protein and low carbohydrate vegetables forces your body to metabolize fat to use as fuel and help you quickly achieve your ideal weight.
Notice that I said MODERATE protein. Protein can also stimulate the release of insulin but not in the same way as carbohydrates do so too much protein could ruin the fat burning effect.
Long term the Eat Fat Lose Fat way of eating has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol, blood glucose and triglyceride levels in overweight people.
What you can eat on the plan:
Fresh green low carb vegetables (see list below)
Berries (high sugar fruits are excluded)
Nuts, in small amounts (macadamias, walnuts and almonds are the best)
Seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds, flax seeds
Oily fish (wild caught)
Grass fed (pasture fed) meat in moderation
Chicken, Duck, Turkey (free range & organic if possible)
Healthy oils & fats like hemp, olive, coconut, organic butter & cream, omega 3 and krill oil
Full fat cheese
Greek yogurt, plain, full fat.
This is essentially a detox diet. It excludes harmful fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed & refined foods and alcohol. Unlike some it includes meat. The liver uses amino acids in Phase 2 detox and some detox experts believe that it’s best to eat animal protein to supply them.
No doctor or dietician can say that this detox diet is restrictive, leaves you starving or will slow your metabolism. There are plenty of foods to eat that will satisfy your appetite and you will metabolise stored fats. Nothing wrong with that!
Once toxins are processed by the liver they get incorporated into bile that is made by the liver. The bile is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder and is only released when the gallbladder contracts in response to fat. So, eating a lot of fat helps with detoxification.
People who eat low fat diets run the risk of developing gallstones as the bile stagnates and forms a sludge that eventually turns into gall stones.
Just like a detox diet harmful fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed & refined foods and alcohol are excluded.
What are low carb veg?
Included in the the list of low carb veg are the cruciferous vegetables that contain substances that boost the detox pathways.
Cabbage, green & white
Green leaves like kale, chard, spring greens, lettuce
Eggplant ( aubergine)
High sugar fruits to exclude
Fruits are much higher in carbohydrates than low-carb veggies so should be restricted.
Tea & coffee are allowed but limit it to two cups a day. Milk is not allowed but you can have cream in your coffee. Don’t forget to drink plenty of pure water. You can blend some green leaves with berries to make a smoothie too.
If you have been on a low fat diet it’s best to increase your fats slowly. Your liver may rebel if you suddenly start eating a lot of fats and you could feel a bit quesy. Also, you may lack energy for a few days as your body switches to burning fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel.
You didn’t think you were going to get away with no exercise did you? Although you will lose weight on the Eat Fat Lose Fat diet it works best if you combine it with some high intensity exercise.
If you are not used to doing any exercise you can start off with 20 – 30 minutes of easy exercise like walking or swimming three times a week. Resistance training will help to improve your lean muscle mass.
Nutritionist and personal trainer Zana Morris shares her weight loss methods in her book The High Fat Diet: How to Lose 10 Lb in 14 Days.
So what do you think of the Eat Fat Lose Fat detox diet plan? Is this something you feel you could do? Let me know in the comments below.
Salmon, Eggs & Oil Image by Noeliane