Fat Does Not Make You Fat

The modern American diet continues to obsess about “low-fat” and “low-calorie” foods.  The immediate connotation of fat and calories is obesity.  But what these words really mean (fats = lipids and calories = energy) is far different from their perception.

Despite multiple studies disproving the myth that low fat foods cause weight loss, I continue to see “low fat,” “low calorie,” and “lite” food products in stores, on menus, and in my friends’ refrigerators.  These foods are not only unhealthy, but may end up making you more fat when you consume them.

As Dr. Andrew Weil explains in this 7 minute video, dietary fat does not make you fat.

The key to nutrition, as true with most things in life, is BALANCE.

Basic Nutrition

We eat food for the energy it gives us, as well as the nutrients (vitamins and minerals).  The components of food can be separated into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.  Macronutrients are essential nutrients your body needs daily in large doses.  Micronutrients are chemical compounds needed in small doses, and include vitamins and minerals that the body cannot synthesize, and must obtain from diet.


There are only three macronutrients: Carbs, proteins, and fat.  They are all 3 necessary and vital. The main problem with the low-fat diet is that it if you reduce any one of the above nutrients, you are increasing the others.  While none of the 3 macronutrients is “bad” per se, eating an extremely high carb or high protein diet is just as unhealthy as a high fat diet.

Light sour cream halves the fat, but doubles the carbs and protein.

If you are eating fat free or “lite” foods, you are consuming a high carb or high protein diet.  Does this sound like a good idea?

1. Carbohydrates

While carbs are one of the three macronutrients, and therefore essential, eating a high carb diet can lead to obesity.  Examples of high carb foods include breads and grains, pasta, cereals, beer, beans, legumes, milk, and sugar.  Do these sound like foods that will make you lose weight?

High carb foods (white bread, potatoes,  pasta, candy bar) often have high glycemic (sugar) indexes.  What do high sugar foods do in the body?  Convert to body fat.

In fact, cutting carbs is one proven method of reducing weight, as the body first burns carbs, and then fat, for energy, and if carbs are in short supply, it will burn body fat for energy more rapidly.

If you are eating fat-free (think lipid-free) foods, you are very likely eating more carbs, which will make you more fat.

2. Protein

While protein, like fats and carbs, is essential, and increasing protein consumption is helpful in weight training, a high protein diet is linked to kidney and heart problems, can lead to weight gain, and foods high in proteins (dairy, eggs, meats and nuts) have insufficient fiber which can cause digestive and endocrine problems.  Fats/lipids, carbs, and protein are all part of a healthy diet.

3. Fats / Lipids

Dietary fat (lipids) is different from body fat.  Lipids contain twice the energy content of proteins or carbs.  We eat food primarily for its energy content, and lipids deliver.  Lipids are essential for cell membrane fluidity and immune system function, and are necessary for hormone receptors (think testosterone!)

Many scientists posit that inflammation is a major source of illness today, and lipids have strong anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

High Fat Can Be Healthy

Lipids from unprocessed foods like dairy, avocado, cheese, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, and coconut oil are healthy.  Lipids from processed foods such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils/margarine, fast food, deep fried food, desserts and candies are not healthy.

Ketogenic Diet

While I’m skeptical of most fad diets (they typically consist of artificially lowering one of the 3 macronutrients), the ketogenic diet is one that makes a lot of sense.  WebMD lists benefits of a high fat, low carb ketogenic diet as weight loss, lower blood sugar, possible anti-cancer benefits, lower heart disease, less acne, less diabetes and epilepsy, and very mild side effects or risks.

Taste and Satiation

Beyond the nutritional reasons to avoid low-fat foods, there is the matter of taste and satiation.  If taste didn’t matter, we could just consume multivitamins and protein powders and kale every day, but who wants to do that?  Fat is one of the major components in taste.  Why does T-bone taste much better than brisket?  It has roughly double the fat.

But beyond merely tasting good, fat leads to satiety, or meeting the desire of hunger.  When we are no longer hungry, we stop eating.  Fat has been proven to increase satiation and thus reduce overall food consumption.  When you are full off a steak or even an avocado sandwich, you won’t feel the need to continue eating.

Fat Free Means High Sugar

If you take a food and remove its fat, you lose most of the flavor profile.  In other words, the food now tastes like crap.  So what do fat-free food manufacturers do?  Improve the flavor with added carbs and sugars.

Not only is consuming excess sugar very bad for you, and will lead to weight gain, but it has the opposite effect on satiety, particularly in sugar-free fat-free foods, which are the worst.  Artificial sweeteners are chemical compounds with no calories.  When you eat something sweet, your body expects calories to follow (and sweets are high in calories).  But when no calories come, your body is confused and will crave more and more food throughout the day.

Fat free has over 5 TIMES the carbs and sugar

What To Do?

While science tends to support a well balanced diet, and has published guidelines for proper proportions of the three macronutrients, fads and recommendations come and go.  The simple answer is what my grandmother told me: eat REAL food.

Eat a proper balance of natural, unprocessed whole foods, exercise, and you, like the generations of those living in the blue zones, will be healthy. Foods like milk and meats are naturally high in fats, and artificially removing those fats destroys the nutritional value of the food.  Instead of consuming frankenfoods, limit the foods you eat in each group, and have diversity in your diet.

Read More: Why You Should Consider Planting A Garden

43 thoughts on “Fat Does Not Make You Fat”

  1. Balance, moderation, and activity. It’s just that people believe that they deserve 5k calories when all they do is sit at home, go to a desk job and be stressed out.
    A good rule is you should eat what you deserve, in accordance with what you’ve done for the day.
    It’s not rocket science.

    1. Go one level deeper. WHY are people with sedentary lifestyles eating so much ?
      WHY are they so hungry ?
      The classic answer to obesity is “you eat too much” (which is true) but no one asks WHY do people eat so much?
      They eat so much BECAUSE they’ve been tricked into this low fat diet that NEVER MAKES THEM FEEL FULL. Instead of eating a reasonable portion of fat, they eat carbs which mess up insulin then leptin levels. Which makes them MORE hungry.
      Basically; the “low fat” diet is to blame for overeating.

        1. @ogr…,
          Same thing !? In what way !?
          I am a Hindustani and I don’t think your kind of guys will get out of the inferiority complex & GRUDGE against us! Probably never!
          PS: Do not think that I (or any sensible Hindustani) will take (what you said) it as an insult. I never felt a black/african person is somehow lower or inferior to me.

      1. Ah, a Beta Male eh. Two of the reasons why I frequent this website is for its creative content and its indoctrination of a certain group of people who for all intents and purposes, have all of the advantages in the world but yet still find a way to complain about the this world.
        Simply, if you are of Aryan decent and are NOT successful you are either lazy or you are mentally challenged. There is simply no excuse to blame the Mexicans for taking your job opportunities away or people of color for taking your women away. The average Chicano has limited job opportunities and your average American of African decent has a very limited number of number of Caucasian Women interested in him because he does not have Dominion over this World, control her Wealth or possess her Weaponry.
        Now get off the World Wide Web and make something of yourself Harley. If you have a criminal record, no problem, you’ll get plenty of chances to redeem yourself. If you’re job is low paying, worry not, you’ll be promoted soon over the minorities that were hired many years before you. If you do something wrong while on the clock and you are written up by a Supervisor or Manager who does not share your Anglo origins, keep on doing your job, because all will be forgiven.

    1. Straight up click bait. Just a bunch of jersey shore types doing nothing of consequence.
      Don’t reward this shameless self promotion…

    2. LOL, things aren’t going as well as you think there, Justin. You’re a legend in your own mind.

  2. The keto diet is pretty awesome. I went off to remember what carbs feel like. They make me feel heavy. Glad modern science is starting to catch up with

  3. Cholesterol is also an essential nutrient.
    Low cholesterol = low testosterone. Testosterone is 95% cholesterol by weight.
    Low cholesterol = Alzheimer’s. The brain is 75% cholesterol.

  4. Weil is a fat slob who is not the person who should be talking about what gets you fat. Walking, hydration, staying away from fried foods except for rare instances will help a ton. Clean carbs are awesome. Cupcakes and chips are not food. They are bullshit.

  5. It’s not that simple. Fat might not make you fat. Because if your metabolism is slow, fat will slow it even more so and depending on some other factors might make you fat.

  6. That’s right Big D. All the hormones in the human body are made from cholesterol which comes from fat.

  7. Sadly, articles like this help Big Pharma make more money. I’m not going into details, most RoK readers don’t like to hear the truth about nutrition.

    1. Your nickname is cringe—> check
      Article is against mainstream food corporations–>check
      Have fum with man tits…….vegan soyboy.

  8. Thanks, Mr Roscoe. FINALLY finally finally, a nutrition article on RoK worth a shit.

    1. How not to get FAT. What you eat and mainly HOW MUCH. All FAT and Obesity problems can be solved INSTANTLY by learning to control this one thing FIRST.
      Eat less, eat raw and whole made from scratch foods. Avoid sugars and carbs save those in fruits and veggies. Avoid manufactured and processed foods. Too easy.
      Look at Fat obese f**kers, look at what they eat and MAINLY how much. CASE CLOSED. PERIOD. And don’t shovel the heaping bullshit of “muh metabolism” at me either. you metabolism ain’t shit when you shovel garbage at it. it is a lazy lame cop out for having NO CONTROL over the shoveling of garbage into your mouths.
      Fact is I give less than f**k who argues with me. Fat f**kers will remain fat regardless because they have no self control. Eat yourself into the grave I give less than damn, but I will never change my language or be sympathetic to them either. FAT is because of ONE thing…AN OPEN MOUTH AND TOO MUCH INPUT AND NO SELF CONTROL. FACT. Fat shaming works.

      1. The funny thing about (some) fats is that while they are calorically dense, they actually keep you full for a LOOOONNNG TIME.
        Sometimes I eat 6oz of steak and 5 eggs, cooked with a tbsp of Kerrygold butter, at 10am and feel stuffed full with zero urge to snack until it’s dinner time.
        Eating stuff high in sugar triggers the insulin response, and when that crashes an hour or so later you’ll get crazy hungry. Yes, this even happens with sucralose, stevia, and other fake sugars.

        1. Your insulin is supposed to spike when you eat. That’s how it works. Having no insulin spike when you eat food is called diabetes.

        2. Insulin is a signal telling cells, muscles, and as a last resort fat cells to drain excess blood sugar. This can be triggered to spiking with low blood sugar tiredness/hunger, and eventually Insulin resistance and Insulin poisoning, if abused by fast carbs, especially grain products!
          We wouldn’t release much if any insulin if we eat a natural Paleo Human diet, with little fruit.

      2. We must drop the unnatural modern convention of multiple meals spread widely across a day, instead strict fast for 16 hours every day with 1 or more meals in the remaining time, so that our bodies have ample empty stomach time to clear-out waste, do repairs, and allow much cleaner Keto energy production from fat to occur, including from body fat. I’m doing this, eat a lot less in total, and I don’t feel hungry most of the time, but am still regular.
        Fats are the cleanest and most efficient energy source for cells, short chain fats being the easiest. Sugars are a dirty opportunist energy source for cells, which needs anti-oxidants to clean up the significant free radical waste, with some inevitable damage. So prefer fats to carbs. for energy, with the bonus that it will be easier to trigger body fat consumption.
        We should cut most grains and dairy (no Lactose or Casein), and be eating greens/salad for proteins and nutrients, raw/cooked starchy foods, including tubers/roots, rich in resistant-starch for gut bacteria production of premium short-chain-fat energy, and some wild sea food for proteins and nutrients, with limited pastured land-meat (no Chicken), with limited whole seasonal fruit, for nutrients and fibre, with little or no sugary fruit, especially avoiding Yellow Bananas, Melons, and sweeter citrus like Mandarins, Oranges and Grapefruit etc.
        We shouldn’t eat significant protein like carnivores, because the hot inefficiency of protein digestion is a major reason why land mammal carnivores rest most of the time and have shorter lives.

  9. What one thing you will see EVERY SINGLE OBESE person drinking( and in some cases drinking CASES of it especially “diet”(sic)?
    Soda, of all types and flavors. Liquid sugar, or liquid fake sugar poisons.
    No scientific studies need to be done but so use simple observable anecdotal evidence.

    1. Since the early 2000’s, many obese people are drinking 2 or 3 Monster energy drinks a day. In the 1990’s, coke was very popular but the obesity rate was still much lower then it is today. Its a lot of things…People that see their buddies are obese, will think its ok to be big!
      There was a time when you really had to drive to go to McDonalds. It wasn’t always one on every block. Today, these GMO junkshops are peoples breakfast and lunch almost everyday. When you can fill your face at the dollar menu for around $5-$7 bucks instead of buying a $12-15 expensive sub or sandwich somewhere, its cheap and saves you money.

  10. Solid advice and data — well done, Max Roscoe. There’s been a helpful “myth-busting” pattern in ROK’s health/nutrition articles lately. Seems the one thing we’ve all been fed is a steady diet of of bullshit by the media, government and fad-diet marketers.

  11. You have to distinguish between polyunsaturated fats, and saturated/mono-unsaturated fats. Dairy fat, coconut oil, and olive oil are fairly harmless sources of calories, but most other vegetable oils will accumulate in your tissues over time and age you. You probably don’t want to eat too much avocado. You want to avoid anything with canola or soy oil in it, which is basically everything at restaurants and everything prepackaged.
    In contrast the noise about avoiding carbs and sugar is pure idiocy. There is no reason to avoid sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.
    Anyway, fat kind of does make you fat because it’s very difficult to eat to caloric excess if you deliberately keep fat low. Low fat diets are effective. It’s the combination of carbs and fat that allow you to put down a delicious 2000 calorie serving of carbonara or ice cream, or whatever. Try drinking a pint of plain cream or a huge plate of dry spaghetti.

  12. This article is actually completely wrong. Carbohydrates are not a required macro-nutrient. Our body makes its on glucose. While eating pretty much anything will carry some carbohydrate, they are not at all required for any type of survival. Do some proper research before making blanket claims.

  13. Bobbybobbob–try going on a ketogenic diet. I have been doing so for the past six weeks or so. Ive already lost 20 pounds, and I did not incorporate additional exercise, nor am I starving myself. Ketosis works! Also, from what I have gathered, carbohydrates are NOT required for the human body, and if your body needs glucose for some function, it will convert proteins into glucose. Also about insulin–this spikes in response to sugar/carbs/too much protein. The insulin causes the glucose to exit the blood stream and be stored in tissue. On a ketogenic diet, your insulin levels remain very low and stable. This not only makes you feel better and helps out your pamcreas, but it can *possibly* heal type 2 diabetes…

    1. Ketogenic diets are retarded. Being in a state of ketosis means definitionally elevated cortisol and adrenaline. You are stressing your body and increasing risk of cancer and so forth. Your body truly does prefer to run on glucose.
      The way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. I have never been fat so I don’t need to “try a ketogenic diet.” I know enough physiology to realize it’s a horrible idea that will damage you.

  14. Bobbybobbob– I do not know about the adrenaline and cortisol levels. I will dispute the elevated cancer risk. Cancerous cells are only able to use sugar/glucose to survive. They cannot use ketones to produce energy. This is why good/educated/naturopath doctors will prescribe a ketogenic/Atkins/low carb diet to patients with cancer. The cancer cells will starve to death without glucose! This was proven in the 1930s by Dr. Otto Warburg. He won a nobel prize for this!
    Also, I have never been obese either, but I lost a lot of flab–and I look and feel a lot better!

  15. Wrong! Carbohydrates are NOT ESSENTIAL, because the body can synthesize them, if needed (gluconeogenesis).
    You can live without any carbohydrate intake.
    BUT you can’t live without protein. The Greek word ‘proteos’ means ‘first’ or ‘most important’. This is for a reason.
    RAISE your protein intake, but also lower your sugar/carb intake. Alzheimers disease e.g. is said to stem from plaques in the brain, which are made of sugar and protein and ‘free radicals’ (stress), so it seems logical to reduce carb intake because the body converts carbs into sugar.
    Now, regarding getting fat. The body has two sources of energy: Carbs and fat. Carbs are easier to digest and create energy. Whenever you offer both tothe body (e.g. salami pizza), the body burns the carbs and stores the fat. The fat-burning mechanism does not happen. Carbs stop fat-burning!
    To burn fat – quit carbs! Eat meat, vegetable, salads, vitamins, minerals and potein shakes. That’s at least my knowledge.

  16. When I first met my current doctor, I told him about my lifestyle – lifting, martial arts, bulking/shredding diets…
    And broke down my processes of spiking insulin and glycemic level during bulk (heavy carb load) and then Ketogenic during shred; he was impressed I knew about good fats/bad processed fats. And what is wholesome to eat or not (avoid nitrates, soy, etc)
    Further, it enforced my habits. I only cook with butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, or Lardo from Berkshire heritage stock.

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