While there are “good fats” out there, it should not be a surprise that a high-fat diet is not the best idea for anyone, especially when attempting to shed fat. Fat can assist the body for survival and for basic sustenance, however when it comes to sculpting the body fat simply has little room in a diet. This should not be confused as a condemnation of fat as a whole. Fat has its purpose, and in fact the human bodies require at least some fat to function properly and survive. When it comes to muscle building and fat melting, however, fat just does not make the cut.
As a basic principle of fat, it carries more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates. Protein is a heavier than fat as well, yet still contains more nutrients and positives than fat, while only containing four calories per gram. Carbohydrates carry around the same amount of calories as protein and are useful for the body as fuel to the organs and to cardiovascular exercises or activities. While types of fat can vary, every type contains the 9 calories per gram. Fats thus must be reduced in order to lose weight overall, and to promote a healthy body. Please remember that removing 100% of fat is not a recommended concept. Instead, simply reducing the intake is advised.
Fat has the lowest thermic effect of all foods. What is thermic effect? It is the amount of energy that must be expended in order to absorb and digest the food. When one eats protein, 30% of the calories are burned just to absorb and digest the food itself. Compare this to fats, which takes only 3% of the calories to digest it. What does this mean? In short, it means that you are forced to store more of the fats. This is why to counteract a high-fat diet one must stay much more active just to avoid weight gain. This is also why a high-protein diet mixed with quality activity is the best way to maintain muscle while losing body fat.
Though there are some “good fats” like those found in peanuts and soybeans, there are also “bad fats.” These bad fats are unfortunately found in almost every type of food that people tend to love, including sweets, treats, creams, and chocolates. Why these are considered bad fats is the link they have to so many health risks. Degenerative diseases are often linked to high-fat diets. Afflictions such as diabetes and even cancers can be linked to saturated and trans fats. The body simply cannot handle large quantities of these fats over long periods of time. And the fats tend to have no benefit to the body other than for general caloric energy, which is often only turned to fat anyway.
Effect on Insulin
Insulin is the mechanism that caries sugar into the muscles. Insulin does this as a way to store energy. Amino acids are also carried into the muscles for either the repair of damaged tissue or the growth of new muscle. What high-fat content does is obstruct the ability for the body to properly to insulin. Think of it almost as if the insulin is being locked out of the muscles and cannot deliver the appropriate energy necessary for proper health, growth, and capability. This becomes a two-fold problem because once this occurs due to a high-fat diet; the body’s blood sugar level naturally rises. Since the sugar has nowhere to go, it must stay within the blood. Now that it is in the bloodstream, the body will often release more insulin. This inevitably turns into higher levels of fat storage. Even worse, it can lead to early stages of diabetes.
Fat Turns to Fat
While this may sound like an obvious point, it is not simply because there are more calories in dietary fat. One of the main reasons dietary fat turns into stored fat is because the process is the easiest conversion. Compared to turning protein into fat, getting a gram of dietary fat and turning it into body fat is relatively a snap. Remember our thermic reaction discussion? The reason protein is at 30% is because it is so hard to convert, whether it is into fat or into used energy. Fat is easily utilized for both, and if you are sedentary, it likely means it is quickly and efficiently turned to fat.
Efficacy as Fuel
High fats are simply not a worthwhile source of energy when it comes to anaerobic workouts. In other words, high intensity workouts that rely on consistent and sustained quick-twitch muscles rely on something other than fat. Glycogen is the primary fuel. High-fat diets actually help in the diminishing of this necessary fuel. This is not to say that high fat is not a good source of fuel. If you are in a survival mode, perhaps on a trek through uncharted forest or across a dessert, then fats can be very useful as a source of fuel. This is due to their high calories and the fact that you are simply trying to hold onto as many calories as you can. And as stated above, fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates. However, when you are talking about muscle-growing, quick-twitch workouts, then fat simply will not due.
Not a Great Assistant
In general, fat simply does not assist the body in the muscle growth process. High-fat diets can actually be highly detrimental to muscle growth if mixed with low carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates must, like all items, be regulated as well; but having a high-fat diet with low carbohydrate intake causes the insulin response of your body to be out of wake. This will lead to your body hitting a sort of automatic survival mode due to the high blood sugar levels that are created. When this occurs, the body stores the fats far too readily and causes you to gain fat instead of shed it.