Many often associate the word diet with food restriction and cutting out foods considered bad for you, like high fat foods. The high fat diet may change your mind on that. There are only a few diets on the market that aim to focus on the consumption of one food group and smaller amounts of others, which seem to be popular and easier to maintain, like the high fat diet.
Fat is not only an essential food group but is a food source that provides a lot of energy and benefits the body in many ways. Just one gram of fat provides the body with 37 kilojoules of energy, compared to 17 kilojoules per gram of carbohydrate.
Today, we will tell you all about the high fat diet and discuss how the word fat does not need to be banned from diets. In fact, this diet encourages you to eat more fat, and we will be telling you why and how it works in this definitive beginners guide:
- What is a High Fat Diet?
- History of High Fat Diets
- How a High Fat Diet works
- What to eat on an high fat diet?
- Who benefits from a High Fat Diet?
- Side Effects and Risk Factors
- Why some people do not lose weight on High Fat Diets
- Tips to achieve the best results of a High Fat Diet
What is a High Fat Diet?
A high fat diet is where you consume most of your daily calorie intake from fats. This includes healthy fats such as meats, fish, seeds and oils. Fats are flavourful and filling and this means most of your food intake will be high in fat foods for this diet. Just because this is a diet, that does not mean you will need to restrict foods full of fat.
In fact, full fat foods are welcomed on this diet. Fat-free alternatives are not what this diet promotes, seeing as you need as much healthy fats as you can get. Fat rich foods include yoghurts, avocados, fatty fish and more, which can be eaten daily in every meal if you wish.
In this diet, eating the more lean and healthy fats, the better. Do not shy away from full fat dairy products or high fat lean meats and fish, they are more than welcome. People often think the word diet means a cut down on food, but this diet is the opposite.
A Western diet, which most of us know very well, is the complete opposite to a high fat diet. These diets include high carbohydrate intake with little fat. People associate fat with being fatty foods and gaining weight. However, eating the right fats, which are healthy, can actually help you lose weight. If you wonder why this diet is so popular and where it came from, here is a little bit about its history:
History of High Fat Diets
During the late 1960’s when diets really escalated and became popular, the low fat diet was the biggest trend. It was an ideology that started in America and quickly took over the world as being effective, especially amongst women. Although low fat diets do show success, that should not dismiss the success of high fat diets.
For years, most diets have recommended to reduce calorie intake and increase energy expenditure and avoid foods like those high in saturated fats. These diets saw a negative impact due to the increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) because dieters would consume more carbohydrates and sugar, as an alternative to fats. Research suggests that the increase of carbohydrates from these low fat diets has made obesity levels in America grow exponentially. Now, high fat diets have seen light and have earned great respect in the diet industry.
The most popular high fat diet is known as LCHF and originated in Sweden. It stands for low carbohydrate and high fat, which is simply eating minimal carbs and more healthy fats. A study by Swedish GP, Dr Annika Dahlqvist, investigated a diet that is suitable for low insulin requirement conditions, like type 2 diabetes. Once it was tested and proved to be successful, it was promoted as a diet for those who want to lose weight to.
Let’s look at the ins and outs on how a high fat diet actually works:
How a High Fat Diet works
Your body has two main fuel sources to create energy. Your body can burn both carbohydrates and fats. Glucose fuel comes from carbohydrates whereas fat fuel comes from dietary fats or stored body fat. If your diet has an equal mix of carbohydrates and fats, your body will burn both. Naturally, your body finds glucose fuel to burn before it does fat.
However, if you have a high fat diet your body will burn mostly fat as that makes up most of your diet. Once your body is used to burning fat fuel, the high fat diet will be effective in burning fat fuel quickly which benefits those looking to lose weight.
Burning fat is more beneficial for weight loss as opposed to burning glucose. This is because a high fat diet provides you with more sustainable energy, can make you feel fuller for longer and helps maintain blood and insulin levels.
High carbohydrate diets are not effective as an energy source and can increase your blood and insulin levels, which can cause type 2 diabetes and other health concerns. A high carbohydrate diet will also not be beneficial if you are looking to lose weight as your body will only burn glucose and not fat. A high fat diet will help your body burn both glucose and fat.
Therefore, a high fat diet is a good solution for those who want to lose weight and reduce their carbohydrate and sugar intake.
Now you know how it works to provide health and diet benefits, let’s discuss how to set yourself up to have a high fat diet. It’s all about food intake and knowing what foods you can and can’t eat, such as:
What to eat on an high fat diet?
Knowing what to eat is the best way to begin a high fat diet. It is unlike most diets as it encourages you to consume fat instead of swap it for something else. A high fat diet is low is every other nutrient that is not good for a diet. Therefore, eating these foods will benefit you as you will consume fat but not much carbohydrates or sugars. They are all foods that are easily integratable into everyday dishes and many serve as snacks too.
1 – Avocados
Avocado may be confused with a vegetable, but it is in fact a fruit. Whilst most fruits are loaded with carbohydrates, avocados are different as they are loaded with fats. They contain around 77% fats and are higher in fat than many animal products. The fat that makes up most of its fat content is the same as what is in olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.
One normal size avocado contains around 23 grams of this monounsaturated fat and is a healthy fat to consume in moderation. Avocados also contain 40% of your daily fiber intake. For a small fruit, they are super flavoursome, filling and high in all the dietary nutrients you need.
This fruit is also very versatile as you can add avocados to most meals. Add it to your morning eggs, lunchtime salad or mexican dinner.
2 – Cheese
Cheese is commonly thought of as a food to avoid when you are on a diet, but some are highly respected in the high fat diet. Full fat cheeses like Parmesan cheese is considered to be beneficial to this type of diet due to its high fat content. Per ounce, parmesan cheese contains 8 grams of fat whilst providing one third or more of your daily calcium needs.
Whilst being a great source of fat and calcium, full fat cheeses are high in protein. Some, like parmesan, are higher in protein than some meats and eggs.
3 – Fatty Fish
Oily fishes like salmon and tuna are high in good fats and are highly recommended for a high fat diet. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids which are a key essential to the polyunsaturated fat family. Not only are they a great source of fat, studies show that fatty fish can prevent heart disease and stroke and other conditions.
There is around 4 grams of fat per 100 grams of salmon. It is recommended to have two or more portions of fatty fish per week to get a good amount of fat into your diet.
4 – Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has quickly become popular in many diets due to its high fiber and antioxidant benefits. In this case, dark chocolate is effective here as it is also high in fat. Around 65% of its content is made up of fat. Whilst half of its fat content is saturated, it contains many healthy fats and many nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, B and E and flavonoids.
As well as being a good source of fat, its antioxidant content is also beneficial for weight loss diets and can help those at risk of high cholesterol. Its antioxidant power can lower blood pressure and LDL. Studies show that those who eat dark chocolate five or more times a week are at half the risk of getting heart disease. It has many benefits and it is a good sweet alternative for those looking to curb cravings.
5 – Sunflower Seeds
These tiny seeds from sunflower are packed full of nutritious benefits. One serving of a quarter cup contains about 15 grams of unsaturated fat. They are a great snack or food topping that can be enjoyed with many meals. They also provide 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
They are full of good fats but be careful not to eat too many in one day. A small handful on top of your meals or as a snack is enough.
6 – Tofu
Tofu is a solid plant based protein packed full of goodness. It is made from soybeans, making it low in sodium but is still a good source of calcium. As it is plant based many assume the calcium content would be small, but in fact soybeans are a great source of calcium for vegans or non-dairy.
It’s not as high in fat as other foods, but it is the best alternative to meat if you are looking for a solid substance. A three ounce portion contains around 6 grams of fat. The more firm the tofu is, the more fat it is likely to contain.
7 – Whole Eggs
Likewise, eggs are a great meat alternative for vegetarians. They are an affordable source of protein, which most people know them for. People forget and dismiss the other great nutrients eggs hold.
The key here is to eat the whole egg, not just the egg white. Many diets recommend eating just the egg white as it contains the least amount of fat. However, a high fat diet recommends eating the whole egg, with the yolk. A yolk contains only a small amount of fat, and it’s good fat, so the egg white story seems to be somewhat a myth.
One whole egg contains 5 grams of fat and it is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. They are full of vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants and so much more. Research suggests that whole eggs are one of the most friendly weight loss foods due to their nutrient content, energy balance, and protein intake which makes you feel fuller for longer.
8 – Nuts
Some see nuts as being a bad source of fat, but that is completely untrue. Nuts are incredibly healthy and provide your body with good fats, energy, protein and fiber. The most nutritious nuts to consume are almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts and cashews. Not all nuts are highly nutritious, especially those with added flavourings. So always make sure you are eating the natural nut to gain the most benefits.
Do not shy away from eating nuts when you are on a diet. Studies have shown that regular consumption of nuts can lower the risk of weight concerned diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
9 – Edamame
Another soybean product had to be mentioned as it seems to be a rising star in the health industry. We spoke about tofu coming from soybeans and now let’s discuss edamame, the natural version of a soybean. That’s right, tofu comes from soybean plants, which is edamame.
Edamame is packed full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are very much welcomed in a high fat diet. These can be eaten as a snack or as a food topping. They are highly nutritious, filling and flavoursome.
10 – Chia Seeds
Another tiny seed that is highly powerful are chia seeds. For their size, they contain a super amount of fats. Per 28 grams chia seeds contains around 9 grams of fat. Whilst some of its content is made up of the fiber, the rest is all healthy fats. In fact, chia seeds are around 80% fat, making them one of the most fat dense foods out there.
The fat content is mostly made up of ALA, which is a great heart-healthy omega-3 fat. These seeds are also packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Add them to your oats, smoothies or salads for a nutritious delivery of healthy fat.
11 – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This oil is a very popular part of the Meditterarn diet and research shows it has amazing health benefits. Most agree that extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat and indeed it is. Out of all the other healthy fats and oils, this is the most nutritious and holds the most health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil is packed full with vitamins and antioxidants which are beneficial for lowering the risk of heart disease, LDL and blood pressure. You can use this as an easy alternative to other oils you use.
12 – Full-Fat Dairy
Most dairy products that are fat free won’t be beneficial for this diet. Whilst 8 grams of full fat milk contains 8 grams of fat, semi skimmed milk has none. Fat is an essential soluble which can help absorb nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Similarly, the low fat dairy alternatives are actually high in other nutrients which are not good for your body or a diet. Low fat alternatives typically have a much higher sugar and carbohydrate content. Ensuring you opt for the full fat version will provide many benefits and is a great food source for the high fat diet.
Full fat yoghurt has shown the most effective results when it comes to full fat dairy products. It is much lower in sugar and saturated fat, which makes it a good dairy product to consume in bigger portions. Also, you can easily add full fat yoghurt to many dishes making it easy to consume daily. Add it to your smoothies, breakfast, salads or curries.
13 – Coconuts
Coconuts are the most saturated fat source on the planet. Either eating them, drinking them or using them as an oil holds great benefits for you and also for a high fat diet. Around 90% of the fats inside a coconut is saturated fat and is unlike any other fat out there.
Coconuts are made up of medium-chain fats which are easily metabolised fatty acids, which are great for suppressing appetite and boost your metabolism. Studies show that coconuts can boost your metabolism by up to 120 per day.
As it is made up of mostly saturated fat, it is important to consume this type of fat in moderation but can be consumed everyday.
Who benefits from a High Fat Diet?
Everyone can benefit from a high fat disease that is fit and healthy. For the first few weeks of the diet, it may seem like a big diet change. The body will need time to adjust to the new diet, as it would with any diet.
When you begin your high fat diet, you may be used to bland foods that are high in carbohydrates and find the high in fat foods too rich. Be patient, as your taste buds and body will soon approve.
Your body may also feel hungry for a few weeks on this diet due to the lack of carbohydrates, but your body will soon adjust. When it does, your body will start burning fat fuel from fat as opposed to glucose fuel from carbohydrates, as we discussed. This is highly beneficial in reducing your stored body fat and losing weight.
This diet also encourages you to eat high protein foods such as eggs, fatty fish and nuts. High protein and high fat foods are filling and are a great source of energy.
If you have any underlying heart conditions, a high fat diet may not be recommended to you. It is best to seek advice from a doctor to see if these foods will increase your current condition of heart disease. However, it is important to understand these high fats foods cannot increase the risk of heart disease or any other condition. It may only affect those who already have the condition.
Side Effects and Risk Factors
Eating a high fat diet has little to no risk or side effects if you have no pre-existing or current conditions.
However, there is always a chance of having an increased risk of heart disease if you consume too much animal produce. This is the case for any diet or person who consumes an excessive amount of animal product.
At the beginning of a high fat diet, some people may experience fatigue, headaches or toilet troubles due to the reduction in carbohydrates. Your body will take a few weeks to adjust and when it does, the high fat foods will become your main energy source.
Do not panic if you feel these symptoms, they will go away once your body naturally adjusts. After the body does adjust, you may feel more energised than before. The over consumption of carbohydrates has a much worse effect on the body than fats, which does sometimes affect a person’s fatigue level.
There is only one type of high fat diet, which is by following the foods and other high in healthy fats. Other high fat diets that you may hear of that seem different to this may not be safe. Sticking by the guidelines is essential at ensuring you are partaking in a safe and effective diet routine.
It is important to diet with care and not over consume food, like with any diet such as Keto.
Take a healthy approach and stick to set meals if you are looking to lose weight. This diet encourages you to eat more fats but less carbohydrates but remember not to over consume. Encouraging you to eat more fat does not mean encouraging you to eat more food than you are used to. Stick by set meals and the foods listed above to see the best results.
Good to know : A high fat diet may cause liver disease as nonalcoholic fatty liver. A study from 2012 on rats eating an high fat diet show that the use of Raspberry Ketones supplements can reduce the risk of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
With that, let’s look into why some people may not lose weight on a high fat diet:
Why some people do not lose weight on High Fat Diets
If you are not seeing results from being on a high fat diet, there may be a few reasons why. Some diets do not work for everyone but a natural and easy to follow diet like this should not be uneffective.
Eating the wrong types of fat
One of the biggest mistakes people make with a high fat diet is eating the wrong type of fats. Not all high fat foods are a healthy sustainable source of energy.
For example, red meat is high in fat but the wrong kind of fat your body needs. Whereas leaner meats such as chicken provide you with healthy fats and a sustainable source of energy that your body can use as fuel.
=> See our Healthy Energy Foods List here
Eating high quantities of other food types
High fat foods are a good source of fuel and are filling enough to last you throughout the day without needing glucose fuel. The whole point of a high fat diet is to consume a high level of fat and not much else. If you eat a high level of carbohydrates or sugars alongside fat, the effectiveness of the diet will weaken and could reverse its health and diet benefits. It is important to stick to eating only high fat foods, including the foods listed above.
Having underlying medical conditions
some medical conditions may prevent any diet solution from working. Those conditions could include Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes and steroid treatments. These conditions may make you gain weight and make weight loss difficult. Therefore, any underlying conditions should be consulted by a doctor before trying to lose weight and trying a new diet.
There are other simple reasons for not being able to lose weight on a high fat diet, such as lack of exercise and a balanced lifestyle. To combat this, these tips will help you get the most out of being on a high fat diet:
Tips to achieve the best results of a High Fat Diet
There are a few lifestyle factors that can work alongside a high fat diet, like any other diet. Ensuring these lifestyle steps are put in place may increase the effectiveness of the diet and its long-term results.
Having a regular exercise schedule can help any individual lose weight and it goes hand in hand with a high fat diet. When your body is used to the regular consumption of fat, the body begins to burn fat fuel only and not only will you shed weight, your stored body fat will start to reduce. Daily walks and a weekly exercise routine will help you see results quicker. Everyone is different and the exercise does not have to be extreme. Even gentle exercise can be effective.
=> Have a look on our weight loss exercises list
A balanced diet
Eating a high fat diet means sticking to low carbohydrates and high fat foods. If you eat foods high in other nutrients, this will reduce the effectiveness of the high fat content. Sticking to the foods listed above will mean you are sticking to the high fat diet. Any foods outside of the high fat umbrella may cause weight gain.
Getting enough sleep
A fatigued body finds it difficult enough to exercise let alone have a sufficient metabolism. A well rested body will of course have more energy. The more energy your body has, the more likely it has more to expend.
Getting regular sleep, around 7 to 8 hours per night, will boost your energy levels. Higher energy levels will encourage you to exercise, eat right and will result in more energy expended.
Reducing stress levels
If you have high stress levels, it is likely that you will have a hormone imbalance. Studies suggest that an imbalance can cause weight gain and working on stress management is beneficial for weight loss routines. Stress can make any diet uneffective. Therefore, reducing your stress levels will not only help you mentally but can also be beneficial to your weight loss journey.
With these tips and knowledge in place, you can effectively begin your high fat diet. Here are our thoughts on the high fat diet and its effectiveness:
For the most part, a high fat diet can definitely help with weight loss. Not only is there enough evidence suggesting this, but the foods you can consume on this are high in other health boosting nutrients that aid weight loss.
It is also considered that a high fat diet can reduce health conditions from developing such as heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol. The purpose of the high fat diet is to reduce carbohydrate consumption and replace that with healthy fats. Overtime, the body expends fat fuel due to the high fat intake and can help reduce stored body fat which prevents health conditions as well as reduces weight.
The diet is most effective when sticking to consuming high fat foods only, so abiding to its guidelines is necessary to see the best results.
Before starting an LCHF diet, like any diet, it is recommended to seek professional advice first. If you enjoyed the article or try this high fat diet, let us know your feedback. Feel free to share with those looking for a low carbohydrate high fat diet. For other weight loss solutions, you can read more articles on our weight-loss category.