WHY EATING FAT MAKES YOU THINNER
IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT, BUT CAN’T BEAR THE THOUGHT OF CUTTING OUT SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS, THEN LOOK NO FURTHER. A NEW 14-DAY EATING PLAN PROMISES TO AVOID REDUCING YOUR FOOD INTAKE AND ALLOW YOU TO EAT FOODS TRADITIONALLY BANNED ON TYPICAL WEIGHT-LOSS PLANS.
WORDS BY ZANA MORRIS AND HELEN FOSTER
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about fat. Developed by nutritionist and personal trainer Zana Morris (along with Helen Foster), the 14-day diet is a combination of high-fat nutrition and high-intensity training. The premise is that rather than fat being your enemy, it actually makes you thinner.
For years we've been told that because fat contains more calories per gram than other foods (nine compared to the four calories in protein and carbohydrates,) eating lots of it is the fastest way to get fat while cutting back on it is the easiest way to lose weight. However, as leading Danish cholesterol expert Dr Uffe Ravnskov said in his book Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For You! (GB Publishing, 2009) “the idea that you become fat by eating fat is just as silly as to say you become green by eating green vegetables.”
WHY FAT IS YOUR FRIEND
Eat a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates and your body has no choice but to start using your fat stores to fuel the tasks it needs to do each day. The reason for this is fat's impact on a hormone called insulin. Released when you eat, insulin's job is to shuttle glucose, the sugar our body normally uses for energy, into the cells where it can be used as fuel. How much insulin you produce depends on exactly which food you consume.
Sugar and carbohydrates (which your body converts quickly into glucose) produce the highest level of insulin; protein, which takes a bit more effort to turn into sugar, creates a smaller rise. Dietary fat, however, takes a few complicated steps to convert to glucose and therefore doesn't trigger any direct rise in insulin at all.
Eat a bowl of, say, white rice and your blood sugar will rise quickly and lots of insulin will be produced; eat a pat of utter
and nothing will happen to your blood sugar or insulin level.
Swap to a diet that consists of a lot of high-fat foods and very, very few carbohydrates and you create a situation where
insulin is low and you remove your body's normal source of fuel. At this point it has to do something to get the energy it
needs, and that something is to switch to burning fat instead (a state scientists call ketosis).
To do so it reaches into your fat stores and starts to turn the fat within them into a fuel it can use for energy. Every time a little bit of fat leaves the cells to be used as energy the fat cells get smaller and lighter – and so do you.
ALL CALORIES ARE NOT EQUAL
On the high-fat diet you could be eating between 1,500 and 2,500 calories a day and still be losing weight, most of it fat, at an average rate of about half a kilogram a day.
The reason for this seems to be something some experts call 'the metabolic advantage'. For example, look at what
happened when researchers in the US put three groups of people on different diets. One was a low-fat plan consisting of
1,500 calories a day for women, and 1,800 for men, two were high-fat, lowcarbohydrate diets. One of these contained
1,500-1,800 calories a day (the same as the low-fat one) and one contained 1,800-2,100 calories (differing by gender
Both the higher-fat groups lost more weight than the low-fat one – 2.7kg more for the 1,500 calorie-a-day diet, and three pounds more for the 1,800 calorie-a-day one.
It's no coincidence that people call it ‘burning fat’. When your body senses there's no sugar in your system it triggers the
release of a hormone called glucagon, which in turn releases an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase. This prompts the fat cells to release substances called triglycerides – from which we create the final fuel we use for energy – and shuttle this off to our cells to be burned. And that may also be what happens to your body when you eat a higher percentage of your daily calories from fat. It simply burns up its fuel at a faster rate.
THE FILL-UP FACTOR
Fat also seems to make sticking to an eating plan just that little bit easier. Hunger is one of the main reasons people find diets so hard to stick to, but it's very hard to be hungry if you're eating just fat and protein. One reason is likely to be that ketones released as you start to burn fat for fuel suppress appetite, but there are many more reasons for the effect.
Because fat slows down how fast sugar is released in your system, it doesn't trigger sudden peaks and troughs in blood sugar that leave you crying out for food all the time. Fat also digests slowly, meaning you are fuller for longer. It also seems to directly influence appetite hormones.
WORK IT OUT
High-intensity workouts, lasting 10-15 minutes, help stimulate muscle fibres, increases metabolism post workout and activate release of a muscle-building and fat-burning hormone called human growth hormone (hGh). When it comes to
body sculpting, hGh is vital. To produce the highest hGh levels though, scientists say there are three key things you need to do:
1. Train using large muscle groups
2. Train at a high intensity – that means with heavy weights or at speed
3. Train with the shortest rest intervals between sets
»» You lose weight (2.7 – 3.6kg in two weeks)
»» You lose centimetres (usually 2.5-7.5cm off the tummy and waist and elsewhere
»» Your skin looks amazing. Fat plumps up the skin and by the end of the plan your skin should be glowing and fine lines and wrinkles have virtually disappeared.
ZANA MORRIS: is a leading personal trainer and nutritional specialist and has been named in Top Sante’s `100 Names to Know in Health`. Zana owns The Library, a highly respected gym in Notting Hill, which was voted Best Quick Fix and best for prolonged recouperation in Tatler’s 2014 Gym Guide and won two of the possible 12 Tatler awarded accolades. The Library has also been voted `Best London’ fitness facility of the year` by London Lifestyle Awards. Zana is a sought-after speaker on the fitness circuit and regularly features in the media.
HELEN FOSTER: is a leading health journalist and author whose award winning writing has appeared in numerous
newspapers and magazines, including Red, The Daily Mail, Glamour and Stylist.