Don’t Fear the Fat: 7 Ways Fat Can Help You Lose Weight

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Back in the 1950s, a scientist named Ancel Keys began claiming that saturated fat caused heart disease. His research looked pretty convincing at the time, and his theory launched the beginning of a powerful fat-fearing era in nutrition.

Unfortunately for generations of nonfat milk-drinking, chicken breast-eating Americans, Keys’ research is not only flawed, but there’s evidence that he manipulated his data to make sure that fat looked bad (bringing himself fame and grant money in the process). Even worse, there’s also evidence that sugar industry bigwigs have been paying scientists to shift the blame for obesity and chronic disease from sugar to fat since the 1960s.

It turns out that science doesn’t support low-fat claims at all.

But it was too late. Food manufacturing companies began pumping out low- and nonfat products, and pouring in the sugar to compensate for their bland food. Soon, grocery store shelves were filled with sugary, processed “diet” foods and people were getting fatter than ever.

After 60 years of low-fat propaganda, the “fat makes you fat” rhetoric is so ingrained in our collective psyche that many people still fear fat, even though study after study shows that fat is harmless [1]. In fact, eating more fat is the single most powerful way to hack your cravings, turn on your brain, lose weight, and balance your hormones. Fat isn’t just good for you; it’s essential.

Adding more fat to my diet was a leap for me at first, too. It went against everything I’d ever been told about healthy eating. But the more I looked into the research, the more it became clear that fat (especially saturated fat) and cholesterol are actually the building blocks for a thriving body and mind.

Eating 4,000 calories per day for fat loss

When I began researching the Bulletproof Diet, I wanted to see just how quickly eating more calories from fat could make me gain fat. So, I stopped exercising, cut my sleep to less than 5 hours a night, and started consuming between 4,000 and 4,500 calories from the Bulletproof Diet per day, with about 70% of my calories from quality fats (more on fat quality later).

I started to see a difference almost immediately. My focus increased, I ran on less sleep, I started losing weight, and my inflammation began to disappear. I even grew abs.

If you’ve ever tried traditional dieting, you know that low-fat, low-calorie diets leave you miserable. They’re unsustainable. You’re hungry all the time and the weight you lose comes right back after you stop dieting.

Quality fats, however, are clean-burning energy sources that keep your body and brain running at maximum capacity. It’s time to end the era of fearing fat. Let’s look at some of the ways fat actually helps you.

7 reasons dietary fat is good for you

  1. Dietary fat contains more energy per gram than any other nutrient, so it’s the most effective way to deliver energy to the parts of your body that need it, like your brain.
  2. Compared with protein or carbohydrates, fat has the lowest impact on insulin levels. Insulin spikes are what lead to energy crashes and weight gain. Insulin is the body’s response to high blood sugar. You don’t want your pancreas constantly pumping out insulin because it will get tired and give up on you. That’s when diabetes happens.
  3. Fat slows the absorption of carbohydrates, keeping blood glucose levels under control.[2] When blood sugar is high, so is cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone. Circulating cortisol will keep blood sugar high and can contribute to inflammation and hurt your immune system.
  4. Fat makes you feel fuller longer. You will actually eat less if you trade empty processed grains and sugar for quality fats.[3]
  5. Quality fats often contain fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Eating fat alongside other nutrient-dense foods will increase the fat-soluble nutrients you absorb from them, too. That’s why it’s a good idea to eat fat at every meal, and especially with your vegetables. Good thing butter and veggies pair so well together.
  6. Fat is a building block. Quality fats form strong cell walls and help build sex hormones. Your brain is the most fat- and cholesterol-dense part of your body and it requires saturated fat to build myelin, the insulators that connect many of your brain cells to one another. Low-fat diets will starve your brain. Because the healthy fats in the Bulletproof Diet help to maintain and balance hormones, you will lose weight, not gain it.
  7. Caloric restriction is not the answer. Sure, you can starve yourself thin. But different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body, which is why bread can make you fat and butter can thin you out [4]. Long-term caloric restriction can stress your body and contribute to leptin resistance, insulin resistance, low testosterone, and thyroid issues, which is why so many people lose weight in the short-term, then gain it all back when they begin to eat normally again. Plus, on fewer calories, you’ll feel hungry all the time, so you’ll be more likely to “cave” and eat an entire pizza. Satiate your body and brain with good fats and your cravings disappear.

What about heart health?

There is no evidence that saturated fat is bad for your heart. In fact, one of the most famous studies on fat and coronary health showed that yes, a diet lower in saturated fat will, in fact, lower your cholesterol, BUT lowered cholesterol does not ensure a long life! There was actually an increase in mortality in participants following a “heart healthy” diet of mostly linoleic acids from corn oil, as opposed to delicious fats from foods like grass-fed beef and butter.

Of course, this is only one study. There are plenty more systematic reviews looking at the link between saturated fat and heart disease, and no one can prove that saturated fat from quality sources cause heart disease.[5,6]

In fact, there are several studies that suggest saturated fat can reduce the risk of stroke.[7,8]

What you can do now

  1. Learn your fats. Not all fats are created equal. Some fats feed your brain and help turn off your cravings, while some cause inflammation and make you crave terrible foods. Get all the benefits of a high-healthy-fat diet by adding more of the good fats to every meal. Start with grass-fed butter or ghee and Brain Octane Oil. You can read more about different fats here.
  2. Focus on quality, not quantity. Calories-in, calories-out is a myth. If it were true, then I would have gained dozens of pounds of fat when experimenting with a high-fat diet at 4,500 calories per day and no exercise. When you focus on the quality of your food and the nutrition it provides, cravings subside, and your body will start to regulate your caloric intake naturally. This results in the fat loss and mental clarity that so many people experience on the Bulletproof Diet.
  3. Try it. Everyone’s different. If I’m wrong and your body doesn’t thrive on healthy fats, eliminating processed grains, and limited starchy carbs, you’ll be able to tell. If you gain weight or feel like crap, or if your blood results start to let you know you’re going in the wrong direction, stop what you’re doing and reassess.
  4. Bulletproof your fatty experiment. If you’re upping fat, you’ll want to limit your carbs. You’ll probably gain weight if you mix the two together. Start here with the main tenets of the Bulletproof Diet to set yourself up for success. And check out this post to avoid the top three mistakes many people make when going Bulletproof.

 

Add these Bulletproof-approved fats to your diet today:

Brain Octane Oil. A reliable and quick source of energy for your brain and body. Brain Octane is made up of the most powerful MCT, distilled from 100% pure coconut oil to support cognitive performance and fat loss.[9]

Grass-fed Butter and Ghee are rich with fat-soluble vitamins and essential minerals, as well as a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which is essential for a gut health and brain function.

XCT Oil. A slightly less potent form of Brain Octane Oil, XCT oil will still give you a quick source of energy from fat, not sugar.

Coconut Oil. The fat-burning component of coconut oil is found primarily in its medium-chain-triglyceride, or MCT, content. MCTs reduce your appetite naturally, decrease cardiovascular disease, and increase the rate at which you burn fat – at rest! [10,11,12, 13] The most powerful MCT is called C8, and it’s up to 18 times stronger than regular coconut oil. That’s what makes up Brain Octane Oil, the cleanest burning energy source out there!

Dark Chocolate contains theobromine, a gentle stimulant that’s related to caffeine but more mellow. Theobromine also increases blood flow and may explain, at least in part, why chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Dark chocolate is also full of fiber, copper, manganese, antioxidants, and tasty fat. Go for 70% dark or darker, and be mindful of added sugar.

Pastured Egg Yolks. Pastured eggs are packed with protein, B vitamins, zinc, and other nutrients that help balance hormones and support muscle building. Egg yolk also contains easily absorbed lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that contribute to eye health [14]!

Krill Oil and Fish Oil. Omega-3 fatty acids provide a launchpad for making hormones that regulate blood, heart, and metabolic function. Studies show that omega-3s help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis. There’s also evidence it may protect against cancer [15].

FATwater. A sugar-free alternative to energy drinks that’s fortified with B vitamins and Brain Octane Oil.

Grass-fed red meat and marrow. High-quality grass-fed meat contains essential nutrients, from the protein that acts as the building blocks of muscles and other tissues, to zinc, iron, and even pretty decent levels of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s a closer look at grass-fed beef and the benefits of adding some grass-fed red meat to your diet.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO is very high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory oleic acid. It’s better not to heat EVOO. Doing so will destroy many of the precious nutrients and denature the delicate fats. Instead, drizzle it over your meal right before you eat it. Always buy olive oil bottled in dark glass, too. Clear bottles let light through, which oxidizes (destroys) nutrients the longer the bottle sits on a shelf.

Avocado Oil looks a lot like olive oil in terms of nutrition. It’s slightly more heat-stable than olive oil, but you’re still best off adding it to your meal at the end or using it in sauces and dressings.

References

Click to read the complete list of references.

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By Dave Asprey

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  • juliecook.92

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  • Simon Sattin

    just want to check something: based on you eating 4000 calories and 70% coming from fat, that leaves 1200 calories, which would mean a remaining 300 gram split for protein/carbs…is that right? sounds like a lot of protein/carbs especially as a lot of your other material suggests moderate protein so around 100 grams per day and carbs to <50 grams? perhaps it was more like 80+% for fat?

    • Mark Eibner

      80-15-5 is the key.

      • Dgafford

        Simon don’t forget there are calories in vegetables too. Everything you eat isn’t necessarily going to be fat, protein, or carbs.

  • delora.flickinger.92

    After 5 years I finally abandoned my previous job and I never felt better in my life… I started doing a job online, over a site I stumbled upon online, for a few hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my old work… Check i got for last month was for 9k dollars… Amazing thing about this is that now i have more time with my kids… SECURE54.COM

  • Joe Leonard

    Every diet study is biased if it’s funded by someone trying to sell some nutrient or diet plan. How can I trust this info when I know someone is trying to profit from the Bulletproof Diet?

    • Dgafford

      Firstly, Dave, who wrote the article, didn’t do the research studies he references below. He does stand to profit but ONLY if you buy his book, or his limited products that contain the fat he recommends. Bulletproof isn’t going to make money on anyone who just changes their diets and consumes a high fat lower carb diet.

    • You can learn all you need to about the Bulletproof diet by reading info on this this free web site and downloading the free roadmap, you can listen to the free podcasts which are awesome… you can also join in discussions on the free forums and learn heaps. Only if you want to have a hard copy might you buy a book. You could fully implement the bulletproof protocol without ever paying a cent to Bulletproof!

      (I use BP XCT and BP coffee because they work)

    • Love the critical thinking, Joe 😉

      You don’t need to buy my products to follow the Bulletproof Diet plan (which you can download for free here: https://blog.bulletproof.com/the-complete-illustrated-one-page-bulletproof-diet/). Every week I put out free podcasts and articles that give practical ways to improve your biology, too. Check them out if you feel inclined.

      Bulletproof is certainly a business, but the bigger picture here is giving people the tools to live better.

      P.S. I didn’t fund any of the studies listed above, or any of the other studies I reference on the blog to date.

  • Blair Braverman

    Curious if Dave was supplementing with PED’s when all this miraculous weight loss occured…not very scientific if you dont remove the PED variable

    • constance.lemon

      It’s been 1 year since I abandoned my old job and that decision was a lifechanger for me… I started to work online, for this company I found over internet, several hours a day, and I earn much more than i did on my old job… Last paycheck i got was for Nine thousand dollars… Superb thing about this gig is that now i have more free time with my kids… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

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      1 year have passed since I decided to abandon my last work and I never felt better in my life… I started freelancing from home, for a company I found over internet, several hrs each day, and I earn much more than i did on my old job… My last month paycheck was for 9 thousand bucks… Great thing about this job is that now i have more free time for my kids… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

    • Hey Blair,

      I was on bioidentical testosterone for a decade because I had a medical need for it, but I specifically stopped taking it when testing the Bulletproof Diet it to make sure it wasn’t a confounding variable. You can read more about that here: https://blog.bulletproof.com/what-i-learned-from-taking-testosterone-for-a-decade/

      • Blair Braverman

        Thank you Dave…that is really helpful..Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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    One year have passed since I abandoned my old work and I am so happy now… I started doing a job at home, for a company I discovered over internet, for several hrs each day, and I make much more than i did on my last work… My last month pay-check was for Nine thousand dollars… Awesome thing about this work is that i have more time for my kids… CHILP.IT/728813e

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  • Sebastian Russell

    Would this be beneficial for people with PCOS?

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  • Landon Yosko

    Dave, just wanted to state how grateful many are to have someone as yourself bio-hacking the human body. Our bodies are one complex and sophisticated system and the way you explain it makes it more understandable to the average individual looking to change. I lost and maintained a 200 lbs weight loss going on 14 years now and the strategy you discuss is basically how I have been living my life for the past 14 years except now about a couple months ago, I found this awesome product Brain Octane” that works wonders in my life!! The one thing i did was, eat how ever much I wanted of majority of healthy fats and also all 90% of my meals were natural whole foods. The BS of a calorie in = calorie out is destroying the success of longevity for weight loss. Its like giving a gas engine the same amount of diesel fuel. The gas engine doesn’t know how to burn diesel fuel so it will just sit there and continuing storing it. Then you mix some gas with the diesel and little better but still extremely sluggish up until its all gas and the engine will burn 100% efficient then when you step on the gas, the engine burns more just like our bodies Our bodies internal engine will increase energy output by raising body temp when we eat more calories and will decrease temp (just one example) when we don’t have enough fuel. Unlike cars, our bodies have fat storage that it can depend on if you don’t give it enough fuel on days of restricted calories. The point is, when our bodies a fat burning machine, we can feed it as much as we want of healthy calories and still lose weight.

  • Looking for a little clarification, What do you mean by “…or if your blood results start to let you know you’re going in the wrong direction,”?

  • mary

    My husband considered the keto and low carb diets a while back and I am very glad I talked him out of that. Along with decreased performance in the gym, reduced strength, and flat muscles, he would have also suffered from reduced free testosterone, and would’ve been miserable.

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