Healthy Fat Does Not Equal Unlimited Fat

“Eat all the fat you want on the Paleo Diet, as long as there’s no trans fat.”  Pardon me?

“Use as much butter and cream as you like; just make sure it’s from grass fed cows.”   Come again?

“Bacon is fair game, every day, or multiple times per day.”  Sorry?

This is not the right idea.

Sure, the True Paleo Regime has a nice amount of good fat, but to think one can ‘consume unlimited amounts of fat’ and not risk gaining, or being able to lose weight is naive.

While I’d certainly never recommend that one confine themselves to a lifetime of weighing and measuring, if you’re honestly following the real deal of a Paleo approach and not losing weight, one thing to consider would be to take a step back and analyze how much fat you’re really eating.

Even if it’s only for a day, just to get a sense of how much you’re really eating.

For example, perhaps you give your breakfast a long, steady pour of olive oil to top off your greens, eat a large handful (or two, or three) of raw nuts during the day at the office, help yourself to the entire bowl of homemade guacamole at a work luncheon and finish off an entire grass fed ribeye on top of a bed of arugula, and then heavy-handedly douse the skillet with coconut oil before sauteing some garlic and chopped broccoli.

Nothing wrong with a single one of those things, but if you were to measure it all, you could very well find the source of the hidden calories and subsequent reason for being unable to shed pounds.

To be clear, I am not for one second suggesting a low-fat approach.  This is simply intended to be an experiment to see how much you’re really eating.

One client did this and was shocked to find her caloric intake throughout one day was well over 3,500 calories.  She’s 5’4″, does yoga three times per week and was trying to reach her goal weight of 130 from a starting weight of 145.   She realized she was consuming 1/4 cup of olive oil in her sauteed veggies, nearly an entire cup of nuts and and another 1/4 cup of coconut oil in her dinner preparation, when she measured the typical amount she’d been using.

There are several reasons why one might  not be shedding pounds when they follow the True Paleo regime, and this could very well be one of them.

So, don’t go low fat, or fat free, just take one single day and see what you’re really eating.  There’s nothing better than some hard data to provide accurate answers, rather than getting frustrated, thinking you’re doing everything right, and it’s ‘just not working’ and then giving up.

The bottom line is simple- if you’re eating thousands of extra calories per day and only expending a fraction of that, you’re not going to lose weight.  Yes, you’re far less likely to experience blood sugar peaks and valleys if you’re eating too much fat compared to (any) white sugar, but it still needs to be looked at for data collection if you’re getting irritated and are about to call it quits.

Check yourself!

About Nell Stephenson

Nell Stephenson is a Paleo Lifestyle Coach & Nutritional Counselor, Paleo chef and certified fitness trainer. Having collaborated with Dr Loren Cordain, the original author of The Paleo Diet, on The Paleo Diet Cookbook and being an advisor to The Paleo Diet team, Nell specializes in simplifying the science of Paleo into everyday living.

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Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.

  • Dana

    I notice you didn’t mention whether this mystery client you discuss here bothered checking her bodyfat percentage. In terms of health, that’s much more important than the number on the scale once you get into a certain weight range. We have no idea whether this client actually needed to lose another 15 pounds or whether she was fine the way she was. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat, too, so she may have looked just fine if that 15 pounds was muscle. We tend to have a distorted perspective of what our bodies look like even if we don’t have an eating disorder.

    It probably didn’t help that a lot of her fats were sourced from plants either. You can get away with a certain degree of that if the fats are olive oils and tropical oils but you should still be eating some animal fat too. It contains vitamins the plant fats just don’t have, and olive oil and coconut don’t contain omega-3s whereas a properly-fed animal will, plus the saturated fats to protect those O3s.

    AND, it’s pretty difficult to eat extreme amounts of fat without kicking in the chemical satiety response from your small intestines. Unless you’re eating a boatload of “safe starches” along with it, then maybe your signals might get crossed.

    • Calista O’Connell

      Totally agree.

  • alien

    I can eat a lot of fat in a sitting. I am going to be very careful from now on

  • Calista O’Connell

    I’m a PT that advocates healthy and smart dieting options.
    HOWEVER, there are also health factors ton ALSO take into consideration. So this is a blanket response.
    For example, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto. I gained weight this past year. I worked hard to shed, but my metabolism went down.
    I thought I overworked, then I scaled back. I watched my diet, reduced all grains and sugars. ..
    The WIN?
    I was told I’d be on Statins for life.
    I proved my doc wrong after my high fat Change in diet. But then I was diagnosed with my condition which prevents gluten plus other foods, etc.
    EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, yes.
    But many following may go to the way side of paranoia.

    However we have had enough scare tactics on the bad habits we’ve had for 50 years.
    There is already so much confusion.

    People should choose to seek advice from their own medical care.

    Another scare tactic may bite back