Forget everything you’ve always been told about high-fat foods making you put on weight. An exciting new diet, backed by recent scientific research, says that eating fat actually helps you slim.
Aptly called The High Fat Diet, it claims to help you shift up to 10lb in just 14 days.
Developed by nutritionist Zana Morris and health writer Helen Foster, the diet is based on eating high-fat, carb-free meals.
Like a growing number of experts, Morris and Foster believe that fat has been wrongly demonised as the main cause of obesity, when actually the opposite is true.
In other words, you need to eat more fat to shift excess fat.
“It literally turns everything you thought you knew about weight loss on its head,” explains Morris.
So, if you’re tired of counting calories, feeling hungry and eating bland low-fat diet foods, only to see no change on the scales, then this could be the diet for you: two weeks of enjoying high-fat foods such as nuts, steak, avocado, butter and even cream – and finally losing that spare tyre to boot.
In an exclusive extract from the book, we explain exactly how you can lose weight simply by increasing your fat quota…
How high-fat weight loss works
Eating a diet high in fat and low in carbs means your body has no choice but to use up some of its fat stores to do the tasks it needs to do each day – meaning you lose weight as a result.
The science behind this is the impact fat has on the hormone called insulin. Released when you eat, insulin’s job is to shuttle glucose – the sugar our body normally uses for energy – into cells where it can be used as fuel.
How much insulin you produce depends on which foods you consume.
Sugar and carbohydrates (which your body converts quickly into glucose) produce the highest levels of the hormone.
Protein, which takes a bit more effort to turn into glucose, creates a smaller rise.
Dietary fat, however, requires several complicated steps to convert to glucose and therefore doesn’t trigger any direct rise in insulin at all.
Swap to a diet that consists of a lot of high-fat foods and very few carbohydrates and you can create a situation where insulin is low and you effectively remove your body’s normal source of fuel.
This means to get the energy it needs, the body switches to using existing fat stores instead – a state scientists call ‘ketosis’.
Every time a little bit of fat leaves the cells to be used as energy, the fat cells get smaller and lighter – and more importantly, so do you.
No more hunger pangs: why fat is so filling
Hunger is a common reason people find diets hard to stick to, but it’s very hard to feel hungry eating just fat and protein for several reasons.
Firstly the ketones, released during ketosis as you start to burn fat for fuel, suppress appetite.
The combination of fat and protein also avoids the sudden peaks and troughs in blood sugar that cause food cravings.
And, finally, fat digests very slowly, keeping you fuller for longer.
In addition to these physical effects, fat is also mentally satisfying – we enjoy eating it, so unsurprisingly many people on low-fat diets miss the creamy sensation it offers.
This killer combination of mental and physical factors means that diets containing high fat levels are more satisfying and easier to stick to than low-fat regimes.
But isn’t fat bad for my heart?
Much of the fat on this diet plan comes from sources of unsaturated fat that no expert is going to argue are bad for you: avocados, walnuts, oily fish and olive oil.
But you are also adding in foods such as butter, cream cheese and red meat, which contain saturated fat.
For the last 65 years, intake of saturated fat has indeed been blamed for high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and more.
However, a number of scientists and cardiologists are now disputing this long-held belief.
Last year, University of Cambridge scientists analysed a group of 72 studies looking into the risk of saturated fat and heart disease and found no difference in heart-disease risk between those consuming the highest and lowest intakes of this kind of fat.
And just last month, new research published in the journal Open Heart went even further, claiming that official guidelines warning us against eating saturated fat in our diet should never have been introduced in the first place because they were not backed up by scientific evidence.
Follow these simple food rules and the eating plan below for 10 days and you could lose up to 10 pounds…
For the next 10 days you will have to give up carbs, alcohol, fruit and most vegetables, as they all contain sugar, which will prevent ketosis and therefore weight loss.
Create each meal from the following key food groups:
Proteins: Meat, oily fish (salmon, mackerel or fresh tuna), cheese or eggs
Fats: Avocado, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, pine nuts, full-fat cream cheese, coconut oil, olive oil, cream and butter
Veg: Green or white vegetables such as green beans, spinach or cauliflower
Get the ratio right. To lose and not gain weight on a high fat plan, getting your protein-to-fat meal ratios right is vital. In practical terms, this means:
Breakfast: 40g of any food from the protein list, plus 65g of any fat or mix of fats from that list.
Lunch: 80g of protein, 70g of fats plus a small green salad or 60g of vegetables
Dinner: 140-200g protein, 70g fats and 60g of vegetables
Avoid the following: Margarine and vegetable oils, beans and pulses, breaded fish or meat products, processed meats such as ham and sausages, fresh coconut, almonds, Brazil and cashew nuts, milk and yoghurt (you can have other dairy from the list of fats on the left, such as cream and cheese, though).
When it comes to drinks, choose from: Black coffee or tea, herbal tea or water. Or try the latest trend – adding a spoonful of coconut oil, butter or cream to tea or coffee, as this can help banish sugar cravings.
Your food planner
Pick from the following daily meals – you’ll find lots more recipes and food ideas at highfatdiet.co.uk.
- Scrambled eggs with butter and cream cheese
- Streaky bacon with slices of avocado and halloumi cheese
- Smoked salmon topped with cream cheese and walnuts
- Grilled mackerel served with Boursin cheese and avocado
- Omelette with cream cheese filling
- Chicken with avocado on a bed of spinach and pine nuts
- Tinned tuna salad with creme fraiche, lettuce and pine nuts
- Feta cheese salad on rocket with walnuts and mint leaves
- Tub of full fat cottage cheese with walnuts, pine nuts and chopped celery
- Buffalo mozzarella with avocado, walnuts and pesto sauce on spinach
- Pork chops with a creamy mushroom sauce and broccoli
- Pan-fried sirloin steak with Boursin cheese melted on top, served with spinach and butter
- Lamb meatballs with homemade tzatziki and green beans
- Grilled salmon served with cauliflower, topped with cream cheese and crumbled streaky bacon
- Spicy taco salad made with lean beef mince, served on lettuce boats with creme fraiche
Adapted from The High Fat Diet by Zana Morris and Helen Foster (Vermilion, £7.99).