How Fat Contributes to Weight Gain
For those just starting a weight-loss journey, it’s common to become overwhelmed by the different philosophies and approaches. Some “experts” say that eating high fat foods is perfectly fine, while others say that eating fatty foods will make you gain weight. How does one decide which piece of advice to follow?
What causes weight gain?
One of the most trusted and reliable variables to use when measuring weight gain is caloric intake versus caloric expenditure. While we need a certain number of calories to function and maintain our energy levels, consuming too many calories can be a bad thing. When we take in more calories than we burn, our body is stuck with calories that it can’t turn into fuel. When calories aren’t used as fuel, they are added to fat stores. This can become a big problem if we routinely eat more than we burn.
How are fat and calories related?
Simply put, foods that contain a large amount of fat also contain a high number of calories. That’s because calories are derived from the substances found in food. This means that the amount of fat, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, etc. in a food item determines how caloric it will be.
Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram, whereas, one gram of fat has nine calories—more than twice as much! This illustrates why foods high in fat are also predictably high in calories and why consuming large amounts can lead to weight gain.
None of this means you must avoid fatty foods entirely. In fact, some foods that are high in fat, such as salmon, are very nutritious and different than eating something less healthy, such as a bacon cheeseburger. You should merely pay attention to the caloric and fat content of the foods you like to eat. Be mindful of your overall eating patterns and strive to maintain a healthy diet overall.