Leyla Weighs In: Eat more fat!

| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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A white plate with blue trim resting on a folded cream-colored cloth napkin. The plate is half full of sliced skirt steak with chimichurri, the other half with two over-easy eggs.

There’s a misconception among low-carb dieters. Many people believe a low-carb diet is much higher in protein. Folks are opting for ‘lean’ protein like sirloin steak and grilled chicken breast, keeping fattier portions like rib-eye, ribs, and dark meat poultry to a bare minimum. Many are even instructed to do so.

I am here to tell you the low-carb diet is not a high-protein diet. It’s a high-fat diet. The very low-carb ketogenic diet is high in fat. It has to be in order to facilitate lipolysis/ketosis, our primary and preferred metabolism. In other words, we have to eat fat in order to burn fat.

In truth, protein intake stays within the 20 to 30 percent range. It’s fat intake that increases to as much as 80 percent. Need a point of reference? Consider that the Mediterranean diet is 40 percent fat.

Those who find themselves in a weight loss plateau are likely stuck due to overconsumption of protein (barring other reasons for the plateau). The reason is excess protein turns into blood glucose, effectively shifting metabolism out of ketosis. Now we’re back to a mostly blood-sugar-burning metabolism again.

Those with type two diabetes or prediabetes often won’t be able to reduce their blood sugar (or HgbA1c, which is a marker of average blood sugar over three months) until increasing consumption of fats and moderating protein intake.

So by incorporating fattier cuts of meat (read: dark meat poultry, skirt steak, organ meats, and stop throwing out those egg yolks!), you’re effectively decreasing the amount of protein to a more moderate level. And the fats inherent in those foods will help to keep you satiated until your next meal, stabilizing your blood sugar.

Added bonus: You’ll get more zinc, selenium, iron, choline, carnitine, and CoQ10. You can listen to a deeper dive on the importance of dietary fat here.

To your health!

Leyla Muedin, MS, RD, CDN


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