When I first started keto back in 2015, I suffered from what some call ‘fat phobia’ or the fear of eating fat.
I was hesitant to eat more fat and add fat to my meals (even the healthy ones) because I was still in the mindset that eating more fat equates to gaining body fat.
Now, don’t get me wrong, consuming too much fat can definitely cause you to gain weight and body fat.
But, consuming too much of the other macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol) can do the same.
Yes, there are different processes that occur in the body that create varying degrees of what is stored and what isn’t (i.e., the thermic effect of food, severe insulin resistance, etc.); but in general, consuming energy or calories past your body’s ability to use them for fuel, will lead to storage...that’s just reality.
Okay, back to fearing fat...
For years we have been demonizing fat as the enemy. We’ve been told that fat causes heart disease, weight gain, and a whole host of other health problems.
Thankfully, in recent years, this ‘fear of fat’ has slowly declined as people are starting to realize that the right kinds of fats (i.e., animal and plant-based fats like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. NOT factory-made fats like margarine, canola oil, and ‘vegetable’ oil) can actually help with weight loss, make you healthier, protect your brain, and aid in longevity.
In fact, a 10-year study observing 135,000 adults from 18 different countries found that those who cut back on fats had a shorter life span than those enjoying sufficient amounts of meat, butter, and cheese. The study concluded that “higher intake of fats, including saturated fats, is associated with a lower risk of mortality.”
This is why following a ketogenic lifestyle is so powerful!
By limiting carbs and consuming enough healthy fats, you teach your body to reinforce its ancestral mechanisms and thrive off of burning fat and ketones for energy which leads to a host of beneficial outcomes:
The list goes on…
So, now that we understand that fat is not the bad guy...does that mean carbs are the enemy?
Well, not necessarily…
And this is something that I’ve learned the hard way over the years.
After adopting a ketogenic diet and feeling all the benefits of this lifestyle, I started to develop a new phobia -- something that I think many long-time ‘keto-ers’ can relate to -- the fear of carbs.
I started to demonize ALL carbs and thought that because I was feeling so good without them, that they were no longer needed in my life.
Now, just to be clear...carbohydrates are actually non-essential to life. Your body can function perfectly fine without any dietary carbohydrates and for some people, eliminating most carbohydrates long-term can definitely be beneficial depending on their situation. (I talked in more detail about this in my post Metabolic Flexibility > 24/7 Ketosis).
But, for the majority of us, completely cutting out ALL carbohydrates for the rest of our lives is probably not necessary.
Yes, avoiding sugar, packaged and low-quality foods, and highly processed grains is definitely in your best interest...but demonizing whole-food carb sources such as root vegetables, fruits, and other ‘higher carb’ real foods may not be.
It all comes back to YOU as an individual.
Depending on your goals, activity level, metabolic state, etc., carbohydrate consumption varies from person to person.
To maintain and thrive as a long-term fat-burner, the idea is that you want to consume the minimum effective dose of carbohydrates for maximum benefit. Whether that’s related to performance, hormonal regulation, or ‘real-life’ sustainability is individualized to YOU.
This means keeping carbs as low as necessary while still being able to perform, recover, and thrive at your highest potential!
If you’re struggling with ‘carb phobia’ and want to learn more about strategically implementing healthy, whole-food sources of carbs into your life while still thriving as a badass fat-burner, then the Keto For Women Program is definitely for you!