How does a high protein diet compare to a high fat diet
A high protein diet is often pushed as the answer to healthy weight loss, and in fact many people associate paleo and primal diets and lifestyles with that of being high protein ones.
While protein most certainly is important, it isn’t what paleo focuses on. It is perhaps not spoken about enough that the paleo diet is an advocate of high fat, rather than high protein in a diet. Some people might be shocked about that, but in reality it is really what much of “getting to grips” with paleo is all about.
Let’s take a second to focus on fat…
Fat, is meant to be the bodies energy source. The body knows that it is, and knows what to do with it. It knows how to turn fat into energy and use it effectively. Carbohydrates on the other hand, don’t always play so nice.
Both high fat, and high protein diets are related in that they are against the grain, so to speak, of conventional dietary wisdom. Low carbohydrate diets are already “suspect” in their claims of losing weight automatically and repairing health conditions. High fat diets are no easier tolerated. They are, to no surprise, even more focused on by “authorities”.
So we know that fat is both controversial as well as recommended as an asset to the body. We also know that carbohydrates are controversial, and are recommended to not be a terribly important asset to the body.
- Fat doesn’t clog your arteries
Pipes can’t metabolise fat like your body can. Atherosclerosis is affected by many things, and fat is not one of the areas of focus you should be worried about.
- What about fat and cholesterol?
Dietary cholesterol has no impact on total blood cholesterol, this is an established fact. It is important to understand that your liver makes cholesterol when you need it, and retards production when it is digested as part of your diet.
- Fat doesn’t make you fat
Nope, it sure doesn’t. A diet low in carbohydrates but high in fat helps the body avoid accessing lean mass (muscle) for energy, and in stead focuses on accessing stored fat for energy. In addition, you’ll eat less because fat has more of a satiating effect than carbohydrates.
- What about heart disease?
Recent studies state that fat, especially saturated fat has little to no impact on your heart and its health.
- What about energy?
We accumulate stored energy as fat, and because fat is the body’s preferred and most efficient energy source, it is stored fairly readily when an abundance of glucose is present in the blood.
- Doesn’t the brain need glucose to function correctly?
The brain does require some carbohydrates to function at its best, but it’s worth noting that your body produces enough glucose through gluconeogenesis to run you brain fine. When eating a low carbohydrate diet the body uses fat as an energy source by turning fat into ketones, and ketones operate particularly effectively as an energy source for the brain. So all round, a high fat, low carbohydrate diet is perfectly healthy for the brain, if not preferable.
How does high protein differ from high fat?
High protein diets, such as Atkins, generally focus only on controlling protein and carbohydrate intake. Many, if not most “high protein” diets focus only on these two things. Eat more protein, eat less carbohydrates. There isn’t much mention of fat and its role in the body in most of these diets.
Diets like paleo and primal ones are focused on not only promoting an increase in protein intake, they are also very focused on upping fat intake.
Which fats, you ask?
That may go outside the scope of this article, but healthy fats are generally those which aren’t found in modified food sources. Canola oil and sunflower oil are good examples of bad quality fats. Good quality fats start with foods like coconut, avocado and those found in fatty fish.
If you would like to learn more about which fats are good and which are bad, why not sign up for the free 7 Paleo Concepts Course? It will outline some of the key and core fundamentals of what makes paleo, paleo. Get it below!