At -45°C and being in Alaska, where there’s not much to eat, a fat-based diet is understandable. The Eskimos or Inuit, as the indigenous peoples who live in the arctic are called, have maintained themselves for centuries thanks to it, coming from fish, seals, bears and whales. It is possible to extract energy (calories) and different fatty acids from meat fat.
In our context, cattle have the highest proportion of saturated fatty acids — which increase “bad” cholesterol (LDL), but on the good side they participate in hormone production and absorption of vitamins, such as A, D, E and K. swine and poultry predominate unsaturated fatty acids, which provide vitamin E and help lower LDL if consumed in moderation. In salmon, tuna and sardines, they are omega types 3 and 6, the “good fats”.
But not only meats offer fat and everything else they represent. Processed foods (mayonnaise, cottage cheese, milk chocolate) and of vegetable origin (soy oils, corn, sunflower, olive oil, flaxseed, avocado, nuts) as well. Saturated fats are also found in this first list and unsaturated fats in the second list, which are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, differentiated by carbon structures and molecules.
Trans is another category of fat, resulting from industrial hydrogenation (although also obtained in minute amounts from animal rumination) and present mainly in foods that use it to improve its consistency and flavor (ice cream, frozen food, margarine). It raises total and LDL cholesterol levels and lowers “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
Feeding only on fat is not enough
Despite some cons, you can’t cut out the fats from our menu. We need a daily amount of them, which help in the formation of cells and keep us active. However, needing is quite different from exaggerating. If the consumption of saturated fat per day should not exceed 22 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet, that of unsaturated fat, for that same amount, should be up to 44 grams for monounsaturated and 22 grams for polyunsaturated.
“In total fat, it represents from 30 to 35%, being 10% saturated, 20% monounsaturated and 6 to 10% polyunsaturated”, explains Giovanna Oliveira, member nutritionist of the IBNF (Brazilian Institute of Functional Nutrition) and the Dr. Maria Fernanda Barca clinic, in São Paulo.
To give you an idea, two slices of mozzarella cheese correspond to 5.6 grams of saturated fat. Two heaped tablespoons of roasted peanuts has nearly 9 grams of monounsaturated fat, and a 100 gram steak of grilled salmon has 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. The intake of trans fat should not exceed 2.2 grams per day, which is equivalent, for example, to four wafer cookies or an entirely type of chocolate.
Exceeding these values day after day—which is very easy (all the more so because they intersect)—makes life expectancy plummet. “You can’t live just by eating fat. For long periods, problems can arise”, points out Fabiana Pedrosa, nutritionist and educator at Unicap (Catholic University of Pernambuco). These include high uric acid levels, inflammation, kidney stones, lack of calcium in the blood, weight gain, increased cholesterol, slow digestion, organ malfunction, neuron destruction, diabetes, clogged arteries and increased risk of infarction and stroke, as well as cancer.
Such a diet needs to be short
By eating a lot of fat, Eskimos can survive extreme cold, but on the other hand, they live less. Records from the last century show that before the Western influence, these peoples, although they did not have contact with many external diseases, died early due to their diet, which led to fatal cardiovascular problems in their early 20s. In 2014, a study published in Canadian Journal of Cardiology recognized that.
Be careful then with the regular intake of steak, bologna, bacon, but also with very strict eating plans, which cut carbohydrates, aiming at high consumption of fats, including healthy ones, to lose weight. “Of this type, the ketogenic diet, initially indicated for patients with neurological and epileptic diseases, with seizures, type 2 diabetes and obesity, requires nutritional and medical monitoring”, warns Edvânia Soares, a nutritionist specializing in clinical, general and sports nutrition and of Estima Nutrição, from São Paulo.
“[A dieta cetogênica] it tries to reduce crises in certain patients who do not respond well to pharmacological treatment, that is, it has a specific indication”, adds Andrea Bottoni, a nutrologist and coordinator of the nutrology team at Hospital IGESP, in São Paulo. carbohydrates (in a traditional version of the diet, the individual in ketosis eats up to 50 g of carbohydrates per day; an apple has the equivalent of 30 g) and greatly increases the amount of fat.
As it has side effects and is very restrictive (it involves metabolic stress and uses its own body fat to extract energy), it should not exceed eight weeks. It can range from bad breath and mood, cramps, weakness and loss of muscle, nutrients and fibers, to serious risks for uncontrolled type 1 and 2 diabetics, anemic people or people with liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders. The example of crises of hypertension and hypoglycemia, besides the formation of gallstones and even fatty liver (hepatic steatosis).
How not to overdo the fork
When it comes to fats, as already explained, they can and should be present on your menu, in small portions. In order not to go overboard, make substitutions and so it is even possible to lose weight without any type of diet. Instead of two pieces of grilled breast, which contain about 20 grams of saturated fat, give preference to a roasted and peeled chicken drumstick (which has 3.3 grams of this fat) or a grilled sirloin steak (4.3 grams). ), for example.
Also, don’t cut out carbohydrates (nutrients present in potatoes, bread, rice, pasta), which directly influence our energy intake and help with cell function, in addition to preserving the body’s muscle mass levels. “As a recommendation, they should represent from 45% to 60% of the total caloric value of the day”, informs Oliveira. To help, divide the dish into four equal parts. In one, carbohydrates, in another, proteins/fats, and in the remaining two vegetables and vegetables low in carbohydrates (broccoli, tomatoes, carrots).
Now, if after a restrictive diet – and not just ketogenic – the question is to control overeating to avoid the return of lost pounds or a binge eating, which has a chance of occurring, so the benefits may be temporary, the best thing is to reintroduce gradually and moderately what was restricted. In the process, vary your diet, exercise regularly, and consider psychotherapy and meditation to curb stress and anxiety.