What Is a High Fat Diet?

K.C. Bruning

A high fat diet may include heavy consumption of nuts, red meat, dairy products with full or partial fat, desserts, and many kinds of processed foods. Though high fat foods are typically associated with weight gain, there are some weight loss diets, such as the Atkins plan, which promote the consumption of high protein foods, which are often also high fat. While there are also some medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, for which doctors suggest following a high fat diet, it has been proven that, for the most part, this kind of diet is detrimental to health.

Most red meat is high in cholesterol and fat.
Most red meat is high in cholesterol and fat.

Eating a high fat diet has been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease. Excessive consumption of high fat foods is also believed to contribute to high cholesterol and blood pressure. It can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes as well.

Potato chips are typically high in fat.
Potato chips are typically high in fat.

The Atkins plan is one of the most famous high fat diets. It prescribes an eating regimen low in carbohydrates and high in protein-rich and, often, high fat foods. While the diet has led to long-term weight loss for numerous people, the content of the foods consumed puts these individuals at a higher risk for the diseases connected with excessive fat intake.

A high fat diet typically leads to weight gain.
A high fat diet typically leads to weight gain.

A medically-prescribed high fat diet, such as that for cystic fibrosis, may be necessary in order for the patient to absorb necessary calories and nutrients. This can include the consumption of red meats, nuts, and even junk food. Even though these foods may be recommended, it is important for patients to also get adequate exercise and eat plenty of healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as high fat foods can still have a harmful effect even if they are necessary to sustain the patient.

Avocados are a good source of fat.
Avocados are a good source of fat.

There have also been studies that examine the connection between a high fat diet and cancer. After adopting a diet in which sugar and carbohydrates were replaced by fatty foods, some patients who had not responded to other treatments had their tumors shrink. Called the ketogenic diet, it gets its name from ketones, fatty molecules that replace the energy the body previously drew from sugar and carbohydrates.

Eating large amounts of fatty foods is harmful for your health.
Eating large amounts of fatty foods is harmful for your health.

Some kinds of fats, such as omega-3s and monounsaturated varieties, can be healthy when consumed in moderation. Olive oil, nuts, and avocados all provide significant benefits. Other fats, such as trans fat and saturated fat, are best avoided or consumed in small amounts. Foods with these fats include deep fried dishes, junk food, red meat, and many processed foods.

When you consume fat, choose a monounsaturated one like heart-friendly olive oil.
When you consume fat, choose a monounsaturated one like heart-friendly olive oil.
High-fat diets often lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
High-fat diets often lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.
Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.

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