Dietary fat is not the enemy!
I was just starting out in college during the heyday of the fat-free movement. Endless fat-free Snackwell cookies, fat free muffins in the morning, you name it. All day and all night. Low fat, high carb. I'll let you guess whether or not I gained the freshman 15:)
We were simply doing what we were told by the media, and the food companies pushing their new products. Unfortunately a lot was not widely known and shared about the role that hormones play in our weight management. The mistake was thinking that eating more fat would make us more fat.
We need to talk science for a minute. There are three hormones you must understand: Insulin, Leptin, and Ghrelin.
Concentrated sugars and starches raise our insulin, and our body's tendency to store energy as fat. Fats and moderate protein on the other hand, raise levels of Leptin, and signal to our body that we are full and satisfied. Ghrelin on the other hand, is stimulated when our stomach is empty. It tells our brain to turn on appetite and eat.
Here's an example of these at work: imagine a low calorie, low fat diet that is comprised of processed foods. Imagine a breakfast of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a lunchtime lean cuisine microwave meal, and dinner of low fat pizza.
All that starch--> stimulates insulin levels to be higher--> fat storage
Low fat--> leptin levels are low, and our body never has that truly satisfied feeling. This will cause a constant feeling of hunger and deprivation. Ghrelin levels will be high because you stomach will feel empty even though you ate.
Low calorie-->over time the body wants to hold on to weight because it does not think it's getting what it needs.
Moving to meals that are made primarily of non-starchy vegetables, moderate protein, with lots of healthy fats are satiating, delicious, and keep the hormones in check! This is key to sustained weight loss.