Regardless of what anyone tells you, I am going to tell you one thing. Fat makes you fat. It is as simple as that. Fat is loaded with calories and you can only lose weight if your calorie “input”, which is your food consumption, is less than your calorie “output” — which is the calories you burn off through the day.

I know how hard it is to cut out the fried stuff. In a weak moment, that fried jalebi looks like it is begging to be consumed. Or a pack of chips seems like the answer to life’s problems. Believe me when I say it is simply not worth it. Tell yourself you could consume a delicious, sweet juicy fruit, and be just as happy. Well, almost.

Whenever you pass up the medu vada for the idli, congratulate yourself. Once you make the effort, you will find it becomes easier to spurn the samosas and ditch the desserts. But don’t just stop there. Go buy yourself a trendy accessory. Try out a new perfume. These little things work as huge morale boosters, because not only did you say no to fat, you did something special for yourself.

As we get further into this chapter, you will fully understand why fat is the single most important factor that leads to a dieter’s downfall.

One gram of fat equals 9 calories. One gram of carbohydrates or one gram of proteins equals 4 calories.

As you can see, compared to proteins and carbohydrates, fats contain more than double the calories — it is obvious why dieters must severely restrict their fat intake! Limiting fat in the diet automatically brings down overall calorie consumption.

Visible fats such as oil, butter, ghee and margarine are easily identified. But there are hidden fats present in almost all foods, in varying amounts. For example, cheese could have milk fat of up to 70 per cent. Oily fish such as tuna or sardines also have a high fat content. Even certain vegetables, like avocado for example, are high in fat.

While some amount of fat is required in your diet, it has to be kept to a minimum. In fact, dieters should cut their fat consumption to roughly 15 per cent of their daily calorie intake.

What happens when supply exceeds demand?

If you put extra petrol in a car with a full tank, the tank overflows. In the same way, once your body has had its daily requirement of, let’s say, 1700 calories, and you insist on stuffing in 2000 calories, the extra 300 calories “overflow”.

This overflow turns into fat and is stored in your fat cells. However, if more and more fat keeps coming in, the cells are forced to expand. There comes a point when the cells expand so much, they can no longer store any more fat, so they multiply, to make room for all the additional fat that is coming in.

When fat intake is reduced, fat cells shrink in size. But once fat cells have been formed, the number of fats cells does not decrease.

Fat File

Did you know, even with a reduced fat supply, your fat cells never disappear? They merely shrink as the fat is depleted, and will expand again if the fat supply increases!

Are all types of oils and fats equal as far as calories are concerned?

Yes. Every type of oil - groundnut, sunflower, mustard, olive, sesame, or any other – all contain 9 calories per gram. Butter and ghee also add up to 9 calories per gram. If you want to lose weight, it is crucial to limit your daily consumption of fats.

What are good fats and bad fats? What does it mean?

Examples of good fats are monounsaturated fats such as olive, peanut and canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, from plant sources such as corn and sunflower are also considered beneficial. These are considered good fats because, when consumed in small quantities, they reduce blood cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

However, ayurveda encourages the consumption of ghee. In India, traditional cooking methods make use of ghee, butter and locally available cooking oil.

Myth: Fats should be eliminated from the diet.

Fact: Limit but do not eliminate fats. Fat is required by the body in small amounts. It is the most misunderstood of all essential nutrients. Fats are needed by the body to build cells, provide energy, preserve body heat and protect the organs from damage. Vitamins A, D, E and K are dissolved in fat, and fat is needed for their absorption.