Fattening Foods

fattening foods
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What the media has fed you

As most of us know by now; the media is powerful. However, with this power comes great responsibility to supply the public with the facts rather than what will sell – something that many media sources are not taking seriously.

Think about it though, what property must a specific type of food have to be considered “fattening”? Foods that are high in sugar, fat or carbohydrates? After asking the public what they felt about “fattening foods” the most common misconceptions were…


  1. Eating food that contains fat will make you gain fat
  2. “Sugary” foods, cakes, fast food and so called “unhealthy foods” cause fat gain
  3. Carbohydrates, Gluten and wheat make you gain fat

I’ll begin by stating straight off the bat that none of this is true, however I believe that in order to believe me – you’ll want a more detailed explanation. As usual with my articles, we’re looking at the science (Apparently I’m morphing into some form of lecturer/weight lifter hybrid) but don’t worry – no calculations!

How do you actually gain fat?

Before we talk about calories and gaining fat, let’s briefly explain what keeps our bodies ticking over every day. Your body requires energy to perform its daily tasks such as breathing, training, talking and even concentrating. The more work you do, the more energy (calories) your body requires. This is referred to as the “energy balance” and basically means you need to provide your body with the same amount of calories that you burn in order to maintain your weight.

This energy (aka. Calories) is obtained from the food we eat and is used to provide the energy for all the done work in the body. Calories are to your body as petrol is to a car. If you don’t give it the fuel that it needs – it just won’t move!

The first law of thermodynamics (basically, a fancy physics law) states that “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed” – and this holds true for your body’s energy, too! If you consume more calories than your body needs, the energy contained within it must go somewhere! Simply put, if we consume more calories than we burn, we store the excess energy as either fat or muscle. The first law of thermodynamics has been obeyed.

You are NOT what you eat

Calories in versus calories out; this is what dictates fat gain. Not by eating fat, sugar or the media’s new favourite enemy: Gluten. Remember, it’s calories that cause fat gain – not the food itself! Eating protein rich foods won’t put pure protein on to your body (someone please tell the Bro’s at the gym this fact…) and the same rule applies for fat. The human body is far more complex than that.

Why do we blame the doughnuts then?

Certain foods or food groups are mistakenly labelled as so called “fattening foods” not because they have this magical ability add some more to those love handles but because they are so easy to consume in high quantities. Needless to say, higher quantities of food equals higher calories and we know now that it’s calories that cause fat gain – not the delicious tub of Ben and Jerrys. It’s just a hell of a lot easier to eat 2000 calories worth of Cookie Dough Ice Cream than it is to eat 2000 calories worth of spinach.

That’s a lot of spinach. Even for Popeye.

Do any foods promote fat gain, or prevent it?

There are studies showing that those that consume high quantities of sugar are more likely to store excess calories as fat as opposed to lean muscle tissue, though this may be due to underlying issues such as diabetes and other metabolic disorders, not the sugar itself. As for “fat burning foods” – don’t believe the hype; because that’s all it is. No food groups “promote” fat gain OR prevent it. Trust me, if there actually WAS a fat burning food we would all be runway models by now.

Take home message

If a food was fattening based purely on its ability to cause you to gain weight based on how many calories it contains, technically anything can be “fattening”. A tablespoon of oil contains 135 calories and two bananas contains 200 calories… does this mean that a banana is “fattening”? Think about this. It’s important because once you understand how your body actually gains fat you’ll find that you’ll never have to “diet” again. Remember, it’s all about those calories; not the food from which they came from.

So yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

About the Author

Michelle is a scientist, an athlete and a writer and she’s proud to have faced her demons head on and she’s beating them. In weight lifting she found an outlet to help change her life – and she’s loving it! Follow her journey with BULK POWDERS®.

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