Before you allow a “fatty foods for a flat stomach” hype-meister to pull you in, keep in mind that there are 9 (count’em… NINE) calories in a gram of dietary fat. It doesn’t matter if the fat is ‘healthy’ from a cardiovascular standpoint; it doesn’t matter that it’s unsaturated. As far as your waistline’s concerned, it makes no difference that you consume the fat from a few tablespoons of Olive Oil rather than the moist and juicy mid-section of a Double-Whopper with Cheese; too much dietary fat equals too many calories. This means the “fatty foods for a flat stomach” brigade is pushing a truism in one context (health) in order to get your attention in another context (flatter abdominals).
Here are some straight-forward facts that many ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ marketers don’t tell you upfront:
- Better health is dependent (at least partially) on leaner abdominals.
- Better health is dependent on better HDL to LDL cholesterol levels.
- Getting better abdominals is partly dependent on lowering overall calorie intake.
- Too much dietary fat from ANY source can easily add up to too many calories.
- Switching from unhealthy fats do healthy ones can improve cardiovascular health – but won’t automatically make your waistline flatter.
- Many people need to reduce calorie intake (including that from “good fats”) in order to flatten their mid-sections.
Yes, we do need some fat in our diets in order to maintain healthy hormone levels and lose body fat. As the ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ experts will gladly tell you – we need Omega-3 fatty acids for their health-enhancing properties. We need monounsaturated fat to lower LDL cholesterol levels, raise HDL levels, and reduce the risk of disease. But these benefits don’t negate the fact that fats from all sources are calorie dense and need to be monitored closely.
A story will illustrate the point. There’s a woman here in San Diego who’s probably one of the top personal trainers in the U.S. (You get a FREE interview of her as a bonus on this page). She recently had a female client who’d been strictly following her training and eating protocol. The client was steadily losing body fat on about 1,500 calories a day. Then… out of nowhere, the client began putting fat pounds back on. This fitness client insisted she was eating only the foods and total calories that had been prescribed. However, upon deeper questioning, the trainer discovered the client was dumping about three to four tablespoons of Olive Oil into everything she cooked:
“What’s the matter” the client asked, dumbfounded. “I thought it was okay to eat a lot of this; it’s ‘healthy’ fat.”
True – it’s “healthy”… as in non-artery-clogging, but there’s no such thing as low-calorie dietary fat. When we consume too much, it still ends up as body-sagging cellulite.
“Fatty Foods for a Flat Stomach”: ‘Nutritious’ doesn’t mean ‘low in calories’
Any ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ marketer worth his or her salt wants to surprise you. He or she wants you to say:
“Wow… I didn’t know I could eat egg yolks – Hot Damned… wakie-wakie-eggs-and-bakie.”
Well, maybe most of them wouldn’t include the bacon.
I’m an egg lover myself. I’ve never stopped eating them – yolk and all. I’ve even eaten the yolks when getting super lean and shredded. But that doesn’t mean I can eat them with reckless abandon; I’ll limit it to two whole eggs per meal mixed with a few egg whites. If I eat three or four egg yolks in a meal, I’ll typically have to reduce my carbohydrates for that meal so it doesn’t add up to too many calories.
Those who hype up the ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ mantra often tout the health benefits of egg yolks in a seeming attempt to be surprisingly contrarian:
“The yolk is where the nutrition is”, they’ll say with self-contented expertise. “Elimination of the yolk shows the widespread ignorance of nutrition running rampant today.”
While I won’t deny that there are vitamins and minerals present in egg yolks that aren’t found in the whites, it doesn’t mean those specific nutrients are only obtainable from eggs and nowhere else. Drawing the logical conclusion from thinking so could lead one to believe that the more whole eggs one eats – the healthier one will be. Or it could at least steer one to conclude that everyone who doesn’t eat egg yolks is a health-wreck just waiting to happen – an absurdity revealed by open-eyed observation; many lifetime lean and very healthy people leave eggs completely out of their diets.
Likewise, while eating only the egg white does leave out any nutrients from the yolk that could have otherwise been obtained from THAT food source during THAT specific meal, it doesn’t mean eating the whites by themselves is “bad.” Quite the contrary: egg whites are full of protein. So, if I eat a meal in which I get my share of dietary fat from another source (such as almonds or beef), it might be better for me (calorie-wise) to only eat the egg whites when using eggs as an additional protein source for that meal.
‘Fatty Foods for a Flat Stomach’: The purported foods
Here’s a typical list of ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ you’ll find provided by the fat-loss gurus:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Beef from ‘grass-fed cows’
- Butter from ‘grass-fed cows’
- Eggs from ‘free-range chickens’
Let’s start with salmon. There’s no denying that this fish provides a boat-load of healthy fat. Most of the fat it contains is unsaturated, along with highly beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. These make it a terrific food for reducing the odds of disease and enhancing cardiovascular health.
But what about reducing belly fat?
What’s often cited as exclusively leanness-producing about this food item is a Swedish study in which participants who ate salmon for lunch consumed 11% fewer calories at dinner than those who ate an equal caloric intake of beef for lunch.
Eleven percent? That means if someone was eating 2,000 calories with the beef lunch, their salmon-eating counterpart ate 1,780 calories… presumably because the salmon was more filling. What’s not reported is how lean the beef was in the study. Since dietary fat creates satiation, couldn’t certain cuts of beef have created the same hunger-curbing effect? I’m not questioning salmon’s health-enhancing effects – only its uniqueness as a fatty food for a flat stomach.
Personally, I once became temporarily addicted to eating about three slabs of salmon per week. Since it’s ‘healthy’ and I have a proclivity for eating big portions, I began imperceptibly augmenting these fillets. My subsequently expanding waistline apparently couldn’t delineate between calories from salmon and those from any other source. Salmon started making me fat.
We’ve already discussed Olive Oil. It’s great for health, but that doesn’t negate the fact there are 120 calories in every tablespoon. Beware! I once started dumping more of it in bodybuilding smoothies for the same reason I augmented my salmon fillets, resulting in the same hideous effect.
Coconut oil is promoted by the ‘fatty foods for a flat stomach’ crowd for its medium chain triglyceride content. I recall when medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) were all the bodybuilding rage back in the mid-90s. They were touted as the “fat that helps you lose fat.” MCT supporters still claim that the molecular structure of this stuff gives it less chance of turning into fat in our bodies than do long-chain triglycerides.
That might or might not be true. If true, the extent of the phenomenon is never mentioned. What’s definitely true is that there are about 120 calories in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Health benefits notwithstanding, too much coconut oil can make us fat.
Beef from grass-fed cows sounds good to me. I’m about as carnivorous as a human can be. And I do believe that beef from the grass fed cows probably tastes better than the stuff from their corn-fed counterparts. It might even be healthier. But show me how the lard hanging off a grass-fed cow’s butt contains fewer calories than that of the corn-eater and I might pay the hassle and price of gaining solid evidence that a cow I’m eating grazed on the green hillside.
The same goes for eggs from free-range chickens. Obviously, what brings down the price of food for all of us is the food being more mass-produced. We each have to weigh the cost/benefits when deciding whether to go for the stuff that’s less mass-produced. One of those benefits might be the presence of more carotenoids and yellow pigment, vitamins, and rich flavor in the egg yolks of free-range chickens. But how this makes them a “fatty food for a flat stomach” is never comprehensively explained.
Almonds are the only food listed above that that I might buy into as possessing something special for contributing to a lean waistline. Studies show that the unique fiber contained in almonds appears to block some of the fat and other calories from being absorbed by the intestinal walls.
But as has been the theme of this article… beware of overindulgence. I could personally get as addicted to eating a jar of almonds as I could to dipping into the chip bowl at a party. This can lead to fat gain just like excessive calories from other sources.
‘Fatty Foods for a Flat Stomach’: Conclusion
I’ll never attempt to dissuade anyone from consuming the foods listed above for their health enhancing benefits. Without cardiovascular health, we can’t engage in the rigorous exercise that produces a strong and lean body. In this way, the foods listed can contribute indirectly to the outcome of flat and ripped abdominals.
Just don’t forget the direct effects of calorie-dense foods. And remember that ‘good fats’ are just as calorie-dense as the less healthy fats.
To make sure you get enough dietary fat without getting too much (over 30%), you can use our FREE meal calculator whenever you’d like. And don’t forget to email me if you want items added to the calculator.