It's incredible to think that nearly two decades deep into the 21st century, many of us still hold tight to the 1950s notion that dietary fat makes us fat. It's just not true. When you cut out dietary fact, you gain fat, mostly in your belly. Let me explain.

In the world of food, we have three macronutrients called protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Everything under that is a micronutrient of some sort.

If we cut out, or drastically reduce dietary fat, we're left with protein and carbohydrates.

I'm not a low-carb kinda gal. I really like carbohydrates of the unrefined nature - mostly vegetables, some fruits, and I even like rice, potatoes and lentils - so no one could ever say I follow a paleo diet.

Because I eat a good amount of fat and some protein with every meal, I don't have crazy cravings for sugar. This is the lynchpin of success for anyone who wants to lose weight - especially through their belly.

It still seems that the knee jerk reaction to getting rid of belly fat is to eliminate fat from the diet...immediately. While cutting back on certain foods, including unhealthy fats, is important. The "no fat" approach to dieting has a lot of people throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Excess fat throughout the body is unhealthy, but when it accumulates throughout the midsection in large amounts, it's particularly dangerous. Foods labeled "no fat" or "low fat" beg to be bought as we walk through the aisles of supermarkets.

Here are a few good reasons why you should avoid fat free diets, and a few simple changes you can make to ensure you're eating healthy fats that will only make you healthier!

1) No fat diets are almost always higher in sugar - the very thing that creates fat when eaten in excess, and is commonly stored in the belly.

2) No fat diets wreak havoc on our insulin (aka the fat storage hormone), throwing it off and creating instability - leading to more belly fat.

3) No fat diets can put our body into a sort of "fight or flight" much more than a diet that has less sugar and more protein/fat. Fight or flight is like putting our body into constant overdrive, which 'stresses' our body - even though we might not feel like it. This type of stress can lead to greater belly fat.

What can you do?

1) Listen to your body. If you're starving 2 or so hours after a meal, you either ate too little in general, too little fat or possibly protein, or just ate too much sugar.

2) DO NOT fear good fats, including eggs, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, etc. Include a small amount with every meal and snack.

3) DO eat a reasonable amount of protein with every meal. Many foods that contain fats also contain some protein, like eggs, chicken thighs, lean turkey, lean beef, nut butters, etc.

If you have belly fat, the worst thing you can do is eat too little or skip meals. Eat healthy, clean foods consistently to keep your metabolism optimal.

Eat healthy! Your body deserves it.

Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!