OK, I am just going to say it: fat does not make you fat; sugar makes you fat. The obsession over removing fat from our diet is a result of a tragically flawed study decades ago. The subsequent decision to replace natural sources of fat with nonfat, highly processed fake "food" loaded with sugars and chemicals has resulted in an obesity and health epidemic. It is time we understood and embrace the important role fat plays in a healthy, balanced diet.
It seems reasonable to conclude that eating fat would result in the body making fat. The problem is that the body does not work this way. The production of insulin as a result of eating a diet high in sugars is really to blame. Two things happen as a result of eating a high carbohydrate meal. First, insulin is spiked in order to move sugars around your body for energy. Unfortunately, your brain and muscles can only use so much of the stuff so the excess is moved into your tissues as fat. Second, the high insulin spike causes your blood sugar to quickly crash and for you to feel hungry. If you have ever eaten a big meal and then felt hungry again shortly after then you understand how insulin effects your appetite.
Current research shows that people on a low sugar diet have much higher HDL (good cholesterol) and much lower triglycerids (related to produtcion of bad LDL cholesterol). Once again, the more sugars we consume the higher the insulin levels and the more likely we are to be overweight and to have higher levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol. The takeaway is quite straightforward, avoid high levels of sugars to lose weight.
So, where does fat fit in? There are healthy and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy fats to keep in mind include transfats, saturated fats from factory raised animals, and vegetable oils. Transfats, also known as partially hydrogenated fat or partially hydrgenated vegetable oil, are designed to increase shelf life of processed foods. Transfats are difficult to digest, weaken cells and cause inflammation in the body. Factory farmed animals are fed a diet of corn and soy and injected with antibiotics and growth hormones. The fat from these animals is largely of the Omega 6 variety as a result of how they are raised. Vegetable oils are highly processed and share some of the same concerns as transfats. For whatever reason (how's that for science?) we just do not tolerate these highly processed fats and oils very well.
All that said, fat is an essential part of a good diet. Healthy fat works to raise good HDL and lower bad LDL cholesterol. The right fat in your diet works to reduce inflammation in the body and is associated with a lower risk of death. Maybe as important, fat helps balance our diet by reducing hunger cravings and helping to maintain blood sugar levels.
I encourage you to embrace and enjoy these healthy fats in your diet:
Nuts and seeds
Fatty fish including wild salmon and others
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coconut Oil (expeller pressed)
Pasture raised and grass fed animal products
Recipe: Salmon Salad is a quick and delicious way to get healthy fats along with plenty of nutritious greens. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
So, what's stopping you from eating healthy fats? Let me know what you think. I would love to hear your opinion!
As a Health Coach I help my clients include fats and reduce sugars as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Contact me today to schedule a FREE initial consultation.