- Diet & Weight Loss
Low Fat High Risk
Low Fat High Risk
In our society we've seen obesity rates skyrocket, which has led to a greater push in the wrong direction. For the most part, people are aware that fat is necessary in the diet. At the same time, there are still plenty of products boasting "reduced" and "fat free" labels. We as consumers need to be careful about products giving off the false sense of being healthy.
Many foods have the fat removed or reduced to go along with the low fat mentality. We're consuming products high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the products are praised because they're low in fat. Worst of all is when there are so-called experts telling everyone to opt for fat free this and fat free that.
But It Makes you Fat
What people need to understand is the fact that too much fat can be bad, but for the most part, our obesity rates have more to do with the types and the refined foods we eat. The charts to the right show obesity rates over the past 20 years. This is with a society that eats less animal fats than ever before.
We didn't always have fat-free yogurt, skinless chicken, lean beef, skim milk, etc. We also didn't always have obesity rates like we do at a time where saturated fat is taken out of everything. In 1990, no state had an obesity rate of 15% or more, today no state is less than 20%. The 90s were when the low fat diet craze really took off, but the statistics have gotten far worse.
I read an article a couple of months ago about bodybuilding where the writer said that fat shouldn't be in the diet because it makes you fat. That goes right along with the misconception that removing fat from foods helps you stay lean. People can argue that we consume more fat than ever before, but we actually consume far more processed, artificial, etc than every before, yet many are still telling us to opt for low fat this and fat free that.
Many of our foods contain bleached flour, enriched flour, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other unnatural ingredients with no real nutritional value. All of those foods are stored in the body as fat. I remember being in college and guys chugging whey protein shakes. I was getting more muscle definition just eating food and watched some of those guys put on more flab than bulk.
The Fats We Eat
We all hear that we should limit the saturated fat in our diets as this is the 'bad' fat. I am not going to jump up and tell anyone to pile on the bacon, but we have to understand that bad fats come from bad sources. As a society, we eat less saturated fat than ever before. We eat more meat with the fat removed and the most commonly used fats come from plant sources.
Instead of butter, which is naturally high in saturated fat, we use margarine, which is pretty much a glob of flavorless trans-fat. For people who don't want to eat butter, that's fine, but don't look for alternatives that falsely claim to be healthy.
I recently sat down to dinner at a restaurant and couldn't help but notice the words "Foods cooked in 100% vegetable oil", somehow implying that the food was healthier because they used soybean, cottonseed, canola, or some other type of oil that's been used more in the past 20 years. When unsaturated oil is used to cook with, it becomes rancid, releasing free radicals, which are known to cause cancer, heart disease, etc.
Hydrogenated oils are trans-fats and many products have gotten away with false claims of 0 trans-fat, but these hydrogenated oils can be found in tortillas, baked goods, candy bars, so-called health foods, and the list goes on.
Saturated fat can be found in many foods that are known to be healthy like coconuts, almonds, and avocados. Saturated fat shouldn't mean duck and run, clearly the foods I just listed are more beneficial to your heart than the foods with a heart symbol on the package.
Fat, A Must Have
Without fat in the diet, the body's left wide open to vitamin A, D, E, and K deficiency and if you received the type of information I received from the nutrition education I had while in college, you may fear you'll get too many of these vitamins.
Worrying about too many vitamins is like being in a hot desert and worrying about too much water. That's not to say you should pop a handful of multivitamins and not expect to get sick, but if your diet is deficient in fat, you can expect to be deficient in vitamins. Vitamins A,D,E, and K are fat soluble, meaning they rely on fat in the diet to be absorbed and used by the body.
Many people who avoid fat, tend to eat more carbohydrates, increasing appetite, while limiting nutrient absorption, a direct link to conditions such as cancer and diabetes. When fat is removed oftentimes, flavor goes with it, leading to an increased use of flavor enhancers, many of which linger around for dieters.
Fat is needed for normal brain function and the brain is made of about 60% fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to greatly enhance healthy brain function. Eliminating healthy fat from the diet is ultimately a dumb decision in more ways than one.
Healthy dietary fat:
-Is needed to regulate body temperature.
-Helps keep blood sugar levels balanced.
-Helps the body with nutrient absorption.
-Protects skin cells from damage.
-Is necessary for all body systems.
-Is an essential energy source.
Instead of saying have this in moderation or limit that, I think it's fair to point out fats that have no place in the diet.
Sources of these bad trans and hydrogenated fats include margarine, shortening, soybean oil, canola oil, processed lard, and any food that contains them.
Trans-fats have been linked to diseases like cancer and heart disease, yet people are still told to cook with canola oil over coconut oil and hydrogenated oils are highly used in breads, candies, cereals, and snacks like animal crackers.
When choosing fat, opt for the wild caught salmon over the stir fry soaked in canola oil and the grass fed beef steak over the skinless tyson wings. Our society's increasingly eating foods in an unnatural manner, yet blaming the natural foods for unnatural ailments.
Good Fat Sources
Good fat sources are things like:
-Wild caught fish like salmon
When it comes to foods like steak, grass-fed beef tastes better and is far more superior for nutrition than what we typically find in stores. Leave the Foreman grill in the cabinet, and keep the fat.
Ultimately, I'm not recommending a high fat diet to anyone, I still believe vegetables reign supreme in a healthy diet. People need to understand that the culprit in most poor diets isn't the natural fat, but the unnatural ingredients and foods with the fat removed that should be looked at.