Friday, March 25, 2011

Why are we afraid of FAT in our diet? Case-in-point: HEALTHY FAT vs The Low-Fat DIET

Why are we so afraid of fat? I rant often on the silly low-fat dieting craze.

Have you ever met someone who always has a cold, a sore throat, an ache, low energy? 
Chances are, part of the problem is they don't eat enough healthy fat in their diet.

A few months ago, I was in Starbucks and overheard a woman commiserating with her friend how she is "cutting out the fat" in her diet.  (I cringed.)
She ordered a beverage high in sugar and then tossed out the words "non-fat" at the end of her drink order. 
In the same conversation, she coughed a hard phlegmy cough and blew her nose. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. 

The myth, too, of her "non-fat" order, is that she was doing something good for her body. In truth, the sugar-fest she ordered will be converted directly to sugar(s) and feed her fat cells. 

But what else does fat do?

What is fat? And why do we think fat will make us fat?

There are essentially two kinds of fat. UNSATURATED and SATURATED fat.. Unsaturated is the HEALTHY fat.  
(Pay attention - there will be a quiz.)  

Unsaturated fat is found in plant foods and fish and healthy oils. These are good for heart health. You want a healthy heart, yes?
The best of the unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, albacore tuna, salmon, avocado and nuts. 

Now to the "bad" fat". Saturated. Saturated fats are found in some animal products (non-organic), foods with palm oil and the like, and often used in commercial baked goods (the kind you buy at the store). Eating too much saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. 
They are from unnatural sources - or "artificial" sources.  (Think.. "manufactured food.") 
Most artificial saturated fats are created through a man-made chemical process and have been shown to increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol.
Examples of "BAD" fats are anything with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, such as shortenings and margarines. (Been to a bakery lately?)

But here's the straight facts:
"HEALTHY" fat DOES provide needed energy. Are you dragging throughout the day? Are your workouts particularly difficult?
It is difficult to retain the energy you need on a high fat diet. A diet low in fat also may trigger food cravings.

Fat stays in your stomach longer, keeping you satisfied and preventing hunger between meals. Are you a constant snacker? What are you snacking on?

Fat is needed to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency and helps your body absorb the fat soluable vitamins A, D, E, and K. 
Since they are soluable in fat, they are absorbed by the body from the intestinal tract. They follow the same path of absorption as fat. 

(Do not confuse these with water-soluable vitamins. By contrast, water soluable vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored; they are eliminated in your urine. We need a continuous supply of them in our diets. The water soluable vitamins are the B-Complex group and Vitamin C.)

So what is the bottom line? We NEED fat in our bodies. Healthy fats. Fat provides flavor and texture as well to prevent food from being bland and dry. Fat provides back-up energy if blood sugar supplies run out, usually four to six hours without food. It also provides insulation in the skin from the heat and cold. Have you noticed your body's temperature gadge is off?

Did you know you need a supply of healthy fat in your diet to BURN fat?

Now take a look at your diet. How much healthy fat are you eating to keep your body running like the the efficient machine for which it was intended?

Tell me now which HEALTHY FATS are in YOUR diet?

1 comment:

  1. you said bad fats are saturated or trans fats, found in some animal products? which animal products?
    where does full cream milk fall in?
    red meat?