Not all fats are the same

The newest craze in the diet world is the low-fat diet and Im going to explain to you why you haven’t been seeing the results they promised. Not only will you not see results from a low fat diet, you may also be harming your body in the long run. For a long time fats have received the bad reputation of being bad for you and as a leading cause of obesity. This bad repuation has led many manufacturers to come out with low-fat products to cater to the “health concious” crowd. The problem with low-fat products is that when you remove the fat, you are left with a very bland food item. To counter this bland taste manufacturers pump their products with sugar or salt, leading to a whole new mess of problems. Before I go into the the negative side-effects of a low-fat, high sugar, salt or carbohydrate diet let me explain the different types of fats.

In the mind of many consumers, all fats have been lumped together. This couldn’t be more wrong, their are many different types of fats, some that are great and some that you should stay away from. The most common fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans fat. To make things clearer we made you a chart. While it’s true that you should do all you can too avoid foods high in saturated and trans fat, foods high in unsaturated fats should be a main part of your diet.

Unsaturated fats can..

  • Prevent and reduce symptoms of depression
  • Protect against memory loss and dementia and promote overall brain health
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol, stroke and cancer
  • Ease joint pain and skin conditions
  • Support a healthy pregnancy.

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So the trick isn’t to cut out fats all together, but lower your consumption of bad fats and increase your consumption of good fats.

Sugar and simple carbohydrates

Now back to why low fat diets arent actually helping you lose weight, and probably doing the contrary. When we cut out foods with fat, the majority of people substitute them with carbs. A diet high in carbs will actually lead to weight gain not weight loss. The real menace that had led to the obesity epidemic is the large amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates in our diets. Unlike fats, simple carbohydrates, like sugar and white bread, gets broken down in our bodies very quickly. This leads to to a spike in your sugar levels, when your body realizes it has all this extra energy, sugar, it begins to quickly store away all this excess energy in the form of fat. These spikes in your glucose (sugar) level leads to a drop soon after. When your glucose level drops you begin to feel hungry again, and you end up eating more throughout the day than if you would have had a balanced meal, a protein with fat and complex carbohydrate, that doesnt cause these spikes in your glucose level. That is because it takes longer for your body to break down foods with fats like fish, chicken, avocado or beans. Examples of complex carbs are 100% whole wheat rice, bread, whole fruits, and vegetables.

Sodium

Then theres the food manufacturs that increase the amount of salt in the their low-fat products to make up for the lack of taste. A diet that is high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for death in women in the United States, contributing to almost 200,000 female deaths each year. High levels of sodium can lead to stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney stones, enlarged heart muscles, and even weight gain. The reccomended amount of sodium intake should be around 1500 mg of sodium, the average person consumes double or even triple that amount. A large portion of that intake comes from soft drinks (especially diet soft drinks) and pre packaged food.

Conclusion

To recap what was discussed, its important that you understand the difference between good fats and bad fats. You should still stay away from products that have trans fat and high levels of saturated fats. Don’t shy away from fatty rich foods like avocado, nuts, and olive oil because you think it will make you gain weight, you also cant over indulge. 25% of the the calories you consume should come from fats, mostly unsaturated fats. Watch out for the large amount of sodium, sugar and carbohydrates in low-fat and non-fat products. The most important habit we recommend our readers to have is to remember ALWAYS READ THE LABELS of what you are eating or drinking.

 

 

http://www.helpguide.org/life/healthy_diet_fats.htm
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/The-Effects-of-Excess-Sodium-on-Your-Health-and-Appearance_UCM_454387_Article.jsp
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/dangers-high-sodium-diets