In this post we discuss the truth about eating fat and debunk perhaps one of the most widespread mistruths about fat in our diets.
Fats have somewhat been labelled the danger foods and to be avoided at all costs. However the problem with this attitude is that most people don't realize that we actually NEED good fats to be healthy.
In recent years many people have attempted to lose weight by adopting a low fat diet, we only need to look on the supermarket shelves and we can see a wide range of products from cakes to yogurt, and a whole array of desserts which are all labelled "low fat", however more and more people are coming round to the opinion that a low fat diet doesn't necessarily help you lose weight. This argument is given weight (excuse the pun) by looking at the American diet where they have increased their intake of low fat food but still their obesity rate continues to rise.
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What About Health Problems Caused by Fat?
It's also believed that following a low fat diet can increase the risk of other health problems Dr Miller says how in the 1900's only 0.7 % of the American population were obese at which point their diets were high in saturated fats whereas in today's society where people have adopted a low fat diet the obesity rate is at 32 % with a further 33% being overweight.
He also links the raise in obesity to the consumption of processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils and carbohydrates which have taken the place of saturated fat from sources such as grass-fed red meat. He believes that the average person should in fact aim to get an average of 60-70 % of their calories from fat, 15-25% protein and a mere 10-15% from carbohydrate sources.
This type of high fat diet has been promoted by many experts in the field of health, one of the most famous being Sally Fallon who co-authored the book "Eat Fat Lose Fat".
Sally Fallon writes along with Dr Mary Enig (who's a world-renowned biochemist and fats expert) about the importance of consuming saturated fats such as coconut oil, organic butter and grass-fed organic red meat in order to achieve weight loss. It is believed that the right kind of saturated fat is vital in the diet and helps our body to function optimally.
Saturated fats are used by the body for a numerous significant biological roles and are a vital part of cells membranes including the cells in our heart's muscles, as well as being essential for our bones to absorb calcium.
Switching Your Focus to Natural Fats
Dr Mary Enig reports that fats made by humans such as margarine, partially hydrogenated shortening and polyunsaturated oils are in fact not serving our health but rather we should be looking to eat natural fats such as palm and coconut oils, butter and lard. She believes that man-made fats have led to a decreased level of quality foods and specifically that of good fats.
She also reports how when people follow a low fat diet they raise their calorie intake usually by consuming more carbohydrates which are normally eaten in the form of highly processed white flour and refined sugars.
When people eat a high carbohydrate diet they do not get the feeling of satisfaction after eating which in turn often leads to over-eating of carbohydrates.
It is also important to note that many nutrients are fat soluble which means they need to be eaten alongside fat in order for our bodies to use them, therefore if we follow a low fat diet our body cannot absorb as many nutrients.
Omega 3 and 6
Dr. Dwight Lundell a heart surgeon with 25 years' experience who has spoken out about the risks of low fat diets says that we need to go back to the diet our grandmothers followed and eliminate inflammatory foods from our diets he says that foods that cause inflammation are ones which have too many omega 6 fatty acids which although are essential when not consumed in balance with omega 3 can cause inflammation which then leads to many diseases. He goes back to the fact that omega 6 is found in excess in oils that are man-made such as soy bean oil.
In short whether or not you believe that a low fat diet can lead to obesity there is more and more evidence that indicates we need to get back to eating foods in their natural state. So you might just want to think twice when you see all the "99% Fat Free" labels in your face when doing your food shopping.
The Healthy Alternatives
Foods such as chia seeds which are a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids as well as being high in protein are a great food to add into your diet as they provide carbohydrate which are slowly converted into sugars unlike processed carbohydrates in white bread and other foods at the same time it is also a great source of protein.
To lose weight it's also important to avoid complex carbohydrates that are in white sugars and many snacks so rather than eating conventional sugar laden snacks you may want to be creative and try making your own treats using coconut sugar or agave syrup as an alternative..
Either way nourishing your body with healthy foods and adding in superfoods that are rich in vitamins in minerals is the key for health and wellness.
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Yours in health and wellness.