Keeping the Fat in Your Diet

As a trainer, I’m not one for stocking unhealthy snacks, baking sweets or making fattening meals. I shop the perimeter of the store and keep our diet as clean as possible. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you stick to the natural products and control your portions there’s no need to go for the ‘fat free’ or ‘sugar free’ options.

GASP, right? Eat fat? Eat sugar? What kind of advice is that coming from a trainer?

Let me explain…

When things like fat or sugar are removed from foods, the flavor changes. So to make those foods more flavorful, artificial ingredients are added. Our bodies are designed to process nutrients in their purest form. While we can digest artificial ingredients, we don’t process them as efficiently as products that exist in their pure form without modifications.

The other thing I have experienced is that when consuming foods that consist of artificial fillers to replace the missing flavors, I’m not as easily satisfied. I tend to eat more for two reasons 1) the craving isn’t satisfied as quickly and 2) it’s fat or sugar free so how bad can it actually be?

So while I don’t approve of snacking on junk, or eating foods prepared with heavy sauces, I do think that eating full fat yogurts and using olive oil are good choices. And so it seems Swedish scientists agree.

On December 6th, Sweden became the first Western nation to reject the low-fat diet dogma, in favor of low-carb, high-fat nutrition. The switch in dietary advice followed the publication of a two-year study by the independent Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment. The committee reviewed 16,000 studies published through May 31, 2013. Click here to read more about their findings.

Here’s what I hope you take away from my blog today:

  • Stick to what is natural and drop the artificial additives
  • Be mindful of your portions – fats are only bad when consumed in excess portions

goodandbad fats

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Avoiding the Additives

As a mom of three I know how difficult it can be to keep the processed foods out of the cabinets. I do my best to make sure the healthy options outnumber the processed choices but compromise on some items for the sake of peace and happiness.

There are several items that appear in the ingredients of the majority of processed foods that I would recommend avoiding if possible.

Artificial Colors and Flavors: manufacturers use artificial colors to enhance the look of their products. Many of these can be linked to allergic reactions, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue, hyperactivity and headaches.

Artificial Sweeteners: many “diet” foods contain chemically-derived artificial sweeteners to reduce the caloric content of the food, however, fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. As an “artificial” product your body has difficulty processing the substance and ultimately it can have a negative impact on your metabolism.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): this has become a cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar and is often used to maintain freshness in baked goods. While it is derived from corn it is so highly processed that your body doesn’t digest it like normal food. Regular consumption of HFCS can lead to obesity, type 2-diabetes and high cholesterol.

Hydrogenated Oils: these are industrially created fats – yuck! They are often used because they are cheaper than other oils. The true danger is they contain high levels of trans fats, which can lead to a raise in bad cholesterol levels and heart disease.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): many restaurants use MSG to enhance the flavors of their foods and as a result stimulate appetites. The side affects of MSG may be headaches, nausea and weakness.

Refined Grains: if you see the words “enriched” or “bleached” step away from the package! Refined grains are often found in things like white rice, white pasta, white breads and low fiber sugar filled cereal. Instead look for foods that use the words “whole grain” or “oats” and ones that are high in fiber.

You might not be able to completely avoid processed foods, but you can at least try to make better choices for those foods.

If you first fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products you’ll find you have less room for those things that aren’t good for you.