Do you enjoy full-cream yogurt? What about butter and cheese? Do you want to eat all these “fattening” foods and still lose weight? It is possible. What about your health? Cholesterol levels? Heart-attack-on-a-plate food?
Traditionally, fat was seen as evil incarnate when it came to dieting or eating healthily. Saturated fat, especially, was the fat you should really avoid. However, there have been studies that have revolutionized the way modern nutritionists understand the impact of fats and carbohydrates in our diets.
The healthy fats
The good news is that fats are actually healthy for you. They are energy-rich sources of nutrition, contain added vitamins and are essential for our nervous system. Fat also helps you feel full for longer, so you will not be reaching for that 10 a.m. sugary snack fix if you have had breakfast with enough protein and fat.
What is saturated fat? What about the other kinds of fat? Saturated fats stay solid at room temperature and can be animal- or plant-based, such as butter, coconut oil, lard and suet.
What studies have shown is that it is not fat but the amount of carbohydrates being consumed that impacts the risk of heart disease. If you are overdoing it on all fronts, then it is a recipe for disaster. In fact, if you reduce too much fat from your diet and increase carbohydrates, your risk of heart disease and diabetes increases.
So, what increases the risk of disease?
Food for thought when we live in a world obsessed with low-fat products: When your calorie and protein levels remain the same, but you increase carbs and decrease fat, a fatty acid called palmitoleic acid grows more prominent. This increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes.
In fact, the increased carbs are converted to fat and stored, leaving you with less available energy in your body. “Store! Store!” is the message your body gets. You are caught in a cycle where you may be trying to cut down on fat, lose weight and be healthy, but this strategy will not produce results and will leave you feeling hungry.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, it was believed that it was healthy to cut down fat consumption drastically and reduce saturated fats in particular — especially butter, meat fat and dairy products. Instead, low-fat food options became increasingly popular. Fat is a substance that carries flavor, and without it, food can be bland and unpalatable. How did manufacturers try to solve this problem? Well, you will find that low-fat products, such as yogurt, tend to have a lot of sugar added to compensate.
What’s the way out?
What do you do? Well, it is time to rethink your relationship to fats and carbs. No, you cannot have a lot of both. If you eat a diet that is too high in carbs, your body still gets the “store” message. Instead, switch to a low-carb diet. You will consume fewer calories overall, you will feel full for longer and you can eat some of the delicious fats that you have probably been avoiding.
You will also benefit from moving away from the peaks and valleys of a carb-rich diet. Once you are eating for more sustainable energy, your body will burn fat and switch off its storage mode program. If you eat too many carbs, it will go into storage mode again.