So, from Part 1 of this series we learnt that fat is responsible for making us look and feel good by helping to transport essential nutrients around the body. But, the burning question in regards to fat, is whether fat makes us FAT? This post is here to let you know that fat can actually make you LEAN!
Our body is a clever little thing… It knows when we are getting too much of something and it knows when we are getting too little. We relate it to the "Cave-Man Analogy". When we were stomping around the world in the Paleolithic era, hunting and gathering and not knowing when and where our next meal would come from, our body would store the essential nutrients that we were starved of to be used at a later time. This was a clever mechanism that allowed our ancestors to survive cold winters and large periods between meals. Obviously now, in the 21st century we are eating every few hours, so we are no longer in danger of "Starving" but the cave man analogy still plays a part in our lives.
Modern nutrition has messed with the way our body gets nutrients by stripping us of a very essential nutrient through the "low fat" diet. When the American Heart Association told the public in 1961 to lower their saturated fat consumption to prevent heart disease and high cholesterol we immediately became obsessed with all things fat, and made sure every meal had as little fat as possible. We thought we were doing the right thing-something that would keep us healthy in the long term. But funnily enough we got unhealthier as time went on. Fast forward 50 years and the rate of heart disease and diabetes is MUCH higher now than it was in 1961-even though we have been perfect "low Fat" disciples for many decades.
This is partly due to the above mentioned "cave-man" analogy. We have starved our bodies so much of fat that we have come to store every last morsel that we eat and have not taught our bodies to metabolise it effectively. We have also seen a rapid decline in our health due to the fact that we have replaced fat with carbohydrates and sugar. The balanced diet from the 1950's with equal parts of carbs, protein and fat has been replaced with the low fat diet where as much as 80% of our daily calories are coming from carbohydrates. This has resulted in us getting fatter and fatter and unhealthier and unhealthier.
The presence of fat in our diet, not only ensures we are getting enough to keep our body using it as fuel effectively but also and probably most importantly, the presence of fat helps keep us full and reduces the need to eat lots of carbohydrates to satiate our hunger. Although calories from fat are over double that of carbohydrates (1g carbohydrate = 4cal and 1g fat = 9cal) we need fewer grams of fat to feel full as fat helps to balance our blood sugar and makes us feel full for longer-therefore suppressing our appetite and ensuring that over the day we eat fewer calories. So, this alone is a helpful hint in the weight loss battle.
So, eat fat-be thin. It sounds like a paradox but it is the missing link in many people's weight loss battle and is often the reason we see so many yo-yo dieters falling on and off the wagon. If we incorporate more fat into our diet, we are more likely to feel satisfied by the food we are eating and will be more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan for longer. When you add exercise to the mix (which is obviously an important piece of the weight loss puzzle) the presence of essential fatty acids in your body helps to reduce recovery time, meaning that you stay motivated to move each day as your body doesn't need complete rest to get over the muscle soreness from what you did yesterday!
Fat has been unfairly demonized for so long that we now look to highly processed low fat foods as being a healthier choice than something natural with low human interference that contains fat! Sounds crazy hey?! In Part 3 we will look at what fats you should be eating more of to help your health and aid your weight loss!
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