Category Archives: nutrition

Are you eating enough fat?!

Thankfully the low-fat diets are under wraps and more people are realising that you need healthy fats in your diet but there are still a lot of people out there who have not heard that:

Eating fat will not make you fat as quickly as eating carbs will.

When you cut out carbohydrates, you need to replace those calories with healthy fats. Both are sources of energy, but healthy fats are far better than carbs. Not just any kind of fat will do. The Atkins Diet is a popular example of a low-carb, high-fat diet that helped many shed unwanted pounds. Unfortunately, Dr. Atkins paid very little attention to the QUALITY of the fats he recommended, so while his plan worked in the short-term, many people who tried it ended up experiencing long-term issues.

You may not know it, but frequent hunger may have more to do with WHAT you are eating than how much. Not only is it an indication that you’re choosing the wrong types of food, but it’s also a sign that you’re probably consuming them in unbalanced ratios for your personal biochemistry.

Fat is far more satiating than carbohydrate, so if you have cut back on carbs and feel ravenous, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you just can’t do without bread and pasta. This is only a sign that you need to replace them with sufficient amounts of fat. So go ahead and add some healthy fats from the list below:

  • Olives and Olive oil
  • Coconuts and coconut oil
  • Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
  • Raw nuts, such as, almonds or pecans
  • Organic pastured egg yolks
  • Avocados
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Unheated organic nut oils

Another nutritious fat you should be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can contribute to serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of nearly 100,000 premature deaths per year. Emerging evidence suggests that your diet should be at least half healthy fat, and possibly as high as 70%.

It will probably be debated by nutritionists and doctors for centuries to come whether our bodies actually need animal products or not, but we do need saturated fats from a variety of sources that may include meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut for optimal functioning, and neglecting this important food group in favor of sugar, grains and other starchy carbs, will guarantee to negatively affect your health and weight.

Your body has a limited capacity to store excess carbohydrates. This is one of the reasons why elevated blood sugar follows their overconsumption. One of the ways your body avoids dangerously elevated blood sugar is through converting those excess carbohydrates into excess body fat primarily in your belly. Any carbohydrates not immediately used by your body are stored in the form of glycogen (a long string of glucose molecules linked together). Your body has two storage sites for glycogen: your liver and your muscles. Once the glycogen levels are filled in both your liver and muscles, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in your adipose, that is, fatty, tissue.

So, although carbohydrates are “fat-free,” this is misleading because excess carbohydrates end up as excess fat. Puffed rice, is apparently capable of making your blood sweeter than white sugar, due to the fact that it is higher on the glycemic index – all the more reason why refined grains are “hidden sugar,” and sugar is in many ways “hidden fat.”

But living without breakfast cereal isn’t the worst of it! Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates will also generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream, which then lowers your levels of blood glucose. The problem is that insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of future famine. So the insulin that’s stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat!

In other words, when you eat too much sugar, pasta, bread, and any other grain products, you’re essentially sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to your body that says “store more fat.” This is actually a highly beneficial response in certain scenarios such as when calories are very scarce. This provides a major survival advantage — but for nearly everyone reading this, having insufficient calories is not an issue, so this protective mechanism actually sabotages your health.

Unless living longer is not your primary objective and you are presently seeking to optimize fertility or athletic performance, then cutting back on carbs is pretty essential for your health.

That said, since giving up non-vegetable carbs is one of my biggest challenges in life …  how much can we realistically eat and still be healthy?

According to Paul Jaminet, PhD. in his book Perfect Health Diet, a 20 percent carb diet is healthy for nearly everyone (that’s 20% of calories). As mentioned above, 50-70 percent of your diet should be healthy fat (see above for the best sources).

Hopefully my recent penchant for dark chocolate coated almonds fits neatly into this equation, although I should probably try to limit my Dunkin Donuts’ purchases to coffee (and how many more decades will it be before they offer raw milk in that?!).