I wanted to take some time to do a series of blog posts on various diets out there. I know when faced with the goal of losing weight or getting healthy that there is so much information out there it is to our detriment. I also know that there are many “quick fix” diet plans and crazy low carb, no carb, high fat, low fat, high protein variations. With all these choices it is bound to drive a person crazy…. and fact of the matter is what is right for you might not be right for someone else. So I’ll take you through some of the biggest fads and leave you to decide but ultimately a well rounded diet based on whole foods and exercise will always ensure long term success.
Fear of heart disease, high cholesterol, and an increasing waistline spurred this diet fad to emerge in the late 70’s. Can you guess what it is? Yup, the reduced fat phase. At this time in history all we knew was that some preliminary studies showed that egg yolks, red meats and other fats had shown an increase in heart related issues which was enough to declare a war against fat and in turn pro carbs (sigh).
The introduction to this diet spurred the food industry to start making tons of changes to remove whatever fat they could from their products and you started seeing Reduced fat cheese, low-fat cookies, fat-free butter… the list goes on. However, one problem with this diet is that by stripping out fat from our diets we added in a bunch of sugars and chemicals to mimic that “fat” component. High carb low-fat was for sure the way to go! Then of course in the 90’s the trend diet took full hold of America and we were avoiding fat at all cost. Peanut butter, nuts, avocado’s, cheese and full fat yogurt and milk got the boot as did all those cooking oils.
Simply put, this diet is extremely flawed. Unless you have super high cholesterol or another specific health reason to have to restrict fats from your diet this fad can actually do your body more harm than good. Bodies need fat, it is essential to body energy, cell growth, your immune system, and reproductive systems. Fat is not the devil! Without it our immune systems weaken, vitamin deficiencies can occur and because of the added chemicals in fat-free foods you can actually increase your risk of cancer! Fat helps keep us feeling full throughout the day and squashes sugar cravings.
But all that said, eating the RIGHT type of fat is what is essential. Yes fat can still be bad if by “fat” your brain automatically goes to pictures of fried food or rich desserts. Those fats are still bad and yes they will always be bad… But fats occurring in natural, whole foods will not. Those are the one’s you want to surround yourself around within your diet: avocado’s, cheese, egg yolks, nuts, coconut and olive oil.
Why do you think the Mediterranean diet is such a huge success all through the decades? It’s based on a high fat diet but with the right fats and on that diet people are maintaining their healthy lifestyle, losing weight, protecting their hearts and are not walking around sugar-crazed and starving all day!
So to help you make the most of your healthy habits including exercise try incorporating a fat of some sort in every meal. Eating a balanced diet (fat, carb, protein) diet is always essential to success but definitely don’t give fat the cold shoulder.
On a personal note, I have avoided fat for years. I remember in my teens (90’s) jumping on that fat-free bandwagon and for years I stuck to my butter sprays, fat free rubber cheese, diet breads, and faux spreads/dressings. But now I’m in my 30’s I have issues with my immune system, I’m always freezing and my reproductive health isn’t in A+ status. So my mission has been to add fats back into my diet in moderation from the right sources. I have already noticed by adding in fats that I feel more full, i’m started to not feel as cold and I just seem to be in a better state of mind.
Here’s an example daily food log of mine:
Breakfast – 1/2 cup 2-4% cottage cheese with berries, 1 piece of sprouted bread with 1 tbsp chia flax peanut butter (I’m obsessed)
Snack – apple with 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
Lunch – Kale salad with chicken or tuna, red peppers, tomatoes, croutons, parmesan cheese, and 1/4 avocado with Champaign vinaigrette dressing
Snack – popcorn (Skinny Pop) and almond mix
Dinner – Salmon or chicken breast, lentils, and kale sautéed in coconut oil with mushrooms, lemon juice and red pepper
Dessert – Halo top ice cream (1 cup) with a rice cake smeared with 1 tsp peanut butter
Total calories: About 1800
Total Fat: 60 grams
Total Protein: 100-120 grams
What is your take on fat? Do you incorporate enough fat in your diet or find success another way? Let us know in the comments below!