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Fat Free Foods – At What Cost to Our Health?

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Fat-Free Foods – At What Cost to Our Health?fat free

I’ve been posting some facts on my Facebook page about the obesity pandemic in our world that has surfaced in the last 35 years.  This is not just happening in the United States, although we do have the honor of being in first place at 33.8 % of adults being clinically obese.

So why is obesity growing?  If you were to zero in on one of a few concerns it could stem around the fact that in the 1980’s the AMA and USDA told us fat was bad and this led to the following observations:

– Low-fat foods became the thing and between 1975 to the present, fat intake declined from 40 to 30% of total calories

– Protein intake remained constant at 15% of total calories

– Carbohydrate intake increased from 40 to 55% and most of this increase has been in sugar, specifically fructose.

What was the cost of that Fat-Free Diet?

  1.    Without fat, food has no taste, the flavor is in the fat.
  2.    To compensate, carbs and sugar were added that amp up insulin and weight.
  3.    Dietary fats are not just a source of energy (calories) they are essential fatty acids we cannot live without for our nervous and immune system function.
  4.  Fats are essential for fertility and proper nourishing of a newly forming fetus.

So let me help you connect the dots.  What do the four items above mean to you today?

  1. Well, do I really need to say more about how much better food tastes when it has flavor?  Ever notice how good real butter tastes or an avocado or a steak with some fat marbled in it?  Ok, so I rest my case on flavor. Food just tastes better with good fats involved. Good fats are things like avocados, salmon, coconut oil and olive oil.  Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – Omega 3 can be used to supplement.

2. Have you ever enjoyed the taste of a rice cake?  Talk about no flavor…in my prior blog about how much sugar do you really eat, I posted a special link to a video (10:25 minutes into it) that details out how much sugar is eaten in a normal daily diet that includes carbohydrates. That includes those rice cakes! 

Look at how many processed foods are on the shelf at the grocery store that say Fat-Free and yet its a dessert and it has amazing flavor.  That is where the sugar and carbs were added in and suddenly you started to gain even more weight even though it was fat-free! These carbs and sugars will add incredible weight (See my blog on How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?).  

And what happens when insulin is amped up?  Insulin is your energy storage hormone and the key to fat storage.  When you have too much insulin or insulin resistance you will have weight management issues. These are the things that create more opportunities for Metabolic Syndrome to surface so that your latest blood work causes your doctor concerns about you becoming pre-diabetic.  And one more thing, sugar decreases your immune system function by 50% with just a tablespoon for up to four hours.

3. Have you noticed how many people are on edge?  Fats are important for nervous system function and proper communication between important hormones and neurotransmitters.  Hormones are part of the greatest communication system in the body and require good fats to allow that to happen. When stress hormones get stuck in the “on” position, there is absolutely no way your body will properly process and communicate the proper levels as it should.  This begins to put the sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. Excessive oxidative stress and inflammation can cause a decrease in nervous system function. DHA helps protect the brain from this oxidative stress and inflammation. An early nervous system response to oxidative stress, likely also in other organs, is the synthesis of protective molecules called docosanoids. Docosanoids are potent protective mediators derived from DHA available from cell phospholipids. These counteract inflammation and oxidative stress, and help prevent cell death to restore homeostasis. Therefore it is important to maintain enough DHA in our body to fight against unhealthy inflammation and oxidative stress in the nervous system.  

Essential fats also assist in reducing inflammation.  One of the main things the immune system uses to help defend the body is inflammation as it helps fight bacteria and other infectious agents. However, if inflammation is excessive such as in asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, the body may have as a result, redness, swelling, pain stiffness and other symptoms.

4. Fertility and the development of a growing fetus are greatly impacted by proper fats.  Afterall, a developing fetus has to have good fats for brain development and function. We already talked about the importance of fats on the nervous system. Body fat has an important function for fertility, too. Body fat cells produce estrogen. Estrogens are primary female reproductive messengers. Estrogen is essential for healthy bone formation, healthy gene expression, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and is vital for a healthy menstrual cycle.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, in 1993, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of both external and internal body fat deposits of extremely athletic women, compared to non-athletic women. The MRI was used to measure fat deposits in 17 different sites in the body, including that of the thoracic vertebrae compared to fat of the upper thigh. Urinary analysis of estrogen was also tracked.  Results showed that the fat deposits of the extremely athletic women, who had a menstrual cycle and ovulatory irregularities, had significantly lower levels of both subcutaneous and internal body fat at all sites in the body, compared to the controls.

Now, don’t you just want to eat more fat?  And while you are at it, enjoy the taste! So eat more avocados and salmon.  Enjoy a smoothie with coconut oil and a salad with olive oil. Or, if you are not a fan of these “healthier” options, you can use supplements of good fats like the one mentioned above.  And if you would like to know just how well your communication system, called hormones, is impacting your weight and metabolism, book an appointment for a Stress Assess and Weight and Metabolism scan.

 

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