Think you’ve successfully managed to cheat the system by munching on low-fat cookies and opting for frozen yogurts over ice cream? You may want to reconsider your peace of mind.
Fat fact: fats are the necessary evil to sustaining human life. Fats and cholesterol are the construction workers said by a recent study to build artery strength and repair damage inflicted on these core pathways running through our body; a low fat diet particularly decreases the ability of these fats to effectively attack problem areas surrounding your heart.
Fat myth: low-fat products are always healthy. Although our heart health and physical appearance is commonly attributed with our consumption of fats, even low-fat foods find themselves loaded with calories and, in some cases, loaded with more sugar than their “regular fat” counterparts. There also remains the “low-fat mentality;” that is, the idea that because something is lower in fat, we can eat more of it. The healthiest diets are those that balance portion sizes.
Yet the reality is that a lack of fat consumption is not the solution to heart disease or weight loss. Eliminating fats altogether only forces your body into a state of starvation, causing calories to burn at an even slower rate than your logic would have you believe.
Just as there are good carbs and bad carbs, there are good fats and bad fats. Naturally, the latter is to be avoided and managed by watching intake of bad cholesterol and bad fats that can be found in junk food; even in those snacks that are misleadingly labeled as “baked” or low-fat that still possess saturated and trans fats. Companies prefer to use positive terms to lead you to believe that something is significantly healthier for you, when the end result is actually quite questionable.
All the same, creating a heart-healthy diet does not necessarily mean compiling a fat-friendly new list of foods to consume. It does, however, mean monitoring where your fat intake is coming from and doing your best to intake monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – fats that are more than willing to befriend your heart health. These fats are commonly found in varieties of nuts, fish and in many soy products.
Also, consider that everything that enters your body has a calorie count; you may be eating something that claims to be low in carbs or low in fat, but that doesn’t make it lower in calories if the low fat is counter-proportionate to the amount of carbs in the food item. For example, two tablespoons of the average peanut butter is said to have 191 calories, while reduced-fat peanut butter stands at an ever-so-slightly slashed 187 calories. These products also tend to see themselves loaded with more sugar than they otherwise would, which creates a natural tendency to leave an appetite unsatisfied and craving more. If your goal is weight loss, this diet-embracing label is very detrimental to your weight loss process.
Supplying your body with the right balance of nutrients and managing your intake of bad fats can be as simple as reading a label – that is, beyond the emboldened “low-fat” print crawling across the front of a package. Learn to set benchmarks for your diet, and know better than to bring an entire box of cookies with you to your bedroom. (You know you’re not going to stop at one.) At the same time, go into your diet realistically: give yourself breathing room so as to not completely polarize your fat-craving, sugar-crazed inner self. We’re only human, after all.
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