True, it may sound strange. But eating the right kind of fats is definitely where it’s at for healthy weight loss. Sadly, many people have been so brainwashed by the fat-free mentality of the past ten years that they still suffer from fat phobia. And although we are slowly emerging from the no- or low-fat craze, the notion that all fats are bad is definitely a hard one to shake.
There are, of course, some fats you should definitely stay away from. Hydrogenated, oxidized, fried or heat-processed fats—typically found in margarine, vegetable shortening or fried foods—are sources of the unnatural and unhealthy trans fats. These are the fats that have been linked to heart disease, cancer and aging. But there are good fats. The essential fatty acids, for instance, are not only necessary for overall health, but are also beneficial for shedding those excess pounds. In fact, they are so crucial to cardiovascular, immune, reproductive and skin health that it amazes me how so-called “experts” could have ever believed otherwise.
The truth is high-quality, protective fats (such as extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, fish oils, nuts, seeds and avocados) can aid in keeping blood sugar levels stable. So you actually feel fuller longer. Translation: You get full by eating less food, which inhibits food cravings and prevents overeating. In addition, some of the healthy fats can trigger fat burning rather than fat storage. And that boosts your body’s natural fat-burning ability. So the question isn’t whether you should include fats in your diet. The question is “Which ones?“
The fat-free roller coaster ride
Thanks to the fat-free propaganda of the past decade, Americans mistakenly linked all dietary fats with elevated cholesterol levels, cardiovascular problems and obesity. They reacted by dramatically altering their dietary regimens and removing fats as much as possible from their meals. But without fat—the most potent blood sugar stabilizer—many developed powerful food cravings and wound up substituting unlimited carbohydrates (sugar, fat-free yogurt, cookies, bagels, bread, crackers, rice cakes, etc.) for the missing fats.
Even the most nutritionally conscious health buffs went overboard with these fat-free carbohydrates and became fat in the process! It was all due to their overeating refined, white flour carbohydrates (like bagels and white rice) as well as those highly touted complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain bread, potatoes and corn). These foods can produce a quick spike in blood sugar levels, which raises insulin—the fat-promoting hormone. Plus elevated insulin blocks the body’s ability to burn stored fat for energy as well as creates a rapid fall in blood sugar levels, resulting in more hunger.
This roller coaster ride of blood sugar peaks and valleys has ultimately lead to our national problem: weight gain. In fact, more Americans are overweight today than ever before. Over 50% of us fall in the overweight category. And as odd as it may sound, many of these overweight individuals are suffering from a fat deficiency—an essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency to be exact. Essential fatty acids are absolutely necessary for the body’s biochemical processes. Without them, your body senses a famine and begins to convert more carbohydrates into fat, turning it into a fat-producing machine.
An essential fatty acid deficiency may also be the cause behind escalating health concerns such as arthritis, diabetes, skin disorders, breast cancer, PMS and menopausal symptoms, low-energy levels, fatigue, allergy, yeast problems, mood swings and depression. Just look at the trends since North Americans started cutting back the fat:
- Heart disease still remains the No.1 killer.
- The cases of diabetes have tripled in the last 30 years.
- New health conditions are appearing like puzzling epidemics (chronic fatigue, Candida, food allergies, immune suppressive disorders).
- The number of cancer cases has escalated—the chance of survival isn’t much better than 20 years ago.
- Hyperactivity among children and adults is on the rise—quite possibly the lack of brain fortifying fat is contributing to numerous cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
So who says cutting out fat is better for your health? Trust me, fat is not the enemy. On the contrary, it can become your best ally. Besides promoting well being, essential healthy fats make you look good by adding luster to brittle hair, strength to cracked or weak nails and healing to skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Stay tuned for part 2 next week!
For more information please contact www.annlouise.com where advice and inspiration are given freely 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Visionary, health guru, diet/detox expert, and natural foods icon Ann Louise Gittleman is the award-winning author of 30 books on health and healing including the New York Times bestsellers The Fat Flush Plan and Before The Change. Her most recent release is The Gut Flush Plan.
For the past two decades she has been considered one of the foremost nutritionist in the United States.
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