I recently read a blog post (here) that brought up some things I have been thinking about lately, so I wanted to share. I’ve been sitting here scouring over the many nutrition books I have in our bookcase trying to find studies and info on this topic, but I can’t! I will just speak from memory (I hope you don’t mind)…take it for what it’s worth.
I used to be a certified personal trainer. I only used it a bit, but it frustrated me that there are so many misconceptions in the “health industry” and people have things ingrained in their heads. It is very difficult to get people to change the way they think, especially if it is the opposite of what they have always heard, and especially when “experts” and the media are constantly throwing them messages. There’s been a huge “low-fat” craze in America for the past couple decades. Nutritionists, Scientists, Professors, and even Doctors have been recommending a low-fat diet to boost our health and prevent disease. The ironic thing is that since the low-fat craze started, we’ve actually gotten fatter and sicker. I know other factors play a role too, but the low-fat thing has a lot to do with it, in my opinion. Sugar has been a culprit too and the food industry has come up with all kinds of products to replace it (ie nutrasweet, which ended up in an extensive controversy). I’ve been thinking a lot about this because for these products to hit the market, people have to mess with the molecular structure of a food. It can’t be good. We have been consuming fake food and thinking it’s healthy. It irks me. I always envision eating something that is not meant to be eaten, like cardboard. Can your body digest it? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that you should eat it, or that it’s good for you. Although I am convinced that if they added enough things to a piece of cardboard they could get it to taste good. Slap a few labels on there about it being filled with fiber or protein and we’d have a frenzy in the grocery store. Tricky guys, those food manufacturers.
Anyway, going back to the low-fat fad, here’s the breakdown:
1. We need fat. Our brain is made up of 60% fat, and the neurons inside are wrapped in a sheath made up of mostly fat. Some vitamins can only be absorbed if fat is present in your diet. Cell walls in the body have fat that determines the permeability of the cell. It’s a good thing.
2. There are good fats and bad fats: Trans fats are man-made and absolutely HORRIBLE for you. Avoid them at all costs. Saturated fats (mostly in animal products) aren’t the best either, but even some studies have not shown a link between saturated fat and diseases. Eat natural fats mostly produced by plants and you’ll be set. Nuts, avocados, fresh fish, olive oil, etc.
3. I won’t go into detail about monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats or omega-3s or omega-6s, but I will say this: Fats are made up of a certain number of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Low-fat or sugar-free products have messed with the molecular structure of things: breaking a double bond here, or adding on an atom there, etc. It changes the shape of the molecules to where the body processes it completely differently. It’s horrible on your system and horrible for you.
I have not purchased anything low-fat or low-sugar or sugar-free for years and years, and I have also not looked at the nutrition labels (aside from ingredients) for the same amount of time. Eat real food. It will not make you fat. Fake food is the culprit, and the sooner we recognize it, the sooner we can start getting our health back.
Off my soapbox. 🙂
Day 4 of no processed foods went great. More to report tomorrow.