Category Archives: This vs That
This post is about “good fats vs bad fats”. I have had a few people ask me about this and I hope to keep it simple and clear some fat confusion.
When it comes to consuming fats, many people are concerned with weight gain, clogged arteries, and high cholesterol. It is true that people who get little physical activity and eat a diet high in calories are going to gain weight. Keep in mind if you have little fat in your diet and if you overeat carbs, protein and/or alcohol you will gain weight, however fat can play a role in weight gain if you eat too much. It is easy to overeat fats because they lurk around in many of the foods we love. Overeating fats can increase the waistline but also overeating the wrong types of fat can increase the risk for stoke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Choosing the right types of fats is very important in reducing the risk of developing these types of things and you just might reduce the waistline as well.
People need fats – we can’t live without them. Fats are an important part in a healthy diet because they provide essential fatty acids (such as omega 3’s & 6’s), deliver fat soluble vitamins throughout body, keep the skin soft, great source of energy, and they play an important role in proper eyesight and brain development in babies and children.
Dietary fat has 9 calories per gram. It does have more calories per gram than carbs (4) and protein (4) but you can’t equate dietary fat with body fat. Like I said earlier, you can get fat by eating carbs and protein even if you have very little fat in your diet. Excess calories from any source can promote weight gain.
Consuming the wrong types of fats can contribute to clogged arteries which can lead to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Also consuming a diet high in “bad” fats has been linked to certain cancers.
Ok. Let’s break it down.
Unsaturated fats should be the dominant fat in a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends to get 20-35% of our daily calories from fats(most Americans get 34% total fat or more daily- yikes!) There are two types of unsaturated fats.
- Monounsaturated fats have been found to help in weight loss. Yay! Olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, avocado (my favorite), nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts(a legume) all belong to this group.
- Polyunsaturated fats have been found to lower total cholesterol and LDL . Corn, cottonseed, safflower oils, sunflower seeds and sunflower oils, flaxseed and flaxseed oils, soybeans and soybean oils, walnuts, and seafood such as salmon, trout and mackerel belong in this group.
Saturated and Trans fats are in this category.
- A high saturated fat diet is worse than dietary cholesterol when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels. It is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These need to be limited to <7% of your total daily fats. Saturated fats can be found in meats, butter, cream, ice cream and other foods with animal fats. Also, highly saturated vegetable oils like coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oil and cocoa butter are unhealthy and will be found in packaged foods such as milk chocolate, cookies, crackers, snack chips etc.
- Trans fat is in a league of its own. Trans fat is man-made fat found in some margarines and packaged foods. This type of fat has been linked to certain cancers and contributes to clogged arteries. Most of the trans fat we eat is an end product of hydrogenation (process of converting oils into a firmer and tasty product with a long shelf life). This is bad stuff. It is gradually being removed from most packaged foods but is still found in some stick margarine, shortening, fast food, cookies, crackers, granola bars, and microwave popcorn. Beware! Products labeled “trans fat-free” can still have up to about 1/2 gram per serving by law. This can add up if you regularly eat packaged and processed food stuff.
There you have it. Good fats vs bad fats. Bad fats scare me so I try my best to eat wholesome foods with healthy fats. If you are having trouble choosing your fats then avoid processed packaged foods and cook whole foods with healthy fat at home. Eat lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Remember your health is your wealth so pay attention to the types of fats you are consuming. It is not just about counting fat grams. Do you prepare your food at home with healthy fats? Are you concerned about your health and where it is going? Let me know, I would love to hear from ya!:)
I have had a few requests to do a post about carbohydrates. Most of us know there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Remember when The Atkins Diet and The South Beach Diet was all the rage? It was a common thing for someone at the gym see me enjoying some brown rice or fruit and freak out a little because I wast eating a “carb”. Fad diets tend to demonize important things, like carbohydrates, that our bodies actually need to function. You may guess I am not a fan of “diets.” I know, people lost weight on these diets. I knew people who did. They cut out all carbs for some period of time, started losing weight, then gradually started adding carbs back in so they could “maintain” their new weight. The trend I saw was that these people started drifting back into their old habits of eating the wrong carbs and the wrong amounts, and they started to gain the weight back. There are people who do not know the difference, so they still think all carbs are evil and will cause them gain weight. Not true. It is what you choose to eat, and the amount that you eat that will cause this weight gain.
I think ads about diets and the marketing on so-called “healthy foods” have fooled society to really understand what is nutritious to maintain a healthy body. I think everyone needs to start reading labels to find out what you are really eating. I will say it over and over and over, the key to losing weight is to have a balanced, nutritious diet along with physical activity on a daily basis! If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. But that does not mean taking out a whole macronutrient to do so. And this does not mean depriving yourself of having some indulging foods for the rest of your life either. It just means educating yourself and adopting a nutritious and healthy plan that you can maintain and be happy:)
There are three macronutrients the body requires to fuel necessary processes in order for it to function properly. They are
People believe carbohydrates make you gain weight. Well, like I said above, all carbs are not equal. Some carbs will lead to weight gain, but others provide important nutrients your body needs for energy and many processes in the body. It is very important to learn to distinguish between unrefined carbs (good) and refined carbs (bad).
Refined carbs are highly processed. The fiber and many nutrients have been stripped out. Examples are white bread, white rice, cakes, and candies. I consider these empty calories because they provide no nutritional value and may lead to weight gain.
Unrefined carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, fruits and vegetables contain fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They tend to stabilize blood sugar levels while promoting a healthy weight.
The question I hear often, “What are good carbs?”
Whole grains –
- 100% whole wheat bread – look at the ingredients to be sure
- brown rice – preferably the kind you have to cook yourself
- quinoa – try it out, very tasty
- whole oats – not the “quick” instant kind
- whole grain barley
- 100% whole grain cereals – be sure to look at ingredients/should contain very little sugar
Fruits and Vegetables – They contain many important nutrients. They are good because they are packed with fiber and vitamins and minerals. They help you feel full:)
Legumes – Beans, lentils, dried peas and peanuts are all examples of legumes. They are good because they have protein and are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals which will keep you feeling full longer.
White carbohydrates – this category contains many different foods such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta, foods made with white flour etc. (refined carbs). Any food that contains sugar such as candy, chocolates, cakes, muffins, cookies and sugary drinks are refined carbs. They have no nutritional value and should be limited. They provide empty calories which may lead to weight gain.
I hope this helps if you are confused about carbohydrates. Remember, a balanced diet that includes quality nutritious foods is ideal. Remember, these are my opinions and are not meant to substitute for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor for nutrition and exercise changes.
What carbs are in your pantry?
You know the old saying “You are what you eat”? Have people forgotten about that? In today’s world everyone is in a big hurry and we want everything now. Our lives have become so busy. Everyday people are driving fast, eating fast, preparing low quality foods fast, sleeping less, and moving less. Convenience is top priority for most these days. I admit, I am guilty of a couple of these and I want to change it.
When did washing an apple and eating it as a snack become such a pain in the a**? I never really see anyone walking in the park or an outdoor mall just snacking on an apple or any other whole food. People ask me many times what are some healthy snack ideas? It puzzles me a bit. Have they forgotten that grocery stores sell fruit and vegetables and many more wholesome foods. I tell them a few whole food ideas and they often reply “I don’t like that.” Really? The more I have talked with people about this, the more I realize that these days going to the store or the farmers market, buying some fruit and veges, taking them home, washing and cutting them up for snacks is a pain in the a** for some folks. Well here is the deal, let’s all slow down, start going to the farmers markets, shop the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh whole foods, actually prepare them for cooking, cook them and sit back and enjoy them. Do your body good:) You might find that you feel better and are less cranky. You might just start to enjoy these healthy foods.
Whole Foods vs Processed Foods
Whole foods are foods that come naturally from their source whether it is a plant or animal. Whole foods contain all of their original ingredients. Whole foods will provide you with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. These foods have a short shelf life, they are full of flavor, have bright vibrant colors and are rich in texture. Whole foods contain antioxidants and fiber.
Processed foods have had many of their natural nutrients removed in order to be used in other products. Many processed foods contain added artificial ingredients, preservatives, sodium and sugar. These ingredients are put into food to extend the shelf life, enhance flavor and/or color, and maintain food consistency. There are still questions on the effects that these additives may have on our bodies. Why chance it with these foodstuffs? Do you think it is easier on the body to breakdown whole foods with their natural nutrients or processed foods with all of these creepy ingredients?
So what was your snack or lunch today? I would love to hear your thoughts:)