End Diet Confusion and Make Your Own Damn Rules | Part 1 - The Facts on Fat
The diet industry has created a lot of fear and confusion around the foods we eat. Fads come and go but they all have one thing in common. Each trend has an idolized food and a demonized one. Think diets that focus on low-carb, low-fat, high protein, zero sugar, or even gluten-free. If we want to end diet culture we need to regain clarity around the foods we eat and what their role in nutrition is. Armed with this knowledge you’ll be far less likely to get swept up in the diet industry's fear tactics.
I want to kick off this effort by getting transparent on everyone's favorite “bad guys”: fat, carbs, and sugar. Today we begin with fat. Fat has been in favor recently with the growing popularity of avocados and coconut oil. But misinformation from the infamous low-fat diet from the 80s and 90s is still around.
The Facts on Fat
Here’s the deal. Your body very much needs fat. And despite what you might have
to believe fat does not lead to weight gain. Fat is a source of energy and supports cell growth.
So if you want to get through the day without feeling sluggish and tired or have great skin, hair and nails fat is your BFF
When reading food labels have you ever noticed there are different types of fat? There are actually four types, two of which you want to include in a healthy diet and two you want to limit. Before I get to what these four are, I want to take the time to note that the last two you want to
. Not fear, ban from your diet or feel guilty about consuming. Yes, consumed in large doses they are not going to do your body good, but we don't need to fear or ban them.
So what are these two fat you want to limit anyway? They are:
This fat is in milk, fatty meat, and vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature (
in large doses can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol. This is the cholesterol that blocks your arteries so being mindful of how much you consume is ideal.
This type of fat
as a way to keep foods fresh for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, it's not very good for you to consume. Not only can it raise LDL levels like saturated fat, it also leads to a decrease in HDL cholesterol. This is the type of cholesterol you actually want to stick around. If the ingredients list includes "hydrogenated" or "partially-hydrogenated" oil it contains trans fat. You'll see this in margarine and a lot of snack foods.
The two you want to include:
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated
are the two fats you want to include in your diet
If you’ve ever taken a fish oil supplement to increase your Omega-3 intake, you were adding polyunsaturated fat to your diet
. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help decrease LDL cholesterol (the artery clogging one).
in olive oil, canola oil, flax seeds, walnuts, and fish.
The Big, Fat Picture
Okay so let’s take a step back and talk about what’s going on in our heads as we read information like this.
you are not put at ease by the above information. See, once upon a time, when I read information like this I would become
anxious. When I would consume cheese or trans fat I would imagine my arteries clogging up from
one meal. I would become heavy with guilt and feel a weight pulling down on my shoulders. I
for craving and enjoying these foods that were "
" so "bad" for me. But this isn’t how it works. This was my imagination running wild and the fear tactics of the diet industry get to me.
Saturated fats are not rubbing their grubby little hands together
looking around for a place to latch on and cause havoc
. Your body doesn’t actually function like the movie
. The build of LDL cholesterol is a slow process that occurs from
consumption of these fats. Your body is well-designed and equipped to manage and filter out what it does and does not need.
And with a well-balanced diet, it will have plenty of energy (from those unsaturated fats, remember
?) to manage the saturated fats you consume.
Building trust in our bodies takes time. Especially, when for so many years of our lives we have
to distrust them.
But with patience and knowledge to help filter out fact from fiction, you’ll feel at ease around food before you know it
. You’ll be able to enjoy your meals again.
Regardless of whether they include smoked salmon (unsaturated fat) or a cheeseburger (saturated fat)
Have more questions? I would love to know what part of ditching dieting mentality you’re struggling with. Submit your question here to get some answers!