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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
 
    March 2006    Page 10       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10      

 
Feature Articles
 St. Patty's Day Recipes
 Leprechaun Treats
 Eat Your Vegetables
 Low Carb Sacher Torte
 The Perfect Pedicure
 Hoodia Love?
 St. Patty's Day Chuckles
 Kitchen Tips
 Not Losing Weight?
 Fat is Not the Enemy


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                 Fat is Not the Enemy by Jonny Bowden

Back in the 70?s and 80?s some well meaning people came up with the theory that the reason we were getting too fat was that they were eating too much fat. Waistlines were expanding and heart disease was increasing. The good folks in charge of making health policy recommendations decided that eating fat made you fat. In short order, everyone got on board with what appeared to be the obvious solution: stop eating fat.

Wrong.

Well, look. It?s not like these experts got together and said, "Hey what can we do to really screw up the health of the nation?" These were well meaning people. They sincerely wanted to help us get on the right track. Taking a page from current events, we might say that their hearts were in the right place, but they had bad intelligence. Their information was just plain wrong. As Professor Harlan Onsrud put in Science magazine, "Most of us would have predicted that if we can get the population to change its fat intake, we would see a reduction in weight. Instead," he added, "we have seen the exact opposite."

Indeed we have. While the percentage of calories from fat in our diet has actually gone down over the last couple of decades, obesity has gone up. And up. And up. And folks, its not because we?re eating fat. Fat is not the enemy, and cutting fat out of the diet is not the solution.

So we, the experts, were wrong about the cutting out fat. In fact, for many people, particularly those who have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for it, a low-fat diet can be nutritional suicide. Fat, of all the macronutrients (the others being protein and carbs) has zero effect on insulin, the fat storage hormone. Fat helps make you feel satisfied or satiated. Many fats — omega-3?s from fish, for example — are anti-inflammatory. Some saturated fats — like those found in coconut oil — are anti-viral. And when you remove fat from the diet — as in a high-carb, low-fat eating plan — you generally replace it with something else, usually carbs. This sends many people on a bumpy roller coaster ride of mood swings and blood sugar dips, insulin spikes and increased fat storage. (The one exception — where a high-carb diet might actually work — is when the carbs eaten are very high in fibre and low in the glycaemic index.).

The death knell to the idea that fat was the enemy was sounded recently by Professor Walter Willett of Harvard University, arguably the most prestigious nutrition researcher of our time and lead author on both the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. In these studies, Willett and his colleagues examined the eating habits of thousands of people over two decades. Here?s what he said: "We have found virtually no relationship between the percentage of calories from fat and any important health outcome."

In other words, fat doesn?t make you fat. And, in my opinion, it also doesn?t make you sick.

What does seem to matter, however, is the type of fat and the type of carbohydrate eaten. Let?s look at the carbs first. Processed carbs — which are most of the carbs that come in boxes and packages — are seen by the body as a big lump of sugar. Tthey drive triglycerides through the roof. Carbs from vegetables and fruits — and the occasional whole grain - are loaded with fibre, which are associated with a king's ransom of good health effects, including moderating blood sugar and insulin. You can be on a controlledcarb or low-carb plan and still consume a ton of these good carbs. What you can?t consume — at least if you want to lose weight — is pasta, bread, baked goods and commercial cereals.

You can however, consume fat. And you should.

Now if you?ve read even a minimum of information about nutrition and diet over the past few years, you?re probably aware of the fact that there are "good fats" and "bad fats." You?ve also probably heard that the bad fats are saturated and the good fats are everything else.

Nope.

Bad fats are trans fats. Hopefully, you?ll see them listed on the label of foods in the next year or so, but for now you have to be a detective to find them. Look on the label for "hydrogenated oil" or "partially hydrogenated oil." If it?s there, put it back on the shelf and step away from the food. Trans fats are associated with every degenerative disease you can think of. Bad fats are also damaged fats. Fats can be damaged by high heat or chemical processing, or by being used for frying multiple times (fast food chains are notorious for this). And, contrary to popular opinion, omega-6 fats, which are a type of polyunsaturated fat that everyone used to think was "healthy," are actually quite proinflammatory and have been linked to increased risk of cancer, particularly when they are not balanced in the diet with the friendly omega-3?s, omega-9?s and saturates. The best advice: get a nice mixture in your diet of saturated fats (coconut oil, eggs, some meat), omega-3?s (fish and flaxseed), and omega 9?s (macadamia nut oil, extra virgin olive oil). If your calories are at the level they should be and you?re not eating more than you need to keep your body healthy and in weight loss mode, the percentage of calories from fat should be of no concern.

But the quality of your food should be.
                                                
                                               Visit the Jonny Bowden Solutions website.

Copyright © March 2006  Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury



 

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