Thursday, November 14, 2013

Where's the Common Sense in Our Diets?

Do you remember when the "low-fat" way of eating became so popular? It's really only been within the last couple of generations. Actually, I remember as a young(er) adult beginning to hear all about how easy it is to stay in control of your weight by just eating low fat food. It started to seem like we were being told that as long as the label said low-fat or fat-free it was free game. Nothing else mattered. The food companies took off with it and now we see a low-fat version of almost everything.

Now we're learning that fat in itself isn't as bad for us as the food companies have wanted us to believe in order to sell their "low-fat" stuff. The word FAT now feels like a dirty word. In fact, however, fat is an important part of our diet. In our current standard diet in this country, the fat that was naturally found in food is being replaced with bad stuff like hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans-fat which IS bad), extra sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients.

In case you haven't noticed it yet, we're hearing a lot now that carbohydrates are the culprit. Wheat, gluten, and sugar are bad. Here's the thing: food companies will take this to the extreme too! Caution: carbohydrates are NOT evil either. Some forms of carbs aren't good for us, but if we begin to turn that word into a dirty word, like we did fat, we'll end up not eating enough vegetables and fruit. I think we need to trust our own common sense. 

I heard something today that made sense to me. I was listening to a podcast by a nutritionist. He was talking about how fat isn't an enemy, and that our bodies need it. In addition to the problems with the low-fat crap mentioned above, the additional carbohydrate sources we've replaced the fat with are causing our bodies to become overworked digesting and storing them.

The damage that fat does to our bodies happens when the fat binds to sugar in our blood. A high blood sugar level allows the fat to do the damage it's been vilified for... which is why fat seems to be the bad guy. We have such a high level of carbohydrates in our diets that the damage that seems to be caused by fat is exacerbated. It's a vicious cycle. 

The simple thing to do is to allow the consumption of fat in foods that naturally contain fat, and keep the carb consumption to a moderate level and from natural sources.

I recognize how easy it will be to fall for the hype (and it is guaranteed to become hype!) that we can and should be eating a diet full of fat. Common sense will be thrown out the window. I vote we don't let that happen.

In three days I will begin the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I've been preparing for it this week and will shop for it over the weekend. You can believe I've thought about all of the things I wrote here as I researched this diet. One of the things I like about this is it is a healthy way of eating. Fat is not the bad guy, and neither are carbs. This diet teaches how to eat them both in the right proportions and the right kinds. In the process, my body will be cleaned of all the junk it's been subjected to with the processed foods and extra sugar. I don't know if I'll continue to eat this clean after the 21 days, but I'm certain I will learn a lot.

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