We are made up of trillions of cells that rely on the nutrients we provide through digestion to enable them to function. Not feeding cells correct nutrients leads to deficiency and disease.
Fact: Healthy fats make healthy cell membranes, enabling nutrients to pass into cells for use.
By eating a low fat diet, it's likely we're not making healthy cell membranes and the nutrients aren't going where they're needed. Quality fats are vital, as is their preparation. Different fats have different smoke points and heating them beyond these points makes them go rancid, like poison in our body (a whole other subject!).
Healthy fats also turn off our hunger hormone ghrelin so we don't overeat.
To extend shelf life of products, marketers manufacture plastic, man-made fats called hydrogenated or trans fats. These are in everything from low fat biscuits to Heart Tick approved fries. Hydrogenated fat is vegetable oil that has been heated beyond its smoke point, turning it rancid, then mixed with metal particles and chemicals. These fats cause our cell membranes to become brittle and unable to absorb nutrients or communicate with each other.
Low Fat often means high sugar. What is this doing to our health? Every time we eat sugars and refined carbohydrates, our blood sugar rises causing insulin to be released. While there is insulin in our blood we do not burn fat. You see, insulin is our fat storage hormone. Sugars also don't turn off our hunger hormone ghrelin, making it easier to overeat. When we continually eat refined carbohydrates and sugars we have so much sugar in our blood that it starts to coat our cell membranes (glycation) and they become hard like toffee, unable to absorb nutrients or communicate with each other – think brain fogginess, Alzheimer's. Sugar also coats our joints – leading to arthritis – and builds up plaque in our arteries.
The problems sugar causes are too many to list – breakdown in bodily functions, no nutrients entering cells, dysfunction and disease etc.
Most sugar consumed comes from commercially prepared foods which, to extend their shelf life, contain chemicals. This presents a further problem as chemicals find a home in fat stores, making them even harder to break down.
Conclusion: The right fat is health forming. Low fat/high sugar is health harming and weight producing. Processing any food depletes nutrient content and concentrates sugars and chemical toxins.
3 Things we should eliminate from our diet at all costs:
• Sugars (unless from whole fruit and only 1 to 2 pieces of low GI fruit a day – less if you are trying to lose fat, as it will not be burned while sugar is present
• Processed Foods (laden with sugars/chemicals)
• Hydrogenated and Trans Fats (Rancid and chemically altered)
By reducing blood sugar and insulin spikes in our blood through adjusting our intake of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, we can get our body to utilise fat for energy rather than glucose. This is the key to true weight loss.
Carey is a graduate of NTA's first class in Australia. She resides in North Queensland and is part of the team of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners at Core Nourishment in Townsville.