Is Low Fat Making Us Fat?

Is your low fat diet making you fat?

Everyone has heard how low-fat diets are the key to losing weight. We are constantly bombarded with low-fat diets, low-fat recipes, low-fat food products. But what’s the truth behind these low-fat diets? Do these low and reduce fat diets really help people lose weight? Or are they contributing to the ever increasing obesity crisis many nations are facing?

While many diet foods may be low in fat, they are usually full of highly processed oils and other unhealthy materials. These “additives” are usually used to improve taste. In addition, low-fat foods are usually higher in calories and full of processes materials and synthetic sweeteners.

Low fat diets, which utilize processed foods, are not optimal for losing weight. A balanced, whole food diet plan with good dietary fat, is essential to our overall health. Fats help us to absorb fat soluble vitamins and they also serve as a reservoir for energy. Dietary fats are also required for proper functioning of the nervous, immune and hormonal systems.

In addition, fats are needed for helping our bodies maintain normal metabolism. Our metabolism controls how quickly the body burns energy. When fat is restricted from the diet, it can slow the metabolic rate. When the metabolic rate is slow, we require fewer calories. However, once extra calories are added back the body quickly gains weight.

The relationship between fat, Insulin and blood sugar

Another component of the dietary dilemna is insulin. Often, insulin is over looked in dietary equation. This hormone plays a critical role in fat storage and weight gain. As many know, insulin is responsible for regulating sugar levels in our blood. When we consume something with sugar, the body converts the sugar into glycogen, which is then stored in the liver and muscles. When these organs receive the amount of glycogen they require, they remaining glucose is converted into body fat and stored for later use (think of the hump on a camel’s back).

However, in life not all carbohydrates are created equally. Carbohydrates that are on the higher end of the glycemic index stimulate a greater insulin response. These types of carbohydrates are usually added to low-fat foods as sweeteners. While, fats do not raise insulin or blood glucose levels.

When insulin is moving through our bloodstream, even moderate levels, the burning of that store is greatly inhibited.
Too much insulin inhibits the hormone sensitive fat burning enzyme called lipase. This means that when you eat those reduce fat processed foods, with these extra added carbohydrates, they force your body to making fats and not burning fats!!!

So as you eat your processed, low-fat foods, your body’s ability to burn fat is inhibited. If you continue this cycle of insulin elevation long enough it can lead to what is known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is basically that your body needs higher levels of insulin than it did before. If you were to continue on this cycle, it will eventually lead to type II diabetes.

With this being said, the most effective way to reduce insulin levels, and burn stored body fat instead of glucose in your blood, is limit carbohydrate intake and increase your healthy dietary fats. By doing this, it forces the body turn down for fuel. When you’re in fat burning mode, the feeling of starvation is greatly reduced.

The Metabolic Diet

So when new clients enter our weight-loss program, this is the first thing we examine is if they are suffering from insulin resistance. It is nearly impossible to effectively lose weight, and keep it off, while you’re actively in insulin resistance. The cure to this is whole food therapy through our metabolic diet plan.

So, How SHOULD You Eat for Optimal Health AND Fitness? It’s really pretty simple — eating healthy will get you the best performance. Exercise is not an excuse to down bowls of pasta, sugary “recovery” drinks and energy bars! We find our clients do best following these simple guidelines; keep an eye on your carb intake and eat real, whole foods — real butter, whole eggs, unprocessed meats and vegetables. Don’t worry about counting calories and fat; focus on counting carbs.

The rules are pretty simple:

1. Eat every 3 hours.
Eating every 3 hours helps your body to avoid insulin spikes and also the natural metabolism to take over. Refer to eating fat and protein with EVERY meal and snack. NO EXCEPTIONS!

2. Eat non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables are a great source of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.

3. Keep your daily carb intake to <60 grams.
Count your carbs to avoid triggering the release of too much insulin. Without insulin spiking, you will have an abundant source of energy from body fat and your energy level will be consistent throughout the day.

4. Include a good source of fat and protein at every meal.
A serving of protein is essential for repairing and building tissue. Fat is incredibly important in controlling your hunger. Fat is the ultimate endurance fuel, and the heart runs exclusively on it. Low fat diets put the heart and other organs at risk by creating deficiencies in essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins — Vitamins A, D, E, F, and K. Eating fat will not make you fat! Fat is also essential to proper thyroid function and is necessary for restoring nerve tissue and hormones. Good examples would be to cook with coconut oil, add butter to your vegetables, and use a good olive oil on your salads.

5. Always eat breakfast!
Your adrenal glands have been working hard all night long balancing your blood sugar. It’s important to give them a break from this task and let then recover by eating within an hour of waking up. I start my day with Bullet Proof Coffee.

6. Exercise Daily.
30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, will help to balance insulin levels and increase fat burning.

7. Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are full of sugar and preservatives.


Examples of Food/Snacks:

Egg salad
Nut butters
Tuna salad
Half an apple with peanut butter

Chicken Salad
Celery with peanut butter
Green salad with cheese or chicken
Steak fingers
Rolled up cold cuts with cream cheese
Veggies with dip
Replace crackers with cucumber slices
Boiled eggs
Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
Shrimp cocktail
Beef jerky (nitrate free)
Hummus and vegetables
Full fat dairy products
marninated vegetable salads

So the next time you are tempted by those “low fat” goodies reach for a healthier, whole food option.

In good health,
~ Sarah


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