Fat, is it Good?

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Time Magazine published an article “Ending the War on Fat” (June 2014). The summary of this article was to clarify the whys of fat and what is good and bad fat in the diet? One problem with our food pyramid today is that there is a lot of emphasis on grains/starches, e.g. breads, cereals, pastas, rice, etc. and less on “good” fats. This is one of the ways we are fattening up Americans but it is not fat that is the culprit, but sugars and starches.

The brain is predominantly made of fat and water which brings us to the question, if we are super-sizing our bodies, aren’t we shrinking our brains? The new statistics also show that Americans are sicker now, more than ever. This is due to the significance of the new food pyramid, but also because we have been consuming denatured food for the past 20 years. The quality of the nutrients in our foods is not the same as it was 20 years ago and the toxic load in our environment has increased.”The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased 166 percent from 1980 to 2012. Nearly one in 10 American adults has type 2 diabetes. It is costing the American Healthcare System $245 billion a year. An estimated 86 million Americans are pre-diabetic. Cardiovascular disease has remained the #1 killer, and more than a third of the country is obese.” New research is suggesting that over-consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, and sweeteners is predominantly responsible for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Refined carbohydrate consumption of “wheat” bread, hidden sugar, low-fat chips and crackers, and pastas cause changes in our blood chemistry. This change promotes the body to store calories as fat and increase the desire to eat more, making the paradigm of losing weight a yo-yo experience that is never achieved over a life-time. The person remains overweight their entire life. In essence, weight control becomes a constant struggle.The Time Magazine article references Dr. Walter Willett, the head of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “There was a strong belief that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease, and there was resistance to anything that questioned it” says Dr. Willett. He has been conducting a long-term epidemiological study that followed the diets and heart health of more than 40,000 middle-aged men. Dr. Willett found that if his subjects replaced foods high in saturated fat with carbohydrates, they experienced no reduction in heart disease. His work helped launch the new thinking about saturated fats in the diet. Saturated fat is known to elevate good HDL cholesterol which removes the bad LDL cholesterol that can accumulate on the arterial walls. Eating more carbohydrates appears to increase the small sticky particles that now appear linked to heart disease. What we should be looking at according to cardiologist Dr. Ronald Krauss, are the LDL particles as a risk factor. A 2013 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a diet rich in polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats significantly reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events. Americans on average, by eating more carbohydrates, sugars, and starchy foods have been eating more calories. 2,586 a day in 2010 versus 2,109 in 1970. People eat carbohydrate/starchy foods not knowing that these foods get converted to sugar once digested. In essence, our sugar consumption has ultimately gone up without us really knowing it. Again, we are creating an epidemic of obesity for America. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of nutrition science at Tufts University explains the whys… “Sugars stimulate the production of insulin, which causes fat cells to go into storage overdrive, leading to weight gain. Since fewer calories are left to fuel the body, we begin to feel hungry, and metabolism begins to slow in an effort to save energy. We eat more and gain more weight, never feeling full. A low-fat, low-calorie diet doesn’t work. Because as this process repeats, our cells become more resistant to insulin, which causes us to gain more weight, which only increases insulin resistance in a vicious circle, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, and low HDL can all follow–and fat intake is barely involved.” Our diet would be healthier if we focused on REAL FOOD. “The staggering rise in obesity over the past few decades doesn’t just stem from refined carbohydrates messing with our metabolism. More and more of what we eat comes to us custom-designed by the food industry to make us want more. There’s evidence that processing itself raises the danger posed by food. Studies suggest that unprocessed meat does not. How we eat, whether we cook it ourselves or grab fast food takeout, matters as much as what we eat.”

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