Why swapping low-fat for low-carb isn’t enough!

fatsWe’ve seen plenty of news articles recently that confirm low carb-diets are better for diabetes than low-fat. And I agree. BUT…

…that’s not the whole story. You’ve got to understand more about the nature of fats!

A bacon and egg fry-up might trump toast and marmalade in the blood-sugar stakes, and keep you feeling fuller for longer, but it also contains massively more calories. You see, just 1 gram of carb contains 4 calories of energy. 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories of energy too. 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy! That’s  more than twice the calories in fat compared with carbs or protein. And yet, I haven’t seen a single article warning readers of this fact.

Without considering portion sizes it will be so easy to take in huge amounts of calories.

Also, there isn’t enough being said about which fats are healthy and which are harmful. So I thought maybe it’s time to set the record straight here too…

Hydrogenated/trans fats are THE WORST! Artificial laboratory-made to turn an unsaturated oil into a saturated fat by adding hydrogen into the mix. It’s a way to make an oil into a solid, spreadable fat. But it’s also a fat that your body cannot process as nutrition. It’s a fat that is so toxic it will damage your liver, and will linger in your body for a long, long time. Give these fats a miss – never be tempted to use them. Remember, oils that are liquid at room temperature have to have been artificially processed to turn them into a ‘margarine’. Pure olive oil spreads, pure sunflower spreads, pure soya spreads all fall into this category.

butterSaturated fats can be processed by the body – and there’s increasing evidence that they are not harmful. Their reputation is certainly being redeemed right now. BUT, ‘not harmful’ is not exactly the same as ‘healthy’! That said, coconut oil is a saturated fat, and is also getting great press about health benefits too! Butter is once again the thing to spread on your bread – but watch out for those calories – it’s hard to stick to a light smear of butter. It tastes so good it’s too easy to slather on thickly!

Unsaturated fats have long been thought to be healthy. That’s only partly true! Omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids are definitely OK – both are associated with good heart health, and, on top of that, omega-3 is anti-inflammatory. Olive oil is high in these 2 omegas – that’s why it is still considered to be the healthiest oil! And of course it’s the key ingredient that makes the Mediterranean diet so beneficial!

But omega-6 – oh dear oh dear! Omega-6 is necessary. BUT omega-6 is inflammatory too!

Now, we do all need an inflammatory response – it could be a life-saver. But when we develop too much inflammation then real health problems occur. Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, cardio-vascular disease, stroke, arthritis, fibromyalgia, are all associated with high levels of inflammation. And high levels of omega-6 have now been shown to contribute to these conditions.

Before we used processed foods it’s thought we had a ratio of about 1:1 between omega-6 and omega-3 in our diets. But with processed foods our diets are way higher in inflammatory omega-6 than anti-inflammatory omega-3.  Research findings now suggest we should seriously limit the amount of omega-6 in our diets. Sunflower oil has about 26 times more omega-6 than omega-3 – definitely one to avoid! Rapeseed oil has been hailed for several years as the UK’s healthy equivalent to olive oil. Sorry folks, it’s just not true! Rapeseed has twice as much omega-6 compared with omega-3 and doesn’t begin to be the equivalent of olive oil at all.

The big downfall with olive oil, and other high omega-3 oils, is that they burn and become toxic at high temperatures, so be careful of heating them for roasting/frying. Best stick with butter or coconut oil for high temperature cooking (saturated fats are difficult to burn), and use olive oil for gentle cooking or for use cold.

Any questions? Please just ask!

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 9, 2015 at 4:45 am | Permalink | Reply

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