This week we will be looking at the next two lies/deceptions we've been fed by the health and fitness industry. I hope you are getting as much out of these as I am! 3. Fat in Food Makes You Fat
This is a reoccurring theme we've been hearing since the late 70's-early 80's. Interestingly enough this is when obesity rates also started to skyrocket. What happened when the food industry started to take fat out of our diets, is that they had to make foods palatable enough for us to eat, and they did this by adding more sugar.
People have been blaming fat in foods for making them fat, but as we cut out more and more fat, we seemed to get heavier and heavier. Not only does a low fat diet effect your weight, but all the added sugar (particularly high fructose corn syrup) is not being processed by the liver and going straight into fat stores.
What happens to the body when it doesn't have an adequate amount of essential fats is truly shocking. Here are just a few symptoms of sub-clinical to clinical fat deficiency:
- redness around the eyes
- bry brittle nails
- dry hair
- skin rashes
- trouble sleeping
- hormonal challenges
- food cravings
- weight gain
- inability to lose weight
Mix a low fat diet with one that is high in sugar, and it's predictable that a person would gain weight.
Fat is essential for us to live. Our cells are predominantly made out of fat. Our hormones are proteins and fats. If we don't have adequate amounts of fat in our diet, the cell walls become rigid and less permeable, meaning hormone transport is made harder. If you know anything about hormones, then you know that when they aren't functioning properly, all is not well, especially when it comes to weight loss.
All fat, however, is not created equal. The fat that's in processed foods is not like the fat found in nuts, seeds, meats, or high quality dairy products. Oils like cottonseed or canola are highly unstable in the body and are known to induce inflammatory responses. This is because of their processing. You wouldn't sit and eat a bowl of cottonseed, so why are we consuming the oil? The amount of processing that some of those oils go through opposed to say something like olive oil, is so drastic that they ca become rancid in the process. They are then injected with hexane to get rid of the rancid smell and nicely stored on the grocery store shelf for your consumption...
Fats like avocados, raw nuts, full fat organic dairy, high quality meats, coconut oil, nut oils, these are highly and readily available for the body to use. The less processing, the better. Period. As far as dairy goes, there is processing and heat can be disruptive to the molecules (that's not my area of expertise), but I believe that buying full fat, organic products far supersedes their low fat, conventional counterparts.
If you experience any of the symptoms above and you know for a fact that you are either not consuming enough healthy fats, or have the toxic dietary belief that fat in food makes you fat, it may be time to have another look. Do the research for yourself. Watch documentaries like Fed Up, or The Bitter Truth and make your own calls.
4. Calories in/Calories Out
I guess it may go without saying after reading my last post, but not all calories are created equally. Isn't it interesting how a low fat diet can contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight? What makes that interesting is that:
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates or protein = 4 calories (each)
If fat is higher in calories, then wouldn't it make you gain weight? The answer is that because of these findings, not all calories are created equally.
I'm sure you've heard people say that it take 3500 calories to burn 1Lb of fat. So if you eat a low calorie diet and exercise more than you consume, you should be able to lose a pound to two pounds per week. Simple right? Not so much. Not only is weight loss a lot more complicated than that and complely subjective to each individual and their environment, but not all calories do the same thing inside of the body.
In the documentary Fed Up, Dr. Robert Lustig compares a can of soda to a handful of almonds. Each product contains the same amount of calories but have very different reactions inside the body. The soda has no fiber or fat and goes straight into the bloodstream spiking insulin. Not only does it spike insulin, but the fructose it contains cannot be absorbed by the liver so it has no other choice but to drop into fat storage. The almonds on the other hand are full of fat and fiber and breakdown in the body much much slower and are fully processed by the liver. As you can see, not all calories are the same.
What the health fitness industry claims is that as long as you "burn" more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight. Well this may be true to a certain extent, it also isn't at the same time. The body may initially lose weight (most of which is water), but will quickly plateau or even regress the long a low calorie diet is maintained. The body goes into survival mode through long periods of starvation and stores the little food it does receive in its fat stores, and for a good reason...it's keeping you alive through the next drought or season where food isn't plentiful. Weight gain in this instance is a good thing, it's what our bodies were created to do. Survive.
The problem is though that we don't have famine or drought, not in North America, so when we go on restrictive diets that beg us to "fall of our wagons" and we choose to binge on the very things are bodies have a hard time processing (like high fructose corn syrup or poor quality oils), you better believe the body is going to pack on the pounds, and not in a good way.
Not all calories are created the same because not all humans are created the same. How we digest food, how we eat food, how the food is grown, all effect it's caloric value. And because all of that varies, the calories in calories out methodology is highly outdated and moronic to say the very least. Not only does counting calories not work, but it keeps the body in a state of constant stress because of the fear associated with eating more than your allotted calories for one day. I don't think I need to go into anymore detail about the stress response, but we know that metabolism is directly effected the more stress we are under.
Instead of focusing on the amount of calories in a food, focus on the quality of that food instead. Don't get sucked into the trap of calories in calories out. It's just not that simple. We are not machines, we are organic human beings, start treating yourself like one.