For years we were promised slim thighs and flat abs and all we had to do was follow the magical "low-fat" diet. Walk down the aisles in your grocery store and you'll see the shelves stocked with low-fat cookies, low-fat cheese and low-fat frozen dinners. But if these low-fat foods are as magical as promised, why is our obesity epidemic at an all time high?
I started a low-fat diet in high school and stuck with it until I was about 30. Add on the double whammy of being a lazy vegetarian, who didn't focus on complete proteins and supplementation, I was soon to become a full blown sugar addict. No matter how much I ate I did not feel satisfied. Because my body was lacking the satiety and fuel offered by fat it sent out signals for quick fuel- aka SUGAR.
The cravings were no joke and I would find myself going through major binge sessions on sugar filled cookies, chips, bread and other nutrient lacking foods. I went to therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis- anything to make my binges go away.
Those things helped a little, but I still found my sugar cravings to be uncontrollable- until I added fat into my diet. It was like a miracle. Finally, that voice in my head calling for sugar was gone. I could say no to desserts at parties and dinners. I had energy. I was satisfied. My skin looked better. I lost weight. My mood was better. I felt awesome. And all from taking the sugar out and putting the fat in.
There are many reasons why low-fat diets have led people to pack on the pounds, the main one being the replacement of fat with sugar. One of fat's best qualities is that it makes food taste really, really good. So when you take it out, food is left tasting pretty blah. In order to drive up people's desire to eat low-fat foods something needed to be added to make it taste good again, and that thing was sugar.
Sugar consumption in the United States is an epidemic. Never before in history have Americans consumed so much sugar, with the average person eating over 140 lbs of it per year. Sugar is one of the worst things we can eat as it wreaks havoc on almost every system in our body.
When we take the fat out of food, we are left feeling hungry and un-fueled. Fat is more satiating than protein and carbs, so we eat less of it. It is also digested at a much slower rate. When we eat sugar and other high-carb foods we digest them quickly and usually experience blood sugar peeks and then crashes which lead to cravings for more sugar to bump our levels back up. Before you know it you've devoured an entire box of fat-free cookies which adds up to a ton of sugar and empty calories.
Bombarding our systems with high-sugar, low-fat foods causes our blood sugar to spike and drop continuously throughout the day and raises our insulin levels. When the proper amounts are released, insulin is a good thing. Insulin is responsible for telling the cells to open up and let in the glucose (blood sugar) that is in the blood. But if our body is constantly releasing insulin our cells eventually become resistant to it and this is where the issues arise.
Sugar also causes glycation which is when sugar sticks to the proteins of the cell membranes and prevents the membranes from receiving signals from insulin to let the glucose in. Both glycation and insulin resistance lead to the blood holding onto the high levels of glucose which can cause many diseases such as diabetes, PCOS, hypoglycemia, high-blood pressure, heart disease, Syndrome X (insulin resistance or pre-diabetes) and obesity.
Having too much insulin released also decreases fat breakdown for energy and increases fat storage. By eating so much sugar, there is an abundance of insulin being secreted which is pretty much telling our body to hold onto fat and store the extra sugar in our blood as fat, which in turn makes us fat.
Insulin resistance also decreases the amount of energy our bodies can create from glucose and fat, which leads to a decrease in exercise, yet another factor in the obesity epidemic.
So in order not to become fat, we must eat fat.
Keep in mind that not all fats are created equal. Some examples of good quality fats are avocados, butter from grass-fed cows, extra virgin olive oil, lard, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
Avoid: Refined oils, Hydrogenated oils, Partially-Hydrogenated oils, and Cold-PROCESSED oils (do not confuse this sneaky phrase with Cold-PRESSED).
Sugar addiction is a real thing with detrimental effects. It can be very difficult to conquer as it affects us both emotionally and physically. Many people don't realize how much sugar they are consuming daily,and how much they rely on it, since it is hidden in so many store bought and restaurant foods. This is one of the reasons I am offering my 5-week RESTART program which includes a 3 week detox program. Find out more information here.
Questions? Call me at 512-649-1733 or or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org