Fats Won’t Make You Fat and Carbs Aren’t the Devil

22 Sep

IMG_1197The Diet World is confusing. A quick Internet search lists so many fad diets, you don’t know which one is right for you. Should you do high carb or low carb, Atkins or Vegetarian, Slow or FAST?

 

Before you decide how you want to eat, let me throw in my two cents. How about not dieting at all? What about just eating food—real food that tastes amazing and works with your body type and needs (such as diabetes, thyroid disease, food allergies, weight loss, etc.)?

 

While I’m not going to give general recommendations in this blog as to how many vegetables, starches, fruit, fat and protein grams you should eat (because I believe that is highly individualized and who the heck knows what a gram of anything looks like, let alone want to measure it), I do want to talk about what real food is made of (macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat) and how it builds and sustains our health. While I think knowing examples of what a carb, fat and protein are is important, I also think it is crucial to remember that we eat food—not macronutrients—and that each food almost always contains all three macronutrients.

 

Carbohydrates. A lot of people villainize carbs, but here’s the catch—vegetables and fruits are carbs too, so eliminating carbs is certainly not the answer to vitality. Carbohydrates are compounds composed of sugars (not to be confused with processed sugars that truly hinder your health) and come from plants. They are a primary source of energy, fiber and a structural component of cell walls and plasma membranes because they contain all sorts of stellar vitamins, minerals, water and secondary nutrients like antioxidants. Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits and starches (grains, beans and potatoes).

 

Protein. Protein consumption is essential for building and repairing all tissues in the body such as muscle, bones, organs, hair and skin, not to mention neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones and a source of energy. There are 21 amino acids (for the chemistry aficionados, these are the individual compound strands of protein) and our bodies can make most of these all on our own. However, there are 8 essential amino acids that can only be obtained through direct consumption of fish, fowl, meat, eggs and dairy. These amino acid building blocks are necessary for our bodies to function optimally.

 

Fat. Before you run for the hills, please understand that you need to eat fat. Fat is composed of glycerol and fatty acids and their asso­ciated organic groups. Fat is a source of energy, a building block for cell membranes and hormones, aids in nerve conduction and helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It also helps with maintaining healthy weight due to its satiating nature. It is essential to consume high quality saturated and unsaturated fats to maintain optimal health, especially the essential fatty acid omega-3. Fabulous fat examples include olives, coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds.

 

For an individualized nutrition program and to create body and food freedom, please contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

 

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