By: Paulina Dedaj
Fitness is in. At least that’s what the latest in data research and analysis tells us. In 2014 over 54 million Americans were paying for a gym membership and the average gym-goer visited their club over 100 times a year. With this promise to get in the gym more comes the promise to eat right. Include more lean proteins in your diet. Eat more fruit. Avoid fats. Right? Some of these popular trends may actually be more harmful than helpful when looking at the nutritional value behind them.
Grocery store shelves are filled with low fat and fat free products. They promise the same great taste but without any of the guilt. Products with fat modified content seem like an important staple of any weight loss diet. We often associate fat, any fat, with weight gain but that is a common misconception that often leads to more weight gain.
When you buy a yogurt that is low fat or fat free, surprisingly it still tastes good. That’s because the fat is replaced with added processed sugar. This can actually cause weight gain. Unlike natural sugar (fructose) which is broken down more slowly by the body with the help of fiber, processed or refined sugars raise our blood sugar levels. This causes us to crave more sugars and carbohydrates. So next time you’re tempted to grab that fat free yogurt, remember you might be hindering your weight loss journey.
Eating the right types of fat is an important part of maintaining a well-rounded diet. Good fats can be major source of energy for your body that help to support cell growth and organ protection. So what is a healthy fat?
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be healthy fats. Some sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, peanut oil and avocados. These foods have been linked to lower rates of heart disease in regions where they a main part of everyday diets. Polyunsaturated fats are considered essential fats that are needed for the body to function normally. Because your body can’t produce this type of fat on its own, it’s important that we consume enough of it. These fats also help to lower the harmful type of cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, and have even been linked to protecting against heart disease.
Now what types fat should you avoid? Trans fats are a four-letter word in the health world. In fact, there are no known health benefits of trans fats. Foods rich in trans fats increase the harmful type of cholesterol in the bloodstream and can dramatically increase your chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. That means putting down the Big Macs and chicken nuggets.
Your body needs fats but healthy fats! Avoid the low fat or fat free products because you may be worse off with all the processed sugar. It’s important to read the nutrition labels to figure out what types of fat you are consuming. Add more avocados, olive oil, salmon and coconut oil to your diet to ensure you’re getting the good fats. A closer attention to the nutritional value of the food you eat will help you achieve a healthy and well balanced diet.