No wonder you're confused. Low-fat, no-fat, high fat, good fats, bad fats and now 'don't worry about how much fat you eat' fats. If you saw the headlines all over the news yesterday you would have seen the debating opinions about fat - a highly respected cardiologist has put a lot of weight behind the 'pro-fat' campaign, with Public Health England and The British Heart Foundation sitting very much on the 'we won't jump to any conclusions' side.
So who do you believe and more importantly, does it change what you should be eating? In a nutshell, both sides have good arguments and no, what you should be eating hasn't changed. The diet that we've been promoting here at Clinical Exercise has always looked like this:
- Plenty of water (2-3 litres per day)
- Lots of fresh vegetables (two handfuls at each main meal)
- *Lean protein at each main meal - eggs, chicken, fish, beans, lean red meat (twice a week), lentils*
- *A small handful of complex carbohydrates at main meals if exercising regularly - quinoa, spelt, brown rice, oats, sweet potato, squash*
- *A pinch of good fats at each meal - avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil*
- Low in processed foods and sugar
- Low in alcohol
So, if you are way off the mark in terms of hitting at least 80% of the above regularly, the very WORST thing to do is to start adding a huge dollop of butter to a bacon roll every morning. That's just adding more calories to a poor diet, which is just going to make your jeans tighter!
So should you be eating MORE fat? Let's talk about that in a minute. First, some background info:
A diet high in saturated fat was once known as one of the main risk factors for heart disease, which is the main reason we started creating vegetable oils and low fat replacements (take the fat out of something and it doesn't taste good - hence why sugar is added). Along the way, however, we are getting fatter as a society (1 in 4 of us are obese) and although we have reduced mortality from heart disease, this is mostly due to advancements in medications and treatments.
What most people may not realise is that it took many years to convince people that eating traditional, animal fats like butter and cheese is bad for you, while eating highly-processed, industrial vegetable oils like corn and rapeseed (canola) oil is good for you. This simply defied common sense for most people (what would our grandparents say?). But the widespread campaign to discredit saturated fat and promote these new oils was eventually successful, leading to the manufacture of thousands of products that were promoted as 'healthier' such as margarine, low fat yoghurt (low fat weight watchers cake?).
The report released that has caused the controversy can be found here. It's not the only report to argue about fat and heart disease. A review of large, well-designed studies published in reputable medical journals showed that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease (read here). Read more here and here. The NHS even gave a fantastic summary 2 years ago about how saturated fat may not have a link with heart disease.
Regardless of what you choose to currently follow, society has definitely suffered from being encouraged to eat packaged and processed foods made with cheap, tasteless vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates (low-fat cuisine), and we are fatter as a nation for it!
It's not as simple as increasing one thing in your diet to prevent disease. *Eating saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease. *
However, we need to look at the bigger picture and SIMPLIFY it. To enjoy a healthy lifestyle, make sure you do the following at LEAST 80% of the time:
- Exercise regularly
- Never smoke
- Manage stress
- Follow the eating guidelines above (which includes a sensible amount of fat in your diet)
- Avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body (processed foods, deep fried foods, preservatives, alcohol, chemicals, refined sugars
- Avoid constant high blood sugars from not utilising the carbohydrates eaten - ie if you aren't using the fuel that you are eating, reduce the amount of fuel!
If you have specific questions, please let me know.
Margarine VS Butter
*13 ingredients vs 2: milk & cultures (cream) whipped! How did we get it so wrong?*
NEW!!! HEART FACT OF THE WEEK
A blue whale's heart is about 5 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 5 feet tall. It weighs about 400 pounds (181kg). Wow!
Check out this video to see just how big it is!
Have a great week!