Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fats vs Carbs--The Fat Loss Eating Dilemma

So, you want to lose weight.  Or, more specifically, you want to lose some excess fat, as do so many of us!  And you read and ask friends and professionals and get as many opinions and ideas as sources.  What's a normal person to do?
First, think.  Second, eat food.  I know you THINK you EAT FOOD, but it is likely that a good deal of what you and many others among us consume consists of manufactured products with very little resemblance to actual food as provided by nature--plants and/or animals.

This does not imply that you must become a farmer nor live on roots and berries.  It means that you must think about what a body actually needs to thrive, and move your diet as close to that ideal as you comfortably can.  It is likely that the closer you get, the more weight you will lose, and the healthier you will become.

In terms of both health and fat loss, there is a difference between a processed, "pink slime," burger, and one made from grass-fed beef.  There is a difference between processed eggs/egg whites and whole, pastured chicken eggs.  There is a difference between fresh fruit and canned fruit.  There is a difference between iceberg lettuce and dark, leafy, mixed green salad. The further from its natural state a food is, the less good for you it is.  The more ingredients a label has, the less foodlike the substance inside of it is will be.

A subset of packaged and processed foods are all the basically empty calories we love to eat--cakes, pies, candies, cookies, chips, etc.  The body wants nutrition, and these items do not contain much in the way of nutrients.  They do contain calories.  This leads to a craving for FOOD despite too many calories having been consumed already.  We know what that leads to..........obesity.  The answer, however, is not a low-fat diet, but a low carb diet, with focus on the healthy fats and lots of varied vegetables and natural sources of protein.  When we eat too many carbohydrates (sugars and flours) and hydrogenated/trans fats, which most of our nutritionally empty, yummy treats represent, we put ourselves into a fat-storing mode of operation.

To stay out of fat-storing mode, in addition to eating real food, we need a surprising amount of healthy fats.  Most of us do not realize that our brain is made largely of fat (around 2/3), and fat is a good fuel for the body.  Fats get bad press in diet literature and even among professionals. Turns out fat is not the enemy--processing is!   Processed foods tend to contain trans fats, which are rarely found in nature, and are bad for the brain.  One set of healthy fats we want to consume, omega 3s, are found in salmon, flax, avocado, seaweed, dark leafy greens, chia seeds, walnuts.  Even those egg yolks which so many have started to avoid, have fatty acids used by the body in a variety of ways.  An egg, despite its maligned history, is a pretty good little nutrient package, high in protein, and choline.  Meats and dairy (which also often get bad press) can have good fats, omega 3 and 6 and others,  if they are raised in a healthy way, but more of the bad fats if they are not (grazed/pastured versus fed grains and foods not in their native diets).  Oh, my, how confusing it all is.

The bottom line of this information overload is to eat foods that are closer to nature, avoid overly processed items, and NOT become phobic of fats.

Here are some helpful references:



  1. ....and we know how tough it can be to give up all those yummy treats or convince yourself it is okay to have a real salad dressing! Sometimes a professional touch is the key--clinical hypnosis is both a great motivator AND a great way to break harmful habits. And a little Rational Emotive look at how you make eating decisions is helpful as well. In or near Naperville. IL? Call 630-249-1983 or write drlow@pobox.com to get started today with a free phone consultation.

  2. Happy to see GOOD information about good fat and the problems with carbs in the popular press!