Our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer informed us of some of the history of the much-revered (in the 80s and 90s) and now somewhat-maligned, low-fat diet. There is one name you need to know, he says, and that is: Ancel Keys.
If you grew up between the 80s and 90s, there is one food fact you know to be true: FAT IS BAD!
Well, get ready to have your mind blown—your knowledge of nutrition is about to be turned on its head!
According to our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut, the truth is, and all the studies show, that fat–even some saturated, fat– is GOOD for you!! In fact, some studies even show that fat can help cure some of the ailments that it has been wrongfully accused of causing.
In the 70s and 80s, there was a rise in Cardiovascular Disease, and it was Ancel Keys’s “research” that showed that there was a correlation between dietary fat and CVD. Everyone loved this idea; it sounded great and seemed to make sense.
Eating (dietary) fat increases your (body) fat, and will clog your arteries.
Our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut goes on to tell us, that this theory spread like wildfire, even leading up to the US Government changing the food pyramid in 1992 to reflect a minimum intake of fat.
Problem solved, right? Wrong!
The issue is, Ancel Keys falsified some of his research. And, there is also some evidence suggesting that he was getting kick-backs from sugar lobbyist.
“How are the two connected? Well, for all my friends who love to cook (myself included) we all know fat is flavor. Therefore, what are you supposed to do if you take all of the flavor out of food, yet still want to sell it? Simple, you add another, extremely addictive, flavor-additive sugar. What is even worse is most studies now show sugar is the culprit for many of the health issues that go along with being overweight.”
Our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut continues by saying that not only did Ancel Keys’s research not fix the issue, it –in fact — contributed to making it worse.
Nowadays, we know fat isn’t nearly as bad for you as we once thought, but can it be good for you?
“The short answer is yes,” says our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer, “with two small caveats:
… that for weight-loss purposes, every macro nutrient has an associated caloric value. In the most basic sense (*mind you, it’s not quite this simple*) weight loss/gain will boil down to calories in versus calories out.
Carbs and Protein are 4 calories per gram while Fat is 9 calories per gram. What this means is, even though fat can be healthy, you cannot go eat a whole stick of butter every day and expect to lose weight.
Finally, says our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer, we should get a better understanding of the different kinds of saturated fat.
There are short-, medium-, and long-chain fatty acids which are categorized by the length of the molecule. Short-chain fatty acids (which are found in grass-fed/natural dairy products) are shown to aid in colon health and promote the growth of healthy colon cellular tissue. The “gut” is the epicenter for healthy immune systems, and unhealthy guts have also been shown to be one of the links to depression and anxiety. Short-chain fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Medium-chain fatty acids (such as coconut oil) have been shown to aid in weight loss, as well as aiding in memory and brain health.
Long-chain fatty acids are the fats that have been shown to increase LDL Cholesterol which, when oxidized, may be a contributing factor to CVD and metabolic syndrome.
“That being said,” says our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer, “linoleic acid, which is an unsaturated fatty acid, has been shown to lower LDL levels. So, simply put, good fats will aid in lowering the risk of the unhealthy fats.”
Long-chain fatty acids are found in processed foods, processed meats and factory farmed meats. Unfortunately, long-chain fatty acids tend to be the fats that most people over consume, giving all fats a bad rap.
To keep it simple, the best saturated fats to consume are: coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, wild-caught fish, organic butter, and free-range eggs.
The fats you want to avoid are: any processed fat and fats that are naturally occurring. That includes many vegetable/seed oils such as canola and soybean. Hydrogenated fats (such as margarine), and any trans fat. Trans fats are fats that are unnatural manufactured fats that are designed to not break down on store shelves. Because of their long-lasting properties food companies and chain restaurants love trans fats because the will preserve the shelf-life of products. The problem is if a food does not break down on the shelves it will not break down in the body.
In summation, most fats are good –even healthy for you! Don’t be scared to eat the healthy saturated fats. Stay away from the small proportion of unhealthy saturated fats and you will be fine! As always, if you are looking for a personal trainer in West Hartford, contact Dan at Horizon Personal Training Centers of Newington!