The battle between carbohydrates and fats
- The debate surrounding the health benefits of a low carbohydrate and low fat diet continues
- Many people fear fat because of their high caloric value
- Ultimately, what nutrition research continues to prove is that fat does not make us fat
The debate surrounding the health benefits of a low carbohydrate and low fat diet continues, as recent research shows that there is no benefit from cutting out saturated fats from the diet if they are to be replaced with carbohydrates.
However, when saturated fats were replaced with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, there was a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
This research simply proves yet again that a low fat diet is not the best choice when trying to improve your health, lose weight, and prevent certain chronic diseases.
It is refreshing as a dietitian and nutrition professional to see that healthy fats are recently getting more attention in the health field. Healthy fats are an essential part of a sustainable diet and life. Fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish are tasty, easy to incorporate into our daily lives, and are more dense nutritionally than their carbohydrate substitutes.
For example, instead of having a whole sandwich, try having half a sandwich and adding avocado to it. The avocado will add a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, which improve cholesterol levels, lower your risk of heart disease, and aid in weight management. Plus, the avocado will keep you satiated for a longer period of time, help prevent that most meal sugar high, then crash, and will make your sandwich taste ten times better!
Many people fear fat because of their high caloric value, but this is no reason to avoid these nutritional powerhouses. The quality of the foods we eat is much more important than the number attached to them. Getting most of your food intake from whole food sources such as whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats will ensure that your body is getting adequate nutrition.
Furthermore, these whole foods working together during the digestive process all serve as a mechanism that keeps full without eating “too many calories.” Healthy fats keep us full for a longer period of time than carbohydrates do, which means that you will inherently eat less throughout the day because you are still full from those avocado slices on your sandwich.
It is very easy to start incorporating more of these healthy fats into your diet. For example, instead of having a plain sandwich, add some avocado to it; instead of having just a banana, add some almond butter to it; and instead of having a plain salad, add some delicious walnuts or sunflower seeds to it.
All of these additions will improve your health, prevent certain chronic diseases, and help manage your weight, all while making your food taste delicious and nutritious.
Ultimately, what nutrition research continues to prove is that fat does not make us fat. Fat is such a key component to our livelihood, and the more we slowly start to fear them less and eat them more, the better health outcomes we will experience.