For many years, dieters thought that low-fat diets were the best way to lose weight. But when obesity became an epidemic, it seemed the old diet gurus did not get it right. And more and more are now switching, recommending low-carb diets as a better way for staving off extra pounds.
The idea that fat causes you to gain weight probably comes from the fact that it has nine calories per gram while carbs on the other hand only have four calories per gram. With this information in mind, it is easy to assume that eating fat will truly make you gain more weight.
The Bad in Fats
Yes, fats have higher calories compared to carbs. But saturated fats which are mainly found in animal products like beef, pork, and poultry are associated with high cholesterol levels. And when your cholesterol level is high, this automatically puts your health at risk of liver disease, cancer, stroke and other heart diseases.
This is mainly how the industry of non-fat, low-fat and light products all began. They are marketed as having less fat content, which attracts more buyers who are religiously working out to lose weight. But the truth about these products is when the fat is taken out, it is usually replaced with another ingredient to prevent it from tasting differently.
As much as we want to avoid fats, our bodies still need them. They are essential for tissue repair and cellular growth. Your body also needs fats for hormones regulation and absorption of certain vitamins in the gut.
The Good In Fats
The truth is, our bodies still need fats for vitamin absorption, tissue repair, cell growth and hormones production, among other things. As trans fats can clog your arteries and cause heart diseases, it is time to trade them for healthier fat substitutes.
Along with monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fats are also good for you. They are proven to promote your general state of health. In fact, the American Heart Association encourages people to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as they are great for your heart health and cognitive functions.
If you are eating foods that contain saturated and trans fats, throw them out and replace them with polyunsaturated fats. They are found in plant and animal sources like almond, peanuts, canola, olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish, and are super-healthy.
The Bad In Carbs
Simple carbohydrates like white flour, grains, corn kernels and other refined carbs are broken down as sugar and are easily converted to fat stores. They cause insulin spikes which make you even hungrier than you usually would be. Refined carbohydrates are also linked to obesity, high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance or diabetes.
According to most nutritionists, while we should avoid foods high in sugar, it is imperative that we base a third of your calories from starchy foods. Sweet potatoes, cereals, brown rice and whole grain varieties are just some examples. If you truly want to stay healthy, you should not make any room for refined carbohydrates and instead replace them with complex carbs.
The Good In Carbs
Complex carbs take the time to digest and generally fill you up making you feel satiated for longer periods of time. They are less likely to be converted into fat and they keep your blood glucose levels more constant.
In conclusion, eating complex carbohydrates will help normalize your blood sugar, prevent you from overeating and regulate your weight.
The question now is, should you choose a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet?
Drastic changes in your diet will also affect your metabolism. If your metabolism starts to detect that you are spending energy on working out without replacing the source of your energy expenditure through your diet, your body will go into starvation mode and you will find yourself on a plateau if you are trying to lose more weight.
Instead of completely eliminating carbs and fats, it is recommended that you lessen your calorie intake but keep carbs and fats in your diet. You just have to find healthier sources to help you lose more weight. By only consuming the healthiest fat and carbs as described in this article, you will already make a leap in improving your personal health and longevity.
In conclusion, your body needs both carbohydrates and fats. The key is to strategize your diet wherein you provide enough complex carbs while substituting your regular trans fats with polyunsaturated fats. A diet plan based on this principle will help you lose weight without feeling like you are depriving your body of food.