We know more now, and have plenty of data to back up the fact that sugar and refined carbs, when consumed in excess can cause disease. A 2016 study found that sugar played a much greater role than saturated fat in terms of the development of heart disease. A 2018 study found that it was not excess calories that increased the risk of cardiometabolic disease, but rather the type of calories that upped your risk. The study found that sugar-sweetened beverages in particular (such as juice, cola, specialty coffee and energy drinks) played a large role. The most interesting revelation in the study was that the risk of disease went up independent of weight gain.
What about fat? Why does fat not contribute as much to our weight and our health? A lot of it has to do with the fact that fat does not stimulate insulin or blood sugar meaning we can avoid the swings in both that can sometimes cause us to overeat, be hungry all day, gain weight and develop inflammation. Fat is also filling, so having it means you’ll be more satiated, for longer and thus avoid overeating. Fat also plays a role in brain health as well. In a recent article, I discussed the amazing benefits that omega 3 fatty acids have on depression and mental health.
Even our thinking on Cholesterol was wrong! We used to think that cholesterol in the diet increased cholesterol in the blood. That meant that millions of eggs were left untouched with the fear that our lipid panel would look too scary if we indulged in them. A 2016 study debunked this once and for all, and alas, the incredible egg made it’s way back to the breakfast plates of American’s.
Our genetics and disease state may cause us to break down macronutrients differently but for most of us, fitting more fat into our diets can be a good thing. Instead of chips for a snack, try mixed nuts, have eggs or avocado in the morning, add olive oil to hummus, or throw some seeds on top of a salad. The key is to keep your fats high quality and real. That means real butter, real oil (like extra virgin olive oil over vegetable oils and real animals (wild fish, grass-fed beef, etc.).
Next Month, I’ll be covering the new craze of fasting. I’ll break down the types, and reveal the greatest benefits that you can expect when considering a fasting plan.
Written by: Kristin Kirkpatrick