It turns out that eating most types of fat isn’t bad for you… and some forms of fat are likely protective and beneficial.
The low fat craze which took hold in the 1980s created a nightmarish scenario which is still unfolding upon the US citizens. As Americans began to fear eating any and all forms of fat, we were force fed domestically manufactured substances meant to appear as if they were healthier for us. Big Food came to the plate and pushed many different forms of sugar and processed carbs into our food supply to help American avoid fat. Much to our surprise… and demise, and as we now know — sugar is the true enemy to our health and well being. Excess sugar in its many forms has contributed to an enormous rise in obesity and a host of diseases rarely encountered often when I was in medical school. Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Arterial disease (strokes, kidney damage, amputations) have risen among the public and have reached epidemic proportions. Sugar and processed carbs have become the trigger … and to this day can still be found in very high amounts in most of the commercially produced crap (food) we eat.
Well, it turns out that all fat really isn’t likely to be that bad for us after all. When we talk about fat we are talking about saturated fat (think butter), unsaturated fats (think nuts and Olive Oil), and trans-fats (think Big Food manufactured/processed foods).
Trans-fats are man made and never good for us. NYC has banned them and they are set to be off the shelves in the US by 2018. They contribute to heart disease and other serious health related issues. Never eat them.
Saturated fats, while some argue they are not beneficial, may not be as bad for you as originally thought.
Eating Mono- and poly-unstarurated fats (think Olive Oil), appear to be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A recent study in JAMA looked at the eating patterns of over 130,000 people over 32 years. This study found that saturated fats were not a highly ranked contributor to our demise and that unsaturated fats might be protective. This was an observational study, so definitive correlations and conclusions are limited… but worthy of noting and certainly worthy of future study.
We can not make formal or strict recommendations about whether or not certain fats should be eaten to minimize our risk of developing heart disease, obesity and diabetes. But the picture is becoming clearer.
- Avoid all Trans-fats — period, end of story.
- Saturated fats, in moderation may not be as bad for us as the food industry and previous reports have stated.
- Unsaturated fats will likely be proven to be beneficial for us and until proven otherwise should be utilized as the the fat of choice when choosing our foods from the ingredients they contain.
High fat diets are obviously not in our best interest… but fat is not nearly the enemy that sugar is. Processed carbs and sugar can be found in most all foods we consume. Sugar can be found in very high amounts in many of the foods we eat… and by looking at the ingredient list you might be fooled into thinking otherwise. Big food has found way to hide sugar in our foods by changing the name or by making it seem “organic” or raw. It is still sugar.
- Sugar/simple carbs in highly processed foods leads to insulin spikes
- it is a highly inflammatory ingredient… inflammation is now held as the primary cause of heart disease and poor blood vessel health.
- An insulin spike causes fat production to store the sugar.
- insulin in turn tells your brain that you are HUNGRY !
- And the cycle repeats… sugar is a highly addictive substance that is killing us slowly — but surely.
Watch the sugar content in your foods. Do not be so afraid of some of the fats that you are eating. Packaging of Big Food products can be very misleading. “Low fat” does necessarily mean it is healthy — because the other ingredients on the packaging which you may not be able to pronounce are likely forms of sugar and highly processed carbs which are far worse for you.
Follow along as further research starts to elucidate what type of fats should optimally be consumed.
We don’t need to follow the plethora of dietary crazes we read about all day long. We need to take an interest into what we are pouring into our bodies. Less sugar, more unsaturated fats, no processed carbs (think cereal, instant oatmeal, white rice) and getting MUCH more fiber from vegetables and fruits into our body are the dietary changes you need to adopt.
Why is an Orthopedist talking to you about this? Because many of you will see me because of knee pain. The physics of walking means that for every pound you weigh your knee sees 5-7 times that amount with each step. So, if you weigh 300 pounds then each step puts nearly 2100 pounds of force across each knee with each step. That’s a lot of stress for our joints to handle. Eventually they will break down. It also means that moderate weight loss of 20 pounds will decrease the force on your knees by 140 pounds. That is significant and can make your joints feel a lot better !! Weight loss as a primary treatment for knee pain in the obese population works. Now you understand why and what changes you can adopt to minimize your risk of needing to see me :-)
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.