For today’s challenge, you have a choice. You can include either a high quality fat or a high quality carb in your each of your meals today.
Many of us have heard from both the low carb camp and the low fat camp, both arguing that their method is the only way to go. Unfortunately, they’re both operating from incomplete or short-term studies that don’t give you the whole picture.
Yes, the body only burns fat or carbs, but it prefers carbs. Yes, fat can lead to heart disease and obesity, BUT you’re body needs fat! Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K) can only be processed by your body if you’re consuming fat. Your body needs carbs AND fats.
Study after study confirms that it isn’t the ratio of carbs and fats that really matter. It’s the quality of your carbs and fats that matters.
High Quality Fats
There are three kinds of fats: unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. Trans fats should be eliminated entirely. You typically find trans fats in highly processed foods, which we know are bad for us.
Saturated fats, which should be eaten in moderate amounts, are found in meat and dairy products. The good fats–the fats we want more of–are unsaturated fats and are found avocados, nuts, and seeds.
The Standard American Diet has decreased unsaturated fats by reducing the amount of plant-based foods we eat, increased the amount of saturated fats by eating too many animal-based foods, and introduced trans fats by introducing highly processed foods into our diet.
Thankfully, nutrition labels give you a breakdown of fats, so it’s easy to reverse that. You can also use the general guidelines we’ve already discussed of eating more whole foods and more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
High Quality Carbs
A grain contains three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the outer layer and is rich in fiber. The germ is the inner layer and is rich in nutrients. The endosperm is the bulk of the kernel and contains some of the vitamins and minerals. Refined grains are milled, which strips out both the bran and germ to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life but also robbing the grain of its fiber and the bulk of its nutrients.
Since the Standard American Diet traded whole grains for refined grains, we lost all of the actual value of the grain, leaving us with a refined product that spikes blood sugar levels. Every time your blood sugar spikes, your liver creates new fat cells and your pancreas creates insulin, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, hormone imbalances, and even cancer.
The key is to eat the whole grain. The general rule is to stay away from anything that has enriched or bleached in the name and stay away from anything white. Go for colors. And for those of us that live in the South, the corn you love is grain and a good source of vitamin C. 😉