For years, we have been told fat is bad for you and that you should avoid it at all costs. At the same time, there is huge industry around "low-fat" foods - most of which are "processed" and replace fat with sugar. For decades, Americans have listened to this marketing and have stuck to the low-fate diet. Unfortunately, the advice to avoid fat is wrong! To be exact we should be eating fat - but only the good fat. Sugar on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs! So how can you identify good fat and bad sugar, keep reading.
Bad Fat: Bad fat really refers to saturated and trans fat. What exactly are these two fats - basically animal fat and processed fat. You can find this bad fat in bacon, fatty red meat, cream, butter, and certain cheeses. Many times, trans fat is found in doughnuts, cookies, pies, and certain crackers. Make sure to read food labels when purchasing to avoid these foods. These fats are bad, because they are linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Good Fat: Good fat refers to unsaturated fats - both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. These fats are sometimes called good fatty acids and are more easily broken down in your body. These fats can also bind to certain vitamins to help improve your body's absorption. Hence, putting olive oil over salad is good for you! Good fats include olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, almonds, and flax seed.
Bad Sugar: Sugar is secretly making us all overweight and unhealthy. Sugar can also lead to inflammation, achy joints, and a limited ability to process other nutrients. Sugar has not only been linked to Diabetes, but heart disease, stroke, obesity, and cancer. We should avoid sugar at all costs! When we speak of sugar, we aren't just referring to the white stuff you use in cookies and cakes. We are also referring to bad starch such as pastas, breads, and other processed foods. When these foods are broken down in our bodies, they turn in sugar or carbohydrates. They are hard for our digestive tracks to process and offer little nutritional value. When we think of sugar, start to think re-imagine it as carbohydrates. Not all carbs are bad, but a lot are - so we have to pay attention to food labels.
Good Sugar: There are a few foods that offer good sugar - but very few. As discussed above, start to re-frame sugar as carbohydrates. So good carbs equal fruits low in sugar, whole grains (bread is not whole grain), and in some cases potatoes. Good carbs have very simple sugars that your body can easily breakdown and that do not block absorption of other nutrients. However, eat these foods with caution. Focus on filling your plate with non-sugary carbs such as green leafy vegetables and lean proteins.
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