More than 25 years ago there were thousands of headlines about the miraculous result of a low fat weight loss diet. This information came from the USDA food pyramid: a straightforward low fat, high starch diet chart. Throughout the years, research and trials (such as the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial) have proven that there are no apparent benefits for either permanent weight loss or disease prevention in switching to a low fat high starch diet.
So does that give us the go ahead to feast on burgers, cheese, desserts, butter, and the like? Not at all. Consider the counter productivity of a low fat but high sugar food. You have lessened your fat intake but not your sugar intake! Also, fat grams alone will not tell you all you need to know about the nutritional value of a particular food. You cannot say no to an avocado or an orange (both are full of multiple disease fighting antioxidants and vitamins!) but yes to a stalk of celery just because the avocado has a relatively high fat content. In this case the fat is the good heart healthy monounsaturated fat. The type of fat you consume is far more important than the amount you consume when it comes to your weight loss diet.
Replacing bad fats (saturated fats, found mostly in animal foods such as the fat in meat, and trans-fats which can be found in processed junk foods and many packaged food products) with good fats (monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids found in unprocessed foods such as certain nuts and seeds, olives, vegetable oils, fish, dark chocolate) is the healthiest way to eat.
Just as we know to replace white, empty carbs (processed breads, white rice and processed cereals, basically anything with added sugar) with whole grains (dark bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, etc.), similarly we must be choosy about what kind of fats we eat, selection rather than elimination. Everything should be in moderation for your weight loss diet. So when you reach for something fatty, make it good: a good fat.
Of course, turning the tables over completely is not the healthiest path to a safe weight loss diet either. The golden rule is: Do not go to extremes. First of all, it is not healthy. Secondly, you almost certainly will not be able to keep it up. Your body will be fighting you every step of the way, and how natural is that? Choose moderation over deprivation. Your body craves and needs some good fats to function properly.
As with any ongoing problem, people will try many different approaches to achieve a safe and healthy weight loss diet. Those with the best results are those which are based on the golden rule for weight loss and weight management. If you balance your weight loss diet with minimal saturated fats and moderate unsaturated fats, you will see results.
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