Right Choices for a Healthier Body: Grains Vs Fats
It’s a fact: obesity is a rapidly growing disease. Knowing the effects that being even moderately overweight can have on your general health is sufficient enough to make you stop and think. But as you consider a healthier lifestyle, inclusive of healthier eating, you will find that there is a plethora of information available.
Often, the sources are conflicting on what foods are best for weight loss; for maintaining a healthy weight; and for optimal functioning of your body. You can however wade through it all and make the best decisions if you are armed with some simple facts.
Not All Nutrients Are Created Equal
We have been conditioned to think of ‘fat’ as a dirty word when it comes to our food intake. In fact, ‘carbohydrates’ is more of a four letter word than either ‘fats’ or ‘oils’ in terms of what should feature predominantly in your diet. Your body does need all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals, along with water and fiber).
If any one is missing, then the body cannot function at it’s optimal levels and disease or illness will be the result. It is the proportion in which you take the various nutrients that can make the difference between unwanted weight gain and welcomed weight loss and control.
Remember the old food pyramid with a heavy carbohydrates base and a tiny triangle of fats and oils at its peak? When it comes to the proportions, think of taking that pyramid and inverting the contents.
So what you get is a heaping helping of protein, fruit, vegetables and fats and oils, but the carbohydrates are kept to a minimum and carefully selected. Sounds crazy, right? In your head you are probably thinking, “Wont all this make me – obese?”
Carbohydrates and Insulin
Truth be told, it’s all the carbohydrate that we have been consuming over the last few decades that have led to the obesity crisis we are currently facing. Why is this so? – The insulin factor. Some carbohydrates, such as grains and their highly processed derivatives, lead to a sharp increase in the level of insulin in the body.
One of the functions of the hormone insulin is to enlarge the adipose fat cells in the body, allowing more fat to be deposited. This storing of fat causes weight gain – weight is what you want if you are expecting a few years of famine ahead.
On top making it easier for your body to store fat, if your diet is high in carbohydrates, it will also lead to you having more fat to store. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates are digested to form sugars and excess sugars are stored as fat in those burgeoning adipose tissues.
Furthermore, if you continue to consume a lot of carbohydrates, then your body does not get the chance to use up its fat stores as energy. The result is a increase in girth and a feeling that you are being punished for eating in the way you were told.
There are carbohydrates (whole oats, and certain fruits and vegetables for example) with what is called a low glycemic index. This means they digest slowly and are not likely to cause a sudden increase in the insulin levels. Additionally, they are high in fiber which is required to keep your digest tract functionally in a regular way. Keeping modest amounts of these in your diet cannot be faulted.
Protein and Satiety
Your meal should leave you feeling full (not beached whale stuffed) for awhile, giving your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients you have eaten. This feeling of satiety is readily achieved when the meal is protein rich.
Eating lots of healthy protein is great for tissue building and repair, as well as ensuring that you are not heading back into the kitchen for a snack shortly after your meal. Your protein choices should come with the labels ‘free range’ or ‘grass fed’ and should include eggs, seafood and lean meats.
The body is unable to store protein and excess protein in got rid of by way of urine. So protein consumption cannot make you overweight. This is why diets that focus on fruits, vegetables and protein are best for weight control.
Fats and Weight Loss
Your body needs reasonable levels of certain fats in order to ensure that it is able to carry out all its functions. Remember learning in Biology that there are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins? The vital vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble and this means that they must be digested, absorbed, and transported along with fats.
Added to this, is the important factor that certain fats help with the level of satiety you feel after a meal. Actually, they are even better at it than the protein discussed earlier. For sources of these ‘good for you’ fats think coconut, avocado, amla, butter (from grass fed cows, please), nuts and seeds.
Previously unfathomable, it has now been realized that some fats can actually help in considerably reducing body fat and thus contribute greatly to weight loss. These include the coconut’s saturated capric acid and the avocado’s monounsaturated oleic fatty acid.
And don’t worry – as long as the extra fat in your diet is of the healthy kind, then it is unlikely to lead to the nightmares you would normally associate high fat intake with. Atherosclerosis and high bad cholesterol levels are not a consideration around moderate consumption of these healthy fats choices.
If you have been endlessly trying to lose weight by cutting calories and fueling up on grains and low fat foods without getting any results. It may be time to kick things up a notch and get your metabolic rate improving.
Rather than eating less, it time to start eating more of the right kind of fats. While doing so avoid grains that will spike your insulin levels and before you know it you will be fitter, feeling healthier, more energetic and looking better than before.