Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fat Is Not The Enemy

A few years ago, a filmmaker friend of mine approached me to host a sample webisode with him and enter it into a competition. He didn't so much care about the company, but he actually makes a living winning these contests. The objective was to film a twelve-week weight loss journey and Atkins would post the winner on their website. He figured a female entry would have a better chance, and at the time I was a perfect candidate at 220 lbs. Oh...did i mention he offered to split the $14,000 prize with me? (Sadly, our entry did not win, but we both stayed on the plan long enough to lose about 15 lbs each).

I will admit that though i had my hesitations about possibly ruining my heart and my liver, it didn't take long to say yes, since my freelance work was in an epic slump and my savings were dithering away. not to mention, the weight loss that these people boasted was amazing. what's 12 weeks, right?

Listen to Grandma...this is good for you.
After accepting, i decided that i should do some research. In retrospect, it was the second biggest nutritional wake-up call that I have received in my weight loss journey, The first being how Weight Watchers taught me to read labels and pay attention to the crap i was putting in my mouth. I found that the two-week Atkins induction period was crazy (no carbs), but after it leveled off, it really resonated with me.
First, can i just ask why aren't Atkins people out there screaming "WE TOLD YOU SO!" Now we have the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, not to mention South Beach and some others who capitalize on protein and fats. If one selects non-processed and even better, organic meats, the health scares associated with Atkins are just not true.

Fat is not what is killing us. Furthermore, fat substitutes contribute to the problem. Why? because if you read the labels, you will find that they are made of sugars and starches which cause blood sugar spikes. As if it wasn't enough that the overtly sugary products were hitting us hard, add in the "fat-free" and it's chaos.

Remember how your 85 year old grandmother would shake her head when someone mentioned dieting, and remind you about how they ate bacon and eggs every day? (fresh from the farm, i might add). Grandma was onto something. Which is why we call this blog living Ultra Retro...we want to live like great-grandma did.

Fats are important to humans. We have heard already that unsaturated fats like the omega 3's found in olive oil, nuts, and fish are good. However, after scratching the surface a bit, i found that saturated fats (the bacon kind) are beneficial as well!
"The demonization of saturated fat began in 1953, when Dr. Ancel Keys published a paper comparing saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality. His theory turned out to be flimsy, to say the least, but the misguided ousting of saturated fat has continued unabated ever since. Fortunately, the truth is finally starting to come out, as medical scientists have begun to seriously question Keys' findings.

Time to Put Ancel Keys' Theory to Rest

Keys based his theory on a study of six countries, in which higher saturated fat intake equated to higher rates of heart disease. However, he conveniently ignored data from 16 other countries that did not fit his theory. Had he chosen a different set of countries, the data would have shown that increasing the percent of calories from fat reduces the number of deaths from coronary heart disease.
And, as illustrated in the featured article, when you include all 22 countries for which data was available at the time of his study, you find that those who consume the highest percentage of saturated fat have the lowest risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, many have now realized that it's the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain, causing far more significant health problems than saturated fat ever could!
Still, despite the scientific evidence, the low-fat dogma remains a favorite among most government health authorities. Case in point: the most recent food chart issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December of last year, recommends reducing your saturated fat intake to a mere seven percent of caloric intake—down from its previously recommended 10 percent…"
As for me, I am learning how incredibly important fat is for the development of my little guy. When learning how to breast feed, it was stressed to me how important duration was in order to get the highest concentration of fats into the baby. It scares me a little that there might be a lot of parents who are trying to do right by their children and avoiding good fats right along with the bad.

Now that meat is back on the table, I need to find where one can buy bacon made from happy, healthy pigs. God knows it won't be from Hormel.

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