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Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

The fat debate keeps evolving from one generation and scientific study to the next. I remember when I was in my 20’s, and 30’s the latest fad diet was following a low-fat diet. I was not healthy back then, and I lived with chronic illness and a host of unpleasant symptoms including fluctuating mood swings, gas and bloating, anxiety, persistent weight gain, and I tended to catch colds, ear infections, and viruses more often. I didn’t realize that my diet which consisted of processed foods, dairy, gluten, refined carbohydrates and sugar was wreaking havoc on my health.

I was a proud subscriber to the “low-fat diet” craze, thinking I was doing my body good. The media brainwashed us to believe low-fat equates to being healthy and thin, and that fat clogs your arteries, causing heart disease. Then the government and healthcare companies came on board and warned us to “cut out the fat.” Looking back at the government’s food pyramid, the bottom of the pyramid suggested 6-11 servings of carbohydrates a day, including pasta, bread, cereal, rice, etc. (mostly processed!) Then at the very top 1-2 servings of oils and fats. The food industry jumped on board creating all kinds of low-fat products, from low-fat yogurt, cheese, salad dressing, crackers – creating the newest label “Low-Fat” is healthy. Do you remember the infamous Snackwells?

Today, the average American consumes 150 lbs. of sugar and flour in a year. Twenty-percent of our daily calories come from sugary drinks, including sweetened soda, teas, sports drinks, coffees, and fruit juices. These liquid sugars are the most dangerous and are considered the worst of sugars. They go right into fat production and storage. They are highly addictive which increases our craving to want more sugar.

We now know refined carbohydrates are the cause of obesity and heart disease – not fat. Carbohydrates (those made from processed ingredients, not whole foods, like fruits and vegetables) turn on a metabolic switch causing a spike in the hormone insulin. This leads to fat storage – especially dangerous belly fat. It is sugar and carbohydrates, not fat, that cause abnormal cholesterol, and leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

Sugar is made of two molecules, glucose, and fructose. Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. The body breaks down carbohydrates to glucose for energy (found in fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains .) Fructose can only metabolize in the liver, which turns into fat. One major culprit, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), is in a lot of processed foods, including the low-fat versions. HFCS plummets directly to the liver, which then turns into fat. When this happens, we tend to overeat, as we crave more food because we are eating empty calories.

How can we begin to eliminate sugar from our diet?

When we start to bring this awareness into our daily habits, we can begin to “crowd out” sugary, processed foods and soft drinks. Then begin to introduce nutrient-dense whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats – olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter and good quality animal protein and wild-caught fish. Below are some suggestions to help you on your way to health.

1 Work on reducing your caffeine intake, especially high-sugar caffeine drinks.

2 Drink plenty of water during the day. Add lemon, basil, cucumber to add flavor. A lot of times, when we have sweet cravings, it’s a sign of dehydration.

3 Eat naturally sweet fruits and vegetables and crowd out processed fake foods.

4 Avoid artificial sweeteners; they cause you to crave more sugar and lead to obesity. Not to mention they are made solely from toxic chemicals.

5 Get physical – As you begin to eat healthily, you’ll gain more energy to incorporate an exercise routine. Start with just 15 minutes a day and work from there.

6 Make sleep a priority – This is one of the most critical steps to take to feel good. When we don’t get good quality sleep, we feel like crap, and we tend to eat all the wrong foods.

It Is Time to Rethink Our Fear of Fat

Eating more of the right fats will help you lose weight. Below are some recommendations:

  • Nuts and seeds, and nut-butters

  • Olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter

  • Pasture-raised whole eggs (yes, the yolk is the best part)

  • Grass-Fed Beef

  • Whole-milk, Greek yogurt (if you can tolerate dairy) They have more protein and fat and less sugar than their leaner versions, which makes you feel full longer. Also, protein takes longer to break down, and fat makes you feel satisfied.

  • Wild Salmon

  • Flax and Chia Seeds - These omega-3s can both enhance fat-burning, reduce heart disease risk.

Dietary fat speeds up metabolism and reduces hunger, which stimulates fat burn. Eating more fat helps reduce caloric intake, as you feel satiated. It raises the good LDL (light and fluffy) cholesterol. Diets high in fat promote more weight loss than those diets low in carbohydrates and low-fat and reduces inflammation. Dietary fat improves brain function. We need our fats - our brain is made of 60% fat!

Look out for the harmful oils - Soy, Canola, Corn, Sunflower, and Safflower. Most are made from GMOs. They create inflammation as they oxidize in your body and make cholesterol rancid. Instead stick with olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, which does not raise saturated fats in the blood.

It’s important to note that it is carbohydrates, not fats, which turn into saturated fat in your blood – leading to heart disease. Also, carbs (those highly processed foods, pasta, bread, muffins, pastry, etc.) turn on fat production in the liver, raising your HDL cholesterol.

Dr. Mark Hyman writes in his New York Time’s best-selling book Eat Fat, Get Thin: “Sugar and refined carbohydrates, not fat, are responsible for the epidemic of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia. He refers to this epidemic “The United States of Diabesity.” 1 in 3 kids is obese. By the year 2050 1 in 2 people will become obese.

Dr. Hyman also writes: "Diabesity disease is due to carbohydrate intolerance. Just like gluten intolerance, many people are carbohydrate intolerant. For those people, carbs drive a hormonal and brain chemical chain reaction that makes it almost impossible to lose weight and get healthy." Diabesity affects 1 out of 2 people in this country."

Now that you can arm yourself with this important information, I hope you can begin to understand the importance of knowing which foods are making you sick.

I’m available to help you on your health journey. Just go to my website and send me a message on my “Contact Me” page. The first step is to look at your health history, and go from there.

If your company or organization is looking for a guest speaker for health-related issues, I am available. My email is I present workshops on “Finding Health in the Modern World” which covers topics of understanding why most diets are failing, and how to take steps to eat the foods that will nourish your body, eliminating the need to be tethered to yo-yo-dieting, and gain energy and health.

Join me at the ​Natural Living Expo - New England’s Largest Holistic Expo

Saturday, November 11

9 am - 6 pm Sunday, November 12

10 am - 5 pm

Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center 181 Boston Post Rd West

Marlborough, MA 01752

Finding My Way Notes of Inspiration, a compilation of quotes and notes of inspiration taken from my first memoir Finding My Way, Facing My Journey With Courage is available on Amazon.

Contact me for a free Discovery Session to explore how I can support you on your journey towards losing weight, while gaining a healthy lifestyle, and how to become your own health advocate.

To your health and happiness,

Donna Markussen 781-354-4075

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