Getting over our fat fear.

It’s time to crush our fat fear. Recent research is telling us that fat doesn’t make us fat. The real villain is sugar. Here on the Kay’s Naturals blog we have discussed the ills of sugar. Our brains treat it like a drug, it causes metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, neurological damage, memory loss… and the list goes on. Concurrently, we are learning that monounsaturated fats actually help prevent heart diseases, such as nuts, avocados and peanut butter. This flies in the face of everything we were told in the in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Its time to retrain our brains on what we think is healthy.
Desserts are a prime example of how America’s poor choices have become habituated.  Twizzlers are a favorite candy in part because it is low fat; while a Snickers bar is often considered akin to evil. What do you think is better, an entire Snickers bar or 6 Twizzlers? Lets compare:
Serving size: 1 unit, 52.7 grams
Serving size: 6 Pieces, 54 grams
Calories: 250
Calories: 240
Total fat: 12 grams
Total fat: 0.75 grams
Sodium: 120 milligrams
Sodium: 127.5 milligrams
Sugars: 27 grams
Sugars: 28.5 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Protein: 1.5 grams
Calcium: 4%
Calcium: 0%
Fiber: 4%
Fiber: 0%
(A Twizzlers serving size is 4 pieces. The number was raised to make the comparison more equal by making both candy have about the same mass.)
They are nearly equal. It is true that a Snickers bar has more fat, protein, fiber and calcium. What candy will satisfy your hunger longer? Research shows that fats actually curb appetite because it releases the fullness hormone cholecystokinin. One point for Snickers. Which one will make our blood sugar spike faster? Because of the fiber and protein, Snickers will be slower to burn and have a less dramatic spike. Two points for Snickers. Although it has more fat, Snickers takes a (marginal) lead as the healthier option (though, we advocating for neither. because both are full of the refined sugars that harms us). This comparison highlights how our misconceptions of the health effects of sugar and fat can to potentially hazardous health choices. We perceive low-fat foods to be a favorable option because we believe the fat myth: that fat makes us fat and sugar doesn’t.
Congress generated the fat fear in 1976 when little was understood about the link between diet, health and nutrition. With what the little information they did possess Congress created the first dietary guidelines for the United States due to the startling increase of heart attacks. Congresses groundbreaking and misguided legislation still affects our food choices today.The premise was simple: fat causes heart disease and should be avoided at all costs. Meanwhile, carbohydrates were believed to be healthy and became the foundation of our food pyramid.
A walk in a grocery store is an excellent example of how this legislation has played out. Low-fat and fat free yogurt options rang range in the hundreds, but full fat and low sugar yogurt is difficult to find. To compensate for removing fat, manufactures have added sugar to make it palatable. For example, a single serving of vanilla Yoplait yogurt has nearly as much sugar as a Snickers bar with a whopping 24.9 grams.
With the new dietary guidelines in place and a full blown fat-phobia in motion, food manufacturers began to make low-fat cheese, low-fat ice cream, low-fat milk, low-fat everything. They also started to add sugar to bread, ketchup, meat, soup, salad dressings, etc.  In households across the US fatty foods like whole milk were banned and the bagels, crackers and pasta streamed in. Fast-forward 48 years and our national health has only depreciated.
The no-fat, pro-carb approach clearly hasn’t worked. Data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows that caloric intake has increased by 24.5%. That is a staggering increase of 530 calories a day. Carbohydrate consumption increased the most, at 9.5 percent. There has been a nine percent increase in oil and fats and a five percent increase in sugar consumption. This accounts for the rise in obesity, which has more than doubled since the 1970’s (Food Research and Action Center). Is it any wonder that obesity and diabetes are epidemic when the average American consumes 500 calories of added sugar a day? (
The World Health Organization suggests that 5% of our caloric intake should come from sugar. That’s 100 calories or 25 grams of sugar a day with a 2,000 calorie diet. Lets put that in perspective. If you enjoy a low-fat cup of vanilla Yoplait for breakfast, then your are done with sugar for the day. That means no sugary peanut-butter, or a ½ cup serving of Campbell's Tomato Soup (12 grams of sugar). Even milk is a no go, as one cup of milk has 12 grams of sugar. With so much sugar lurking around in what is easily perceived as healthy, cutting sugar consumption to 25 grams a day can sound nearly impossible.
The trick to consuming less sugar is done simply by selecting food wisely and knowing what is healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection, 20%-35% of our daily caloric intake should come from fat. That means you can replace the high-sugar low-fat yogurt with greek yogurt  (3.2 grams of sugar but 8 grams of fat), dump most processed foods, and replace the fat-free ice cream with a couple of pieces of antioxidant rich dark chocolate. If you are consuming the correct amount of fats and nutrition everyday, it's likely that your body will feel satisfied, even without the desserts.
In short, it’s a time rejoice and welcome back a bit of healthy fat! Retrain your brain and trade the high sugar snack (think toast, Twizzler, bagel) with a bag of nuts. And never, ever, buy fat-free ice cream again. It has just as many calories as the full fat version and more likely to give you cancer because it has much more sugar.
Lastly, indulge. Order some cookies from Kay’s Naturals. We satisfy cravings like no other and our Cookie Bites have only 3 grams of carbs and 3 grams of sugar! Sounds to good to be true? It’s not! We happen to have a food scientist who is extremely passionate about providing healthy snacks and cereals to create healthier communities. Sometimes to be healthy, we just need to explore all of our options.


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