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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Low Fat Diets Don't Work

If like many you have spent years of sticking to a low fat diet only to find that your weight is creeping up the scales rather than down you might be wondering why that is. The answer is that dietary fat is important and many of us do not eat enough of it. Yes you did read that right! So let's look at why eating enough dietary fat is important in our quest to maintain a healthy body weight.

Firstly fat is a powerful appetite suppressant. If you don't believe my then think about this. A 500 calorie low fat meal could consist of a reasonable sized jacket potato filled with baked beans. However, you could get that same 500 calories (actually just under 500 calories) from 100 millilitres of double cream, that's about an inch in the bottom of a standard measuring jug. However, if you were to drink the cream then you wouldn't want anymore food for a significant amount of time afterwards. So despite this small amount of cream not taking up a lot of volume in your stomach and hence not making you feel "full" in the usual sense of the word, you wouldn't want any more food for quite some time afterwards.

The truth is that there is a big difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied. If we eat low fat (which usually means high carbohydrate) foods then we tend to eat 'till we are full and when we eat high fat foods we will stop eating before we are physically full. We tend to stop when we feel satisfied which is an entirely different feeling. This difference in physical fullness and feeling satisfied means that not only are we likely to consume too much food when following a low fat lifestyle but the calories consumed are the wrong kind of calories, i.e. the calories that are more likely to be converted to body fat and I will explain why this is later.

The second reason that it is important to eat enough fat in the diet is because if you don't eat fat then your body doesn't know how to burn fat! This ties in quite nicely with what I was saying just now about calories from some foods (namely carbohydrates) being the wrong kind of calories that are most likely to be turned to body fat. Let's look at how this works.

Carbohydrates break down in the intestine into simple sugars (glucose) which are then transported into the bloodstream. If this were to happen unchecked then your blood sugar levels could rise to a level which would cause harm to your body and even kill you. This is typically what happens in uncontrolled or badly controlled diabetes. Your body has to produce insulin to transport the glucose out of the bloodstream thus lowering blood sugar levels and into the muscles and other tissues where it will be used as energy. The big problem is that most carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, rice and sugary foods such as cakes and biscuits are so highly refined that they break down in the stomach and enter the bloodstream too quickly and therefore create a glut of energy that the body simply can't use all at once.

Millions of years of evolution have ensured that your body doesn't waste a thing and so your body's reaction to this glut of calories is to store them as body fat in case of times of hardship. The key to this storage is insulin. Without it our bodies simply can't store body fat. Getting back to what I said earlier which is that we need to eat fat in order for our bodies to know how to burn fat as a fuel, many people wrongly believe that eating fat means that they will get fat. If eating fat made you fat then the Atkins diet simply wouldn't work! The truth is that when we eat fat it triggers the body to burn fat including body fat. When we eat carbohydrate it triggers the body to store fat.

Many traditional low calorie diets encourage carbohydrate consumption and a restriction in the amount of dietary fat thereby telling your body to store fat. However, because of the restriction in calories then your body has to strip calories from somewhere but because it is actively trying to store fat, many of these calories will be released by the body breaking down muscle tissue which is just what you don't want!

The key to becoming slim and then maintaining a stable body weight is giving your body the correct fuel, in other words reducing the consumption of highly refined carbohydrates along with increasing the amount of fresh vegetables, good quality protein and healthy fats such as those found in nuts, olive oil and eggs.

Weight loss and weight maintenance shouldn't be the uphill struggle that it is for most people. Weight Loss Made Easy gives you all the tools to become slim and easily maintain your weight. Unlike most weight loss books Weight Loss Made Easy isn't a diet! It offers simple guidance on a few adjustments that can be made to the way you eat that will mean you never have to struggle to lose weight again. As well as the simple eating guidelines the book also helps overcome the many psychological issues that often stop us losing weight such as negative beliefs about ourselves and our abilities to get slim. This is the ultimate weight loss book which is designed to be informative and helpful but easy to read and understand.

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