Fat is unhealthy – both inside and out. Body fat is not only unattractive, but unhealthy as well. Too many calories and too little exercise result in obesity, a growing Worldwide epidemic. Obesity increases your risk for many health problems including diabetes, clogged arteries and heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, even erectile dysfunction!
Body fat and insulin resistance. Excess body fat interferes with your body’s production, release and effectiveness of insulin, leading to MORE body fat. Shortly after you eat, your blood sugar is high and your pancreas releases insulin to help your body’s cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream to lower blood sugar levels. Constantly high blood sugars from poor diet and stored body fat lead to insulin resistance, the insulin your pancreas releases becomes less and less effective and more sugar is converted and stored as fat.
But there is something you can do about fat. There are steps that you can take to win the battle of the bulge. Follow these twelve guidelines to reach and maintain a normal weight and help you and your loved ones stay leaner and healthier:
- De-Junk Your Diet – Many of the foods we eat contain only saturated fat and empty calories from sugar, most of these foods are from fast food drive through windows and pizza and Chinese food deliveries. Buckets of chicken, boxes of donuts, burgers, fries and shakes are all examples of sugar coated saturated fat. According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, cutting the saturated fat from your diet by as little as 15% of your total calories could reduce the likelihood of your early death by up to 25%!
- Don’t Starve Yourself – The hungrier you get, the more fat-filled junk food you will eat when you finally sit down to a meal. Avoid bouncing between starving and stuffed, and eat smaller meals more often, up to six small meals and healthy snacks each day. This simple change will help you control your hunger, appetite and calorie intake.
- Master The Menu – If you must eat out or take out, learn to identify the worst foods and bad fats, and don’t order them. Avoid foods like gravy, fatty salad dressings, cheese, bacon and deli meats, fries and anything deep fried. If you have questions, ask the waiter what’s in each dish.
- Cheat (Occasionally) – Dieting is stressful and sometimes willpower goes out the window. You can avoid abandoning your new healthy diet if you plan a weekly cheat meal where you’re free to eat without counting calories, minus the guilt.
- Learn To Read Labels – First check the fat and “saturated fat” grams and percentages. The lower the number, the better. Trans fats are really labeled separately, although this is changing. Avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” in it.
- Get Back On The Wagon – Everyone slips up once in awhile, but don’t panic. One bad meal (or day) will not clog your arteries or add inches to your waistline. Each meal offers another chance at redemption. At your next meal, remember how bloated and nasty you felt (not to mention guilty) and get back to your healthy habits.
- Plan Your Grocery Shopping – You’ll make much better and healthier choices if you show up at the supermarket with a list of healthy stuff you like to eat and know how to transform into a tasty low-fat meals. It is also a good idea to eat about an hour before your food-shopping in order to prevent impulse purchases packed with fat and sugar.
- One Meal At A Time – Your “diet” is a new healthy eating plan, it is a journey, hopefully a lifelong one. Every meal in your week does not have to be perfect. When you do find a recipe or menu that’s low in saturated fats and added sugars, tastes good and isn’t a monster to prepare, hold on to it, then find another one for tomorrow.
- Small Goals Keep You On Track! Stay focused and motivated by setting yourself just one or two weekly food goals, such as: “I’ll use olive oil instead of butter this week.”
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to cut out bad fats completely, but as long as you avoid the garbage and ensure bad fats account for only a small fraction (less than 10%) of your total calories, you’re doing fine.
- Increase The Good Fats – Plant-based oils are the primary source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can decrease your risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. These fats contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids and can be found in fish, nuts, avocado and certain oils (especially olive).
- Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol in and of itself is not going to make you fat, although any liquors (like rum) contain sugar. Drinking alcohol can lead to weight gain if you don’t understand its characteristics, and how it’s metabolized. Alcohol suppresses fat oxidation – making it more difficult to mobilize fat when alcohol is present. You will burn very few calories (or fat) while sitting at the bar or home enjoying beer after beer or mixed drinks!
- Check The Oil – The calories in cooking oil (about 120 per tablespoon) come directly from fat, roughly 13.5 grams, with no protein or carbohydrates. There is room for some oil in your diet, as it is can be a good source of healthy fats and makes you feel fuller and more content after a meal. Choose wisely. Avoid coconut oil and palm oil. Use a nonstick pan when possible, choose olive oil or a spray type of cooking oil.
Follow these 12 guidelines and you will be well on your way to fighting fat and reaching and maintaining your normal body weight!
Here is a short (but detailed) list of the top ten foods highest in saturated fat, you don’t have to remove them completely from your diet, but know how to manage them:
#1: Hydrogenated Oils (Palm Oil) Saturated Fat 100g Per tablespoon (14g) Per teaspoon (5g)
93.7g (469% DV) 13.1g (66% DV) 4.7g (23% DV)
#2: Coconut (Desiccated) Saturated Fat 100g Per 2oz (56g) Per ounce (28g)
57.2g (286% DV) 32.0g (160% DV) 16.0g (80% DV)
#3: Butter Saturated Fat 100g Per stick (113g) Per tablespoon (14g)
51.4g (257% DV) 58.0g (290% DV) 7.2g (36% DV)
#4: Animal Fats Saturated Fat 100g Per 4oz (113g) Per ounce (28g)
52.3g (262% DV) 59.1g (295% DV) 14.6g (73% DV)
#5: Chocolate (Baking Chocolate) Saturated Fat 100g Per cup, grated (132g) Per ounce (28g)
32.4g (162% DV) 42.7g (214% DV) 9.4g (47% DV)
#6: Fish Oils (Sardine) Saturated Fat 100g Per tablespoon (14g) Per teaspoon (5g)
29.9g (149% DV) 4.2g (21% DV) 1.5g (7% DV)
Other Fish Oils High in Saturated Fat (%DV per tablespoon):Menhaden (21%), Cod Liver (16%), Herring (15%), and Salmon (14%).
#7: Cheese (Hard Goat’s) Saturated Fat 100g Per 2oz (56g) Per ounce (28g)
24.6g (123% DV) 13.8g (68% DV) 6.9g (34% DV)
Other Cheeses High in Saturated Fat (%DV per ounce): Cheddar (30%), Soft Goat’s Cheese (29%), Colby (28%), Cheshire, Cream Cheese, Fontina, Roquefort, Gjetost & Monterey (27%), Blue & Gruyere (26%), Swiss (25%), Romano & Brie (24%), Parmesan (23%), Feta (21%)
#8: Cream (Heavy, Whipping) Saturated Fat 100g Per cup, whipped (120g) Per tablespoon (15g) 23.0g (115% DV) 27.4g (138% DV) 3.5g (17% DV)
#9: Nuts (Brazil) Saturated Fat 100g Per cup (133g) Per ounce (28g)
15.1g (76% DV) 20.1g (101% DV) 4.2g (21% DV)
Other Nuts High in Saturated Fat (%DV per ounce): Macadamia (17%), Cashew Nuts, Mixed Nuts & Pine Nuts (13%), Pumpkin Seeds & Sunflower Seeds (12%), Walnuts & Pecans (9%), Pistachio Nuts (8%), Hazelnuts (7%), Almonds, Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds (5%)
#10: Processed Meats Saturated Fat 100g Per ounce (28g) Per 3 slices (6g)
14.9g (74% DV) 4.2g (21% DV) 0.9g (3% DV)
Other Processed Meats High in Saturated Fat (%DV per ounce): Bacon (20%), Pork Sausage & Blood Sausage (19%), Italian Salami (18%) Salami & Frankfurter (17%), Luncheon Meat (15%), Bratwurst and Chorizo (14%)