When I initially wrote my real foods post I had no intention of splitting them up into two. In the end, I decided talking about fats and sugar needed its own post. This topic is the hardest to write but also the most important. While trying to live a process free foods lifestyle, I find picking products that fall within the rules quit difficult. With a bit of research, I’ve been able to pick the best products that I can find.
I’m a bread and butter, sauce on everything, cheese is life type of person. Learning about the different types of fats has helped navigate me through which products to love or leave. Also, knowing which to love in MODERATION is important!
The recommended daily allowance of fat intake should be about 20-35% of your daily calories. With a 2,000 calorie a day diet, the amount of fat consumed should be about 44-78 grams. It is easy to lose track of the amount of fat consumed, so making sure you are eating healthy fat is super important.
There are four types of fats
Saturated fats mostly come from animal sources like beef, butter, and cheese. Other sources of saturated fat come from coconut oil and palm oil. When making food choices, check for products with a low percentage of saturated fat. You want to limit your consumption as best as you can. While they help build calcium and keep digestive tract healthy, large quantities can raise bad cholesterol.
There are two forms of unsaturated fats. One is polyunsaturated and the other is monounsaturated. These fats are the better fats. Positives to eating these fats include 1. The brain mostly uses polyunsaturated fats and 2. Monounsaturated fats fight infection. Both of these unsaturated fats are also known to lower bad cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated fats come from fatty fish like salmon and trout, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and some nuts and seeds. Oils such as corn and soybean are high in omega-6 fats. When there is an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, this can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Let me break this down a little more. For instance, soybean oil has a ratio of 7:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Imagine if you had four tablespoons of soybean oil in a day; this would give you an imbalance of 28:4. This imbalance causes your body to stay in an inflammatory state, which can lead to chronic issues. Also, most of these oils are refined and during that process their nutrients can become damaged. So nuts, seeds, and fish are the better option. Most sauces and dressings fall within this group. Moderation is my key to success here, since I live for BBQ, ranch, and mayo and other condiments.
Monounsaturated fats come from foods such as olive oil, avocado, peanuts, and peanut butter. Monounsaturated fats are considered a healthier alternative to trans-fats and refined polyunsaturated fats. When choosing oils such as olive oil, cold press is the best.
Lastly are trans fats, which are the worse. AVOID AVOID AVOID. Trans fats are created through a process where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to make them more solid. Foods high in trans fats are made with shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Many restaurants and fast food places use partially hydrogenated oils to fry foods because it’s inexpensive. Trans fats cause inflammation, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and infertility. So avoiding them is best. When shopping, look for products with 0% trans fat and make sure it doesn’t say, “partially hydrogenate oil” in the ingredient list. Plus side, the FDA is putting a ban on using partially hydrogenated oils in the USA!
Sweeteners like pure maple syrup and honey are your best options here. Honey has some incredible benefits such as, antioxidants, anti-bacterial properties, reduces cough and throat irritation, and even increase athletic performance. When researching benefits for honey, the last benefit really impressed me. A study showed honey increased athletic performance by maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery times. Since I try to work out on most days, I could use any sort of boost I can get! Plus, I LOVE honey!
Maple syrup has great benefits like providing some vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fights inflammatory diseases, and has a low glycemic index (this helps manage blood sugar better).
Sweeteners that you should limit or avoid would be your sugars (brown, white, powdered), cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners like equal and sweet n low. These sugars have no nutritional value and affect our bodies in negative ways. Excessive intake of sugar can negatively affect your mood, teeth, skin, along with the heart and kidneys. Too much sugar can lead to heart disease and diabetes. So being mindful of how much sugar you consume a day can greatly improve your healthy.
My mom has many talents but her baking skills are (hands down) the one I’m forever grateful I obtained too! Baking makes me happy. Chocolate makes me SUPER happy. If chocolate can’t cure my problems, I turn to baking. I love getting away from everything and seeing what type of dessert I can create. When I want to create a large dessert, I try to stick to special occasions so I’m not tempted to finish the entire dish by myself. While I don’t think avoiding sugar is a possibility, limiting my consumption of sugar is the most important factor for me.