From the moment you stepped out of bed you decided that today was going to be a turning point. Today will be the day you eat clean and healthy. No desserts, no pizza, no cheating. You pushed yourself so hard in the gym this morning and aren’t going to blow all your hard work on an unhealthy lunch. Salad...yes, sounds like a perfect lunch option. The waitress asks, “Would you like bread with that?” Your response, “No, thank you.” Doesn’t she know how hard you’re working at this today!
Her next question, “What type of dressing would you like with that?” And since you’re being the archangel of health, you respond, “the low fat one.”
BOOM....they tricked you. The knee jerk reaction is to choose the low fat option. Fat is bad, isn’t it? Wrong. The low fat one is healthier and will help you lose weight, right? Wrong again.
Fats are not the enemy. Low-fat products have invaded grocery store aisles with a vengeance. Supposedly guilt-free cookies, sodas, chips, candies, dressings, ice creams and more continue to be produced and consumed in mass quantities and yet, one-third of American adults are obese. I can’t help but think that the two may somehow be linked!
If you change ONE perception that you have about what is “healthy,” let it be this: you will never go wrong choosing REAL MOTHER NATURE FOODS. The closer it is to nature and it’s original source, the better it is for you. Don’t trust what the front of the box at the grocery store says! Read the ingredients. Can you pronounce them all? Can you envision what they look like? If not, make a different choice. The low fat, no-fat, high fiber, added probiotic, whole grain, soy, vitamin enriched “cure all” may not be exactly what it seems. Let’s investigate.
The biggest misconception is that all fat is BAD. Fats are not all bad. Fats give us energy, they make us feel full, they help in the absorption of other vitamins, and they curb cravings. Yes, there are some “good” and some “bad” fats. And yes, fats are also calorie dense, so eat them in moderation. But these delicious delicacies have been condemned for far too long. I could write a whole article explaining the intricacies of fats but I’ll leave that for another blog.
Here’s the skinny on fat...
The most important thing to remember is that TRANS FATS are the bad guys! Inflammation, diabetes, obesity and immune system disorders are all the result of trans fats. Examples include deep fried foods, vegetable oils, packaged foods, margarines, commercial baked goods, and anything that is labeled as hydrogenated.
SATURATED FATS like those found in animal sources and coconut oils, are actually a healthy source of fats when eaten in moderation. OTHER fat sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish oils are extremely beneficial for overall cell function and provide us with healthy cholesterol.
So, if all of the fats are taken OUT of a product to make it fat free, then what’s left? Manufacturers have to put IN something to make it edible to the consumer. What are they adding???
Check out these comparisons from my local salad bar. For health and weight loss choose options that are closest to their natural sources and have the fewest ingredients. The canola oils in some of the full fat versions may not be the healthiest fat...BUT, in comparison to the sugars, corn syrups, corn starches, MSG, and other unnatural ingredients in the low fat dressings, they aren’t such a bad option after all! The healthiest and most natural dressing is olive oil and vinegar. Lemon juice is also delicious on salads.
Be an informed consumer. Read food labels and scour ingredient lists. Don’t assume that low or no fat is the healthier option. Real mother nature foods will always offer the most nutrients. Eat healthy fats in moderation and pair them with a variety of vegetables and proteins. Eating real foods will ensure that you have lots of energy throughout your day, will decrease your chances of suffering from obesity related illnesses and will help you maintain a healthy weight. Always keep things simple, real and balanced!
And if you're wondering...the dressing below was the BEST choice of them all!