Fat and Refined Carbohydrates: Why So Dangerous?
To lose weight effectively, you must understand that fat is public enemy number 1. Fat is a stimulant of appetite – the more fat you eat, the more food you crave. If a crazed despot decided he wanted to make all his citizens totally obese, the easy way to do it would be to force feed them on butter, mixed with sugar and flour. This is because the combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation around the body. There is a chain reaction … consuming refined foods causes a quick and excessive rise in blood sugar … this triggers an insulin surge to drive the sugar out of the blood and into the cells. However, there is an unfortunate side effect to this process. Insulin also encourages the rapid storage of fat on the body causing your fat cells to swell.
But that’s not the end of the story … it gets worse! As more fat is stored around the body, it interferes with insulin uptake in our muscle tissues. Alarm bells start to ring in our pancreas, which senses that the glucose level in our bloodstream is way too high and in response pumps out even more insulin. It has been scientifically proven that even a little extra fat around our belly results in profound interference with insulin’s effectiveness, meaning that two to five times as much insulin may be secreted in an overweight person than in a thin person. This insulin overload then gets to work on our next intake of fat and refined carbohydrates, and with ruthless efficiency converts this new food into even more fat … and the vicious cycle continues. Overweight and obese people just get heavier and heavier as time goes by unless they break the cycle by eating vastly reduced amounts of fatty foods and replace refined carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates in their natural state.
This whole process causes the body’s “set point” for body weight to increase. Your “set point” is the weight the body tries to maintain through the brain’s control of hormonal messengers. When you eat refined fats (oils) or refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar, your fat-storing hormones are produced in excess, raising the set point. To further compound the problem, because so much of the vitamin and mineral content of these foods has been lost during processing, you naturally crave more food to make up for the missing nutrients.
A very effective way to totally sabotage your weight loss goals and undo all the good you have done so far in your pursuit of nutritional excellence, is to plaster your food with high fat dressings and sauces. On average, Americans consume 60 grams of added fat in the form of oils via sauces and dressings – which is over 500 calories a day from this no fibre and totally nutritionally derelict form of food. Refined or extracted oils, which includes olive oil are very rich in calories but extremely low in nutrients. They contain 9 calories per gram, compared with 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates. Even in just a tiny bit of oil … there are a lot of calories. In addition, fat such as olive oil can be stored on your body within minutes. A minute on the lips … a lifetime on your hips!
An effective way to sabotage your weight-loss goals is with high-fat dressings and sauces.
It is however entirely possible to make (or buy) tasty and healthful salad dressings that are low in fat and calories. (See the “recipes” featured later on this site). You can buy some commercial dressings that are less than 20 calories per tablespoon. Don’t be fooled by the popular mantra being promoted by so called health professionals and guru’s that you don’t need to go on a low fat diet … just simply replace bad fats (mainly saturated fats made mostly from animal products) with olive oil. Do not be misled … olive oil and other salad and cooking oils are NOT health foods and are certainly not diet foods. There is considerable evidence to suggest that consuming mono – unsaturated fats such as olive oil is less destructive to your health than the dangerous saturated and trans fats. But still … oil is pure fat and must be consumed with great care.
A lot has been said and reported on regarding the so called “Mediterranean Diet” (see next section). Interestingly though, even two of the Mediterranean diets most ardent proponents (Martin Katan of Wageningan Agricultural University in the Netherlands and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health) both concede that the diet is only beneficial for those who are already close to their ideal weight. That excludes most subscribers to this site … and indeed the vast majority of the American public! How possibly can a diet that focusses on a fattening, calorifically dense food like oil be healthy? You may be shocked to know that ounce for ounce, olive oil is one of the most fattening, calorifically dense foods on the planet … with even more calories per pound than butter. (Butter: 3200 calories per pound compared with 4020 calories per pound for olive oil). The dangers of eating oil are very well established … severely heightening the risks of diabetes and heart attacks.
Olive oil contains 14 percent saturated fat, so you increase the amount of artery-clogging saturated fat as you consume more of it. Consuming more fattening olive oil in your diet will raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, not lower it. Weight gain raises your cholesterol; unprocessed foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetables, utilized as a source of fat and calories instead of oil, contain phytosterols and other natural substances that lower cholesterol. A point rarely mentioned by Mediterranean diet proponents is that in Italy, where the public consumes all that supposedly healthy olive oil, people have twice the chance of getting breast cancer as in Japan, where they have a significantly lower fat intake. The Mediterranean Diet looked better than the average American meal because of the increased consumption of vegetation, not because of the oil. People who use olive oil generally put it on vegetables such as salads and tomatoes, so its use is correlated with higher consumption of produce. Their diets appear better, in spite of the oil consumption, not because of it.If you are thin and exercise a lot, one tablespoon of olive oil a day is no big deal, but the best choice for most overweight Americans is no oil at all.