Our bodies use fat for many reasons. If we had no fat, we’d be in bad shape – literally! We’d look like skin covered skeletons – unless we are professional body builders. Even they have some fat.
Fat surrounds many of our organs for protection. Fat supplies cushioning and shapeliness. It also has a primary function of supplying energy when food supplies are low.
In this country, we rarely see skinny malnourished people. Instead, we see obese malnourished people. More and more everyday, so it seems. Currently, we have these obesity and overweight statistics from the U.S. government:
* Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are overweight or obese: 67% (2005-2006)
* Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 34% (2005-2006)
* Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years who are overweight: 18% (2005-2006)
* Percent of children age 6-11 years who are overweight: 15% (2005-2006)
* Percent of children age 2-5 years who are overweight: 11% (2005-2006)
This info comes from the National Center of Health Statistics, part of the CDC – Center for Disease Control.
How can a person be overweight or obese and malnourished at the same time? It’s not about the calories taken in. Instead, it’s about the nutrients in the foods we eat. These are nutrients are converted to energy, repair and growth.
If we just take in junky nutrients from fried, overly sweetened, and refined foods, we won’t have the reserve of nutrients to stay healthy. Instead, we’ll have plenty of extra calories to turn into fat. This is the job of insulin, by the way. It’s a fat storage hormone.
That’s right! Insulin has a primary job of storing fat. It’s secondary role is removing excess sugar from our bloodstream. However, our foods have become so full of sugar over the last several years, that it’s become impossible for insulin and the receptor cells to keep up. That leads to Type 2 Diabetes and obesity.
How much sugar do we eat? Between 1970 and 2003 our sugar consumption went up from 119 pounds per year to 142. That’s an increase of 19%. Even more surprising, grain consumption went up from 136 pounds per person to 194, an increase of 43%! I bet that’s not whole grains. More likely it’s found its way into our food supply in the form of high fructose corn syrup and refined flour products. Here’s a link to this info.
What does this have to do with fat? Well, there is a positive connection between fat and weight loss. Good fats help lower body weight when combined with a low sugar food plan. If this sounds like a re-run of the Adkin’s Diet, then you’re missing the point.
Vegetables, fruits, greens, and WHOLE grains are made up of carbohydrates and FIBER. These provide significant amounts of the vital nutrients needed to maintain energy and repair within our bodies.
What are good fats? Omega 3s from fish, Omega 9s from olives oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Surprisingly, we get too many Omega 6s in our current diet. These are cheap for food manufacturers to produce because they come from vegetable oils. We have 16-25 times more Omega 6 in our diet than Omega 3 fatty acids. This imbalance is not good.
More good fats: real butter, coconut oil, and cacao. Bon appetite!