When it comes to food, quality means more than quantity. If someone were to tell you that the fat in an avocado is much different than the fat in a fast food burger would you believe them? As it turns out, not all foods are created equal, and something with the same amount of fat may not be equal by any means. Let’s take a look at why we need to get beyond the food label to understand the difference between good fats, and carbohydrates as well as the fats and carbs that wreak havoc on overall health.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats:
Fats have been scrutinized over the years and have received a bad rap, but unnecessarily so. In fact, when you think about some of the most nourishing foods available today, they are often rich in fats. Things like coconuts, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, these are all super healthy and nutrients dense foods, and very rich in healthy fats. These are the fats that are going to provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant support.
The fats that you should keep as far away as your worst enemy include trans-fats, hydrogenated fats, saturated fats in animal products and damaged and refined oils. This includes fast food and food fried is damaged oils. Not only do these foods trigger inflammation, but the trans-fat, and hydrogenated fat, in particular, can even increase your chances of developing heart disease.
The great news is that there are plenty of plant-based foods rich in healthy fats to nourish and support your body. Understanding that the quality of the fat means more than the quantity is essential to achieving overall health. Your body needs fat to support hormone balance, and to absorb fat soluble vitamins, and healthy fats have even been shown to help keep your waistline slim! Yes, you heard that right, you can enjoy fat and lose weight at the same time! This is the beauty of keeping healthy fats in your diet, and eliminating the unhealthy options. Don’t get hung up on the grams of fat when reading the food label, focusing on healthy fat options, in moderation, healthy fats are an essential part of a nutritious diet.
Complex Carbs vs. Refined Carbs:
Just like fats, complex carbs should not be shunned and eliminated from a healthy diet. We actually need carbohydrates to help fuel the body with energy as well as provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals. There is a difference however between complex carbohydrates and refined carbs.
The refined carbohydrates are the ones found in white bread, white pasta, baked goods, and pastries. They are super high in sugar and strip your body from essential nutrients. Healthy carbohydrates such as the carbs found in fruits, veggies, oats, quinoa, and brown rice are excellent energy sources and provide antioxidant support and minerals that you would not find in refined carbs.
The bottom line is that following the number count on a food label is not the best approach to understanding the benefits of a certain food. If the carb count in a cinnamon role is the same as the carb count in a quinoa stir fry dish, it all comes down to which has the higher nutritional value? Clearly, the quinoa stir fry is much more nutrient dense as it’s going to give your body a nice protein boost, will likely include fiber rich veggies, and will sustain your body much longer than a cinnamon roll. Refined carbs will cause a blood sugar spike, and strip your body of essential mineral reserves while also dousing your body with sugar leading to cravings, and sugar addiction.
Don’t fear the fat or carb count on the food label of healthy foods. Our bodies rely on complex carbs and healthy fats to fuel us throughout the day. Don’t deprive your body of the fuel it needs to thrive, and choose the options that will nourish your body, not the ones that will deplete it.
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