Is ‘Fat’ actually a four letter word? Many people think so. Diet/weight-loss promoters make millions each year helping customers get rid of their unsightly bulges.
But we all know, losing fat is no easy task. Why? Because your body makes fat out of anything extra you eat.
Making fat out of fat is the easiest; your body’s very efficient at it. During digestion it absorbs the fat and then stores it in your fat cells, which doesn’t take much energy and doesn’t burn many calories. So, for less fat in your fat cells, eat less fat.
Making fat out of carbohydrates is a bit harder. Glucose/sugar has to be broken down into fragments, and then joined together to combine into long-chain fatty acids. This process enables you to store carbohydrates in fat cells, using just a little energy.
Making fat out of protein is harder still, because only certain parts of the protein (specific amino acids) can be converted to fatty acids. So, just part of the protein you eat can turn into fat.
But don’t cut fats out completely because they are essential for many body functions.
Even with all its negative implications, fat is useful to us. About 60% of the energy you use while resting comes from fat. This percentage increases when you exercise or go without food for an extended period of time.
So, if a few people find themselves without food for a long period of time, the fattest person will likely live the longest. (But, this doesn’t seem likely in North America).
Anyway, breaking down body fat will not provide the nutrients necessary to maintain good health. Not only that, but some vitamins can only be stored in your body fat.
So, just cut down. Since the human body can store a limitless amount of fat if you eat too much, to keep the same waist size, or lose some body fat, cut down on how much food you eat, especially fats.
Try following these pointers: Don’t use extra fat when you cook; spray oils are better. As well, cut the obvious fat off your meat before cooking so it won’t soak in.
To satisfy the munchies, instead of a crunchy, high-fat snack like chips or cheesies, pick a crunchy, low-fat fruit or vegetable like apples or carrots.
When eating meat, consider limiting yourself to six ounces per day and make it fish, poultry, or lean cuts of pork or beef. Additionally, unmarbled cuts of beef have less fat (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip, tenderloin, sirloin, center loin, and top loin.) Then, grill, broil, bake, stir-fry, stew or braise the meat, but don’t fry it. If possible, cook the meat on a rack so that the fat drains away. When using a recipe that calls for regular ground beef in a recipe, use lean ground beef or ground turkey instead.
Especially cut down on your saturated fats, which are usually found in meats, but coconut and palm oils are other sources. Choose lower fat milks, and monounsaturated margarine and cooking oil.
But, eat lots of fish which is high in Omega 3, such as tuna, sardines or other canned fish that has been packed in water instead of oil. However, if it has been packed in oil, rinse in hot water to wash the oil away.
Balance your meal with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Choosing these types of foods, along with legumes will also cut down on your fats, since vegetables and fruit have no fat at all, and most grains only have trace amounts (but don’t slab on the butter, or you’re defeating the purpose).
Though, you should stay away from some grain products, such as: fried taco shells, croissants, granola cereal, cookies and pastries.
An extra bonus of eating lots of fruits, vegetables and grains is that they also are full of nutrients, like: vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and fiber.
Let’s face it. Since you’re on the road, you often eat at restaurants, so you’re not the person buying the food that’s being cooked for you.
So, it isn’t that easy to make health-smart choices. Other than choosing a leaner type of meat and the way it gets cooked, you can lower your fat intake in these ways: With your salad, ask for a non-fat dressing on the side, so you decide how much you want to use. Or, if that’s not available, add a little water/vinegar to dilute the fatter dressings.
Then, why not add a couple of vegetables to your order, along with the salad?
They’ll fill you up but not fill you out.
As well, ask for whipped butter on your whole-grain bread.
In your diet, many small changes can make a big difference.
And that’s the skinny on fat.
– Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.