Information a quick flip of the TV remote, a tour around the Internet, a thumb through of books, newspapers, and the wildly overgrown jungle of magazines that flood the market, even an ear to talk radio keeps us juiced with information
Take fat for instance. Information sources have imbued new words into the average Joe’s vocabulary cholesterol, trans fatty acids, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, triglycerides to mention a few.
We are targeted and blitzed with scare tactics on the dangers of fat. America’s information guerillas are at war with fat. The big Fat Fight is on! Lower cholesterol and lose weight, is the battle cry. Scientists have created pills to fight the enemy LDL’s, triglycerides, blood pressure, and fat bellies. But America’s voracious appetite for dangerously rich fatty foods is a formidable adversary. Despite the advice, information and proven scientific study, we keep getting fatter and fatter
We teeter-totter a lifestyle of extremes, overwork and stress at the job, compensated by fast-food diets, couching in front TV, and insufficient exercise. Over the years, it has weighed us down. One of the alarming results of the fat explosion is the runaway increase of Type 2 diabetes. Excess dietary fat seems to hamper insulin’s ability to transport glucose. A high-fat diet promotes obesity, which is a big risk factor for Type 2.
There is good news, though. Overeating and poor dietary habits are learned behavior. Behavior is a factor we can change. It may be a slow process, but it really works. It might mean slaying one dragon at a time, such as a craving for chocolate or butter or French fries but we possess the most powerful, sophisticated ammunition to win the adipose tissue battle, the power of the mind can’t get more resourceful than that. Fine-tune it and use it.
Here’s another strategy to use your diabetes as a tool to be healthy. Let diabetes shape up that flabby belly or backside. Commit to the trinity of a balanced diet, appropriate doses of medication and daily exercise. Memorize the ground rules, recite the mantra of diabetes care, then tailor them to your lifestyle. Use dietary components like “good” fat, to enhance your diet. Here’s a crash course in Fat 101 to get you shaking into fitness.
Fats – are made up of building blocks called fatty acids. These fatty acids are long chains of carbon that link with varying amounts of hydrogen and oxygen. The different chains have particular effects on blood fat. Fats in the diet provide the fatty acids essential to growth. Fat helps build nerves and hormones and is necessary to transport fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D, and K. Fatty foods give a rich fullness to taste that is very satisfying and can become easily habit-forming.
Types of Fat
Saturated Fat – is the type that increases total cholesterol, increases LDL (bad cholesterol), and may be associated with heart disease, arterioscleroses and certain types of cancer. Diabetes enters the picture in a profound way because people with diabetes tend to have a much higher risk of heart disease than the general population. Saturated fats contain more saturated fatty acids than unsaturated ones. Meat, whole dairy products, cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil and chemically hydrogenated products, such as solid shortening, are foods that contain saturated fat. Use them with caution.
Polyunsaturated Fat – Has a good reputation and is known to lower the total blood cholesterol and that LDL culprit. It is not perfect however since it also lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels One type of polyunsaturated fat is Omega-3, which helps prevent the formation of blood clots. Coldwater fish like salmon, herring, cod, and sardines are excellent and tasty sources to add to your diet plan. Certain vegetable oils contain polyunsaturates known as Omega-6 fatty acids. Safflower, corn, soy and seed oils are rich in these polys, as are walnuts. Toast them for enhanced flavor.
Monounsaturated Fats – Some of the tastiest foods around are primo sources of monounsaturated fatty acids olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, avocados. More good news about the monos, they decrease the LDL’s, protect the HDL’s, reduce triglycerides, lower total cholesterol, and protect against the narrowing of arteries. Good advice: make olive oil your fat of choice.
Cholesterol – A waxy material used by the body to help construct cell walls around nerves and the brain. It also makes hormones and is a constituent of the bile which aids in digestion. All the cholesterol we need is manufactured in the liver. If we eat foods high in cholesterol such as organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fat, we risk the possibility of heart disease and clogged arteries. Since cholesterol is a fat, it is not soluble in blood. Certain substances called lipoproteins act as carriers to usher the cholesterol through the body.
High-Density Lipoproteins – These fatty proteins act as brooms, sweeping out undesirable cholesterol from the arteries. The more the merrier for these little housekeepers. Keep them happy and abundant with normal weight, plenty of exercises and monounsaturated foods.
Low-Density Lipoproteins – These bad guys are the opposite of HDL’s. They contain high amounts of cholesterol and low amounts of protein. They deposit their cholesterol in arteries where it forms plaque. To keep them at bay, use the same formula as for HDL’s and add some soluble fiber, such as oats and beans, to your diet.
Triglycerides – People whose diabetes is out of control often have high levels of fat floating around in their blood. These fats are known as triglycerides. They form when consumption of sugars, carbohydrates, and alcohol is too high, They also seem to be prominent when good HDL’s are low—another reason to squirrel up on nuts and olive oil.
The American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend that 30 % or less of total calories come from fat, and no more than 10 % of that from saturated fat. If your daily caloric intake is 2000, your maximum total fat should be 67 grams and your max. for saturated fat (out of the 67), should be 22 grams.
Go for lean cuts of meat, white meat skinless poultry, augmented with plenty of grains and fresh leafy vegetables. Throw out the heavy cream and sour cream. Substitute with nonfat or low-fat yogurt, milk and cheese Treat yourself to angel food cake instead of devil’s food. Learn to love whole grain bread. Use less fat in cooking bake, broil, steam and poach. When sautéing, use vegetable cooking spray or low-fat broth in your nonstick pan. Try some of the many excellent varieties of low-fat salad dressings and sauces you’ll find on supermarket shelves, coast to coast, and at Recipe Central. Use naturally flavorful ingredients in cooking to infuse flavor freshly grated citrus zest (skin) and juice, fresh herbs, spices, vinegar, and mustards.
The lowdown is to remember that ALL fats are a highly concentrated calorie source. Go low on cholesterol, sodium, and all fats. At Recipe Central you’ll find winning recipes that make good use of this advice. Stop by, Slim.