The Skinny on Fats - Information Everyone Should Know About Fats, Weight Loss and Nutrition
By: Chef Cristian Feher
It seems that most Americans only know one thing about fat - that they’re getting fat. I think that if most people knew a little more about it, maybe they could do something about it too. After all, information is power. And I’m about to fatten you up on information. This is my crash course on fat, what it is, how it affects you and what you can do about it.
I see some of you yawning. Don’t worry. I’m going to use plain English here. And I’ll cut to the chase wherever I can.
What is it? Fat is basically oil. It comes from plants and it comes from animals. Some oil is liquid at room temperature and some oil is solid at room temperature. For example, olive oil in your kitchen is liquid and butter is solid. The main purpose for oil in the animal kingdom and in humans is fuel. Oil is a fuel. Your body runs on it just like a car runs on it. There is not much difference between gasoline at the gas station and a jug of olive oil. They are both considered to be hydrocarbons (liquid carbon - liquid fuel).
Fat as fuel. The human body can burn three different kinds of fuels. But it likes some more than others. It’s fuel of choice is sugar (carbohydrates; bread, pasta, potato, corn, candy, etc). If your body runs out of sugar to burn for fuel, it will then start to burn your fat as fuel. And if your body runs out of sugar and fat, you’re in bad shape buddy! It will start to break down your muscles (protein) and use that for fuel as a last ditch attempt to stay alive.
Is one better than the other? That is a very broad question. But since I asked it, I might as well answer it. Nobody to date has done a complete study as to the ideal and perfect diet for a human being. Probably because humans from different parts of the planet have become used to living off different types of foods. The late Adelle Davis has come close, and I would recommend her books over anyone elses. However, it is quite clear by just looking around at most people that we fall into two main categories. Some people don’t handle sugar (carbohydrates) very well, and other people don’t handle fat very well. They get fat, overweight and unhealthy.
It’s my opinion that sugar burns you out. Much like race car fuel would burn your engine out in your car. But since this article is about fat, I will leave out a lot about sugars. All I will say is that unless you’re an athlete, or a person that can handle carbohydrates, you should not eat too much of it. However, you do need some of it. But that’s for another article.
Fat is a much better fuel for most people, since it burns slower, and is not as harmful to your body as sugar is. Your body needs fat, and you would probably find yourself in better shape and better health if you burnt more fat than sugar.
How come all these people talk smack about fat? There are two very important things that you should know about fat. The first is that when we’re talking about calories (a calorie is how much energy a food gives you) one cup of fat will have a lot more calories than one cup of sugar. So if fat is making you fat, you’re probably just eating too much of it and not realizing it. If you were lost in a desert and were a few day’s walk from home, you would get a lot further on a piece of fat than you would on a candy bar. To give you an example: One cup of olive oil is 1910 calories, and one cup of pure sugar is only 774. The oil will provide you with more than double the energy and it will not burn you out. So you should realize this and eat fat, just less of it.
The other important factor in fat, is whether it’s solid or liquid at room temperature. Actually, the better test would be if it’s solid or liquid at body temperature - does it melt on your tongue? If you’re eating solid fat, it’s harder for your body to digest. And some of that solid fat may even end up clinging to your arteries or stored away as fat since your body can’t easily break it down. Probably one of the worst things you can do is eat solid fat with sugar at the same time. Your body will use the sugar and ignore the fat, storing it away “for later”. Sugar also neutralizes your stomach acid, so your stomach is not able to break your food down as it should. Fat does not affect your stomach acid.
Are some fats better than others? As mentioned before, you shouldn’t eat fats that stay solid when you put them on your tongue. These will most likely turn into body fat and won’t be used as fuel. And if you’re mixing that fat with sugar or carbohydrates you can be sure that it will turn into fat. So the better fats would be liquid fats, which would mostly come from vegetables such as olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, etc. Animal fat tends to be solid, although extremely tasty! And hydrogenated fats (like margarine and vegetable shortening) are made in a lab, and are garbage. Your body gets clogged up with them. I don’t eat them at all.
The bottom line. Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not foods which are natural to Man. Whether you get fat or skinny from them, they make people unhealthy and you shouldn't’t eat them. You either have a body type that is built for carbohydrates (seeds, grains, potatoes, corn, rice), or you have a body type that is built for fat. I will write an article on the differences in the near future. So the ideal scene to maintain a healthy body and healthy weight is to only eat the amount of fuel that you can burn. If you’re a fat eater, eat liquid fats, but eat only as much as you will need. If you’re a carbohydrate eater, eat less carbohydrates and don’t combine them with fat. But you should pay attention and see which fuel your body prefers. It is my observation that most Americans would do best on a diet that has healthy fat, lean protein and no sugar.
I hope that this information has given you the know-how needed to feed your body the right way. If you have any questions you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.