The science of healthy eating changes over time. There are academic studies that proport to look at what is safe to eat and the foods that may cause cancer if you eat enough of them. But really, what’s the real deal here?
Saturated Fats vs Polyunsaturated Fats
In America and around the world, the advice has often been to avoid saturated fats and go for polyunsaturated fats instead. The thinking has been that saturated fats are very bad for you.
There’s quite a bit of it in a burger and fries, which is why healthy people avoid these kinds of meals. Right? Wrong!
Getting the Balance Right
It’s all about balance. Even muscular actor Dwayne Johnson manages to get off his strict eating regime supporting his enormous muscles by having a cheat meal once a week. His cheat meal is huge. But his workouts are massive too, so he knows he’s going to burn off the calories by paying for it later.
So, it’s all good.
At the core, healthy eating means balancing out the good with the not so good. It doesn’t mean deprivation by cutting out all of something. Deprivation naturally only leads to feeling deprived of it, especially when you don’t replace it with something deeply satisfying.
When Is a Fat Healthy?
The previous thinking was that fats were generally bad for the body and to avoid them at all costs! Therefore, any meal with fat had to be adjusted to get down to lean meats or go vegetarian.
People were told to cook in a healthy way with as little oil as possible too. The reality discovered by journalist and author, Nina Teicholz, was that saturated fat isn’t bad for
you at all.
Her book, The Big Fat Surprise, looked at peer reviewed studies over the years on healthy
diets and fat, and found that the recommendations were based on early, bad science. The
recommendations hadn’t been updated to what is known today.
While certainly trans fats are bad for you and best avoided, a certain amount of other fats are needed by the human body; it doesn’t perform at its best when starved of them.
Does the Amount of Fat Matter?
Everything in moderation has always been a good, simple rule to live by. Too many calories or indeed, too much fat is a bad thing for anyone.
The body needs a reasonable amount of fat which it can get from healthy fats in a normal diet. This type of diet doesn’t have massive restrictions on any one food category that’s difficult for busy people to stick to either.
The low-fat way doesn’t work long-term because the body needs it. Healthier fats like extra virgin olive oil are inherently good for you as long as you don’t overdo it.
Eating healthily requires a good balance of healthy fats, protein and vegetables. Even cheese.
Going to one extreme or another doesn’t work very well. Once the balance is there, focus more on portion control than how fatty a meal is. The results will be better.