How much is too much fat?

We’ve heard it for years, perhaps even decades, we must reduce our fat consumption. Fat in our diet is a leading cause of obesity and heart disease, plus it contributes to cancer, diabetes, MS, and every other gross disease we want to avoid. But fat is in most foods, outside of fruits and vegetables, so how do we know how much is too much?

A simpel rule of thumb is to not eat foods where 30% of their caloric content is fat.

How do we figure out the fat content of a food? Look at the label and do a little bit of math. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Multiply 9 by the number of grams of fat on the label. Then divide that number by the number of calories per serving. If the percentage is greater than 30% you should reconsider eating that food (or fake food really, as packaged foods are rarely real, wholesome food).

Here’s an example: Lays Potato chips are marketed as the low fat chip. In fact, they only have 10 grams of fat per serving! Wow! But, if you are enlightened as you are now, you know that the 10 grams of fat is actually 90 calories of fat (9 calories x 10 grams of fat). There are 180 calories per serving; therefore the lays potato chips have 90 fat calories per serving, which is 50%! Lays potato chips don’t look so great now.

The easiest way to avoid eating too much fat is to eat real, live, wholesome food. If the food is packaged, and has a label, you can probably count on it not being that great for you.

Does eating gluten free equal weight loss?

The simple answer is no.

What does eating gluten free mean? It means cutting out all products that contain gluten. This includes most bread products, and also some sauces, dressings and soups as gluten is often used as a thickener.

Eating gluten free can result in some weigh loss, as bread products and baking often contribute to weight gain. But if you are not careful, eating gluten free can also cause weight gain.

Gluten free doesn’t mean fat-free or calorie-free. Without gluten to bind food together, food manufacturers often use more fat and sugar to make the food product taste good. And those extra calories mean there is more junk going into your trunk.

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity it is in your best interest to cut out all gluten products. But if you do not suffer from either of those, your best weight loss plan is not to cut out the gluten, but cut out the fattening and high sugar bread products and pastries.

Cooking with Oil

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Peanut oil, there is a lot of oil on the grocery store shelf. But which are best for cooking with?

Olive Oil is all the rage right now. They say it is the healthier oil and should be your go to oil for cooking with. But is it?

To answer this question it is best to first understand the differences between the oils. Oils are composed of fat. There are three types of fat, monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are extremely stable because each carbon bond is occupied by a hydrogen bond. Saturated fats are solid or semisolid at room temperature. They are ideal cooking fats because of their stability, they do not easily go rancid when heated during cooking or form free radicals that contribute to heart disease and cancer.

Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, flaxseed and hemp oil, possess more than one carbon-carbon double bond and not every carbon bond has a hydrogen atom attached to it. They are liquid at room temperature and remain so even if refrigerated. These fats are highly reactive when heated or processed in any way. Even simple exposure to the air or light can cause rancidity in fairly short periods of time.

Monounsaturated fats, such as olive, sesame and avocado oil have a single carbon-carbon double bond, and like polyunsaturated fats, not every carbon bond has a hydrogen atom attached. They are liquid at room temperature and become solid when refrigerated. Monounsaturated fats do not go rancid as easily as polyunsaturated fats, but are not as stable as saturated fats.

When cooking at high heat with oils it is best to use oils with saturated fats. I recommend coconut oil to all of my clients as the oil adds nice flavour to most vegetables and meats.

Polyunsaturated fats should be avoided for all high heat cooking as they are easily damaged and the free electrons (or free radicals) can cause harm to our bodies.

In regards to Olive Oil specifically, I recommend avoiding it when cooking with high temperatures. But use it in salads, on breads, and in dips.

Eating on the Run

If there is one constant in life it is that we don’t have enough time. Enough time to exercise, enough time to clean, and definitely not enough time to plan for, shop for, and prepare our meals. A fact of our busy life is that we will eat out. But just because we eat out, doesn’t mean we can’t choose healthier options.

Here is a list of healthier food options for those days we just don’t have enough time.

1. Wendy’s Chili – high in fiber and protein and small on the sodium Wendy’s Chili is a great alternative to the burgers and fries.

2. Starbucks Oatmeal – withhold the sugar and add the dry fruit Starbuck’s oatmeal offers a breakfast that is both filling and nutritious.

3. Subway Sandwich – Subway makes it easy, right on the display glass are information sheets that show you how to make the best sandwich for you, whether its low sodium or a low calorie sandwich. Pack it full of vegetables and stay away from the calorie heavy sauces and you can’t go wrong.

4. McDonald’s salads – not exactly synonymous with health, McDonald’s is traditionally known for fattening hamburgers and french fries. But in the past few years McDonald’s has added some healthy alternatives that are pretty tasty. Choose one of their salads, which include fresh vegetables and real lettuce (not just the crappy iceberg lettuce). Add protein, such as the grilled chicken for a more filling meal.

5. Arby’s Market Fresh wrap – Low on calories but high on taste Arby’s Market Fresh wraps are a great alternative to their roast beef sandwiches. Add a chopped salad as your side and you have a pretty healthy meal that is ready to go.