Over the last 20 years, the mantra has been told to avoid fat and consume low-fat options where possible. Going back 10 years ago, I would have done just that, a low-fat pasta dish or low fat spread. The problem is these low-fat dishes are packed with processed sugars and little nutrition, it’s believed that these low-fat options have actually added to the obesity problem.
I am very aware that the wrong types of fat should definitely be avoided but some fats are actually very good for us and can even help to promote healthy metabolism. In the UK we now have the dubious honour of being the second fattest nation in Europe, surely there has to be a point where the government puts effective legislation in place to control food manufacture. There are plans in place to reduce levels of sugar and salt but they still leave scope for too high levels. If you’re buying pre-prepared foods then you do need to check the labels, which is incredibly time-consuming and if you’re anything like me, you’ll need your specs to have a chance of actually seeing the text.
The easiest option is to cook from fresh if it is in the fruit and veg aisle or fresh fish and lean meat you are pretty sure that you are on the right track.
Unfortunately, manufacturers know the words ‘Low fat’ and ‘No fat’ make food an easy sell and you can find the term on every kind of food, even those that we consider healthy options. Low-Fat yogurt may have the equivalent of 6 spoons of sugar in it. Compare a low fat prepared meal with a whole fat option and you may be surprised to find that the low-fat meal will probably have more calories due to the sugar content.
Eating refined carbohydrates add to the problem white bread, pasta and most cereals are broken down in the body in to quickly released sugars causing insulin spikes, which can lead to weight gain. Some fats such as avocado and coconut oil are actually good for us as they naturally help with a healthy metabolism. So try to eat more naturally and you’ll find that you can get the best from fresh food as it should be eaten.
Here substitutes to give you healthier options:
Build your shopping list with fresh produce.
Breakfast cereals are highly processed and usually high in sugar and salt, make your own muesli or porridge.
Only eat wholemeal bread and pasta.
Avoid processed breakfast cereal, read the labels, processed cereals are usually high in sugar and salt.
Replace fruit juice, cordials and fizzy drinks with water and fruit teas. One glass of juice may have the equivalent of 5 oranges in, which means it has the sugar of 5 oranges too and sometimes added sugar on top of this.
Remember some fats are good for you, include fish, olive oil. Nuts and avocado in your diet.