Starting in the 70’s, maybe even the late 60’s, the push was toward low-fat food. The idea was that eating fat makes us fat, and if we took it out we’d stay thin.
Only one problem: that’s not what happened.
The latest data shows that America is fatter than ever. In fact nearly 30% of the population is now defined as clinically obese.
Why? Two reasons.
First, fat satiates our appetites. It makes us feel full. So the more fat we eat, the less hungry we are. Fat helps us not to over eat.
Second, fat makes things taste good. Think about it. A big juicy filet mignon? That cut is fattier than any other. Gravy? Made from fat drippings. Most gourmet sauces and reductions, the things that really make our food flavorful? Also made with a healthy helping of fat. (And make no mistake, the right fat made from properly raised plants and animals is healthy for you. But that’s a topic for a different post.)
So taking out the fat also takes out the flavor. Then they have to figure out a way to replace it. And there’s only one way – at least without putting the fat back in. Sugar. Add enough sugar, and you can make pretty much anything taste good.
But make no mistake: sugar is the real enemy. Sugar is what makes us fat. They use it – in the form of grain – to fatten up cows. It’s how bears bulk up for winter, eating lots of berries and fruit and honey.
Same for us. Above small amounts, our bodies can’t handle sugar. Yet we evolved at a time when we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from. So it was a good survival adaptation to be able to store the sugar for later, in case it was a while before we ate again.
If you’re reading this, your ancestors survived famine and starvation to let you be here. That shows we did evolve the ability to store excess sugar. Insulin is the mechanism that lets us do it.
But there’s the rub. What do we store the excess sugar as? As fat.
So they took all the fat out of foods and replaced it with sugar. Double whammy. Our appetites are never satisfied, and we store all the excess sugar as fat. No wonder America’s fatter than ever.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to lose weight, the single best diet choice you can make is to drastically reduce your sugar intake. In all forms. Obviously refined sugar is right out. But there’s also a lot of hidden sugar in your diet that you don’t even realize is there. That’s where I find I can make huge differences for my clients.