Anti-fat diets and misinformation have left a lot of us in the dark about fat and its place in a healthy diet, along with hiding the true dietary culprit for heart disease – sugar.
Healthy fats are actually an essential element of a balanced diet. Unfortunately, as a result of pervasive diet culture and the war on fat, only 41% of people are aware that these fats are vital for our survival. The reason we need dietary fat is simple: we require it to absorb vitamins A, E, D and K, but our bodies can’t produce these fats on their own. This is why we need to source it from the foods we put on our plates.
Some foods that pack a dose of healthy fats include:
- Coconut milk
- Flaxseeds and hemp seeds
- Olive oil
Studies have shown that healthy fats actually play a role in reducing our risk for heart disease, with some proving that a type of fat, known as medium chain triglycerides, has been found to decrease appetite and reduce sugar cravings. This makes us less likely to build up cholesterol deposits in our arteries, and therefore less likely to develop heart disease. Further, studies have even found that some fats can prevent insulin resistance, thereby protecting us from other metabolic diseases too.
Sugar, on the other hand, is another ball game entirely. Instead of decreasing appetite, fructose – which is found in foods with added sugars, including processed products, and you’ll even find it in fruits and some veggies – has been found to mix up our hunger signals and wreak havoc on our appetite. Studies show it makes us ravenous, and while glucose, fructose’s other half which makes up sucrose – in other words, sugar – had more luck in satiating people, fructose had the opposite effect. It's no surprise then, that we’ve got obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics on our hands.
Fructose is known to cause inflammation, insulin resistance and a fatty liver – the latter of which puts us at a drastically spiked risk for heart disease. How this works is when our bodies take in fructose, unlike glucose, which is absorbed into the small intestine and used as energy, what happens instead is our livers take on the brunt of fructose metabolisation.
Now a piece of whole fruit or some veggies won’t put us in too much danger for getting a fatty liver, and this is because of the fibre content which slows the absorption of fructose, but confectionery, sweeteners and processed goods – even so-called health foods – may be putting us at undue risk.
Without the fibrous benefits of whole fruits, our livers can become overwhelmed. The result? Visceral fat. This is the dangerous kind of fat that wraps around our abdominal organs and puts heart disease square on the map.
What exactly is heart disease?
Heart disease involves a range of conditions like blood vessel diseases, congenital heart conditions, heart muscle disease and heart valve disease. Coronary artery disease is one such condition where cholesterol builds in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart and other body parts. The result is a high risk for heart attacks, angina and stroke. Research shows added sugars are associated with development of this disease, along with increasing the death rate for those with the condition.
Symptoms of coronary heart disease.
- Chest pain or tightness
- Back, upper stomach or neck pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numb or cold arms or legs
So, what can you do?
Don’t kick avo and olive oil off the menu – these fats make for a great addition to a balanced diet. The real culprit that we recommend drastically reducing is fructose – especially as an added sugar. If you’re having trouble shaking off those sugar cravings, we’re here to help. We invite you to sign up to our 8-Week Program where we’ll be ditching sugar together.
When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
If you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it – JOIN NOW!