Welcome to Part 2 of "I love stuff that I know is bad for me!"
In the last episode we spied on 2 women who…well, you can read all about it here.
So today I want to help you understand more about fats: what’s a good fat, what’s a bad fat, and how in the world do you know if a food is high in fat?
I’ve interviewed a lot of lean, fit people for my book to find out their tips about how they stay that way. My pal Cindy, who is very lean, says if food feels greasy to the touch and leaves a greasy residue on her hands, she stays away from it.
Think of all the foods that leave your hands feeling greasy: all fried foods, butter, creamy stuff, mayo, most dressing, and of course bacon and sausage. If they leave your hands like that, what are they doing to your thighs and the back of your arms as well as your veins and arteries? Can someones say "high LDL?? (That's the "bad" chlolesterol, by the way, that's probably clogging your blood vessels right now if you eat lots of the above mentioned treats…yuck! And you can't just rinse those arteries off, like you can your hands…wow…what a profound, unanounced Bethy Tangent!) That’s one of my key areas to observe people; if the back of your arms jiggle way too much, I know you eat way to much fat and you basically don’t use your arms for much more than, uh, eating. No, I can't really get a birdseye view of your blood vessels to see how clogged your pipes are; moving your assets will absolutely aid in cleaning you out, by the way.
Another great way to determine if a food is high in fat is to simply read the label. You will see total calories and then calories from fat. To determine what percentage of the total is from fat, simply divide:
Divide the calories from fat
the total calories
% calories from fat
You want to limit foods with percentages that are more than 25% or 30%.
Do the math yourself on the label below. Is this a food you want to consume large quantities of?
You guessed it…the answer is “no.” And what is this mystery fat-filled food? It’s bacon! A whopping 68% of the calories are from fat!
You can find nutrition labels for hundreds of foods here: http://caloriecount.about.com
Keep in mind that just because a food has the words "low fat" blaring across the package doesn't mean it's great for you. Read the nutrition label and do the math; many so-called "low-fat" foods are only slightly lower in fat than their regular counterparts, but still way above the amount of fat you should be eating on a regular basis.
Yes, there are good fats, too. These are the unsaturated fats, mostly from plants, nuts, seeds and fish and are not in “solid” form like the saturated fats mentioned above (which are mostly from animals).
Examples of foods with good fats are avocados, olive oil, tuna, salmon, and some nuts. You can find a complete list here. That site also includes some great substitutions (eg instead of fat-filled sour cream, substitute non-fat or low-fat yogurt).
Unsaturated fats actually help to lower your bad cholesterol, while (solid) saturated fats tend to raise it. And yes, cheese does fall into the saturated fat category so you want to limit your cheese consumption even if it’s lowfat cheese.
I like to replace cheese in my salads and on my sandwiches with avocado, which is one of the good fats and so tasty. I think even Subway caught on to my little secret as they are now advertising their turkey/avocado sub!
Remember, just because these are good fats doesn't give you a ticket to drown your food in olive oil! All fats are high in calories and most oils have 120 in one tablespoon! So make sure you dip your fork into that side of salad dressing (like the late Jack LaLanne advised), instead of dumping the cup on your salad and you will spare yourself hundreds of unwanted calories.
The bottom line (yours!)
As you've heard me say many times, most peops, with way too much junk in their trunk, arteries and other places got that way by eating too much fat (and sugar too) combined with not moving their assets…period, end of story!
No, I haven’t mentioned the dreaded “s” word (sugar) until now because I know I’d really drive you bonkers! The Orlando Sentinel recently posted an article about how bad sugar really is for you: Suicide by Sugar. Americans are unfortunately addicted to sugar because it is “snuck” into so many packaged foods, such as sauce and bread, that do not need sugar…oy vey!
But that's for another upcoming blogpost. I think you’ve hear enough for now! Let me know what you think; just post it in a comment (click here then scroll to the bottom of the page).