The relationship that many people have with nutrition is influenced by weight or how you look in the mirror in the morning … it’s a complicated relationship. It is almost always wrong. Instead I think it is better to talk about nutrition rather than nutrition. And this is because the issue must be addressed from a scientific point of view , which is what I have been doing for years. And be careful: I am interested in the physiological aspect as much as the psychological one. Precisely because I notice that the relationship with what we eat is complicated and causes cascading problems on emotional life and in the professional sphere.
This relationship is declined in a false representation of nutrition . On the one hand a balanced, normal diet, on the other specific diets aimed mainly at losing weight, which find much more echo on TV, magazines and social media.
Of course there is something wrong with passing the exception to the rule, but that’s not surprising at all.
I have dedicated several successful books to the topic of nutrition, always with the aim of fostering a unifying vision that reconciles the need to feed with that of feeling better and living longer, using nutrition as a medicine preventive.
If this is true, then why are there such drastic diets that depart from the idea of a balanced diet ? And what remains of the preventive nature of nutrition if we crush a macronutrient only to encourage momentary weight loss?
The role of fats in your health
For decades, fats have been put on the dock for the onset of cardiovascular disease and obesity present within consumer societies, starting – as often happens in these cases – from the studies published in the United States of ‘America.
The association between fatty cooking and fat deposits in our body basically favored this simplistic observation .
In the following decades and up to the present day, this opinion has radically changed, for two reasons:
- Nutrition science has in fact become an important field of study, which has produced research, publications of high value that have reached the tables that count (the various national and international agencies and administrations).
- The studies that condemned fats were not entirely transparent because they were intended not to blame the role of sugars, more commercially exploitable (think only of the penetrative capacity of products such as carbonated drinks).
Today, fortunately, the role of fats is no longer diminished, which, like any macronutrient, should be present in your food plan.
As you know, many of the vitamins are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed thanks to lipids.
I have already explained the difference between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids that I would recommend for further information. Cholesterol is also a rather well-known fat, which plays an important role in our physiology.
The metabolism of our body , broadly speaking, is the process by which the body uses food to assimilate energy and send it to the cells in the form of nutrients. In this exchange, there are many waste products, but also “barrels” of energy that will not be used at the moment.
The fat reserves are created precisely from these barrels that are not exploited because they are excessive compared to the current energy use.
For this reason we speak of a “calorie deficit” in the case of weight loss diets and we immediately draw attention to the fact that fat, in terms of calories, “weighs” much more than other macronutrients.
As I imagine you will know, however, reality is something else entirely.
Our body builds up fat reserves from all macronutrients. Are you getting extra protein? Fat reserves increase. Are you getting more sugar than you need? Guess what happens …
This doesn’t mean that you should eat fat in abundance, rather you should eat only what is useful, and not too much . But the same argument – if you think about it – also applies to carbohydrates. It’s best to eat whole carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta) and avoid the abuse of sweets and fizzy drinks (I personally think you shouldn’t drink them) .
In short, the matter as you know is complex, but I hope you understand that on a nutritional level the healthy balance wins.
You can’t replace sugar with protein for too long, or protein with fat. Somewhere you will start paying duty and once the slimming effect has passed, your own body will tell you that it is not good, with precise signals.
If you don’t eat fat …
Put your heart health in danger
A diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as those present in extra virgin olive oil, notoriously associated with the Mediterranean diet, decreases the incidence of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
You don’t fight inflammatory processes
Inflammations are the basis of chronic diseases and conditions that significantly lower the quality of life. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil especially the blue one, in walnuts and dried fruit help fight inflammation, also reducing the effects of oxidative processes at the base of stress.
Weaken your immune system
Just as fats help fight inflammation, they also help fight external aggressions, due to the poor absorption of essential vitamins, already difficult to synthesize and subject to cases of deficiencies.
You are running out of energy and suffering from fatigue
Often we are led to combine carbohydrates with energy, forgetting that fats play a decisive role in fighting fatigue and giving you the right energy to start again. Even sportspeople know this well, since they feed themselves in a very balanced way before a performance. Furthermore, fats are our main energy reserve and are essential for survival, as they prevent – in extreme conditions – from consuming lean mass.
Instead of losing weight, you gain weight
Fatty acids such as Omega-3s help burn visceral and subcutaneous fat right in the abdominal area, which also creates problems in self-esteem and self-love.
Fats slow down the absorption of nutrients. They give a greater sense of satiety.
And, even more importantly, the body will always require the energy it needs and will fetch it from the most immediate sources, such as simple sugars, resulting in weight gain in the long run.
Sooner or later you will have a hormonal imbalance
Even the much maligned cholesterol is used in the production of sex development hormones, being the precursor of 5 steroid hormones; helps in the formation of the cell membrane and in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Your appearance changes
Without a balanced diet of healthy fats, your appearance also suffers. This is because vitamins such as D and E, essential for skin health, are not properly absorbed.
Your brain is affected …
The brain needs fat and not just because it is made up mainly of these. Brain functions improve with a correct diet based on Omega-3 fats. Studies have shown that it’s not so much the amount of fat you eat as the quality that makes the difference. Good fatty acids improve cognitive abilities, the same cannot be said of saturated fatty acids.
A study by researchers at Mayo Clinic showed that decreasing fat intake to increase carbohydrate intake increases the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
If you don’t eat fat and avoid them thinking that they will make you fat, you are running a big risk and, by the way, you get effects diametrically opposite to those planned .
Watch out for sugars instead
I conclude by telling you that you must not overdo it with fats and you must limit yourself with saturated fatty acids, also limiting frying. But most of all I would remind you not to overdo the sugar.
Especially with simple sugars and those usually hidden in junk food ingredients.
The problem with sugar isn’t just because it overloads the liver and builds up fat reserves. If you have a good training base you could prevent this. The point is that sugar changes your metabolism, reducing its efficiency to the point of building up fat reserves that even exercise won’t help you dissipate.
If you want to understand how your metabolism works and how you accumulate fat reserves and how and when to eat, especially as a function of sporting activity, even amateur, I suggest you watch the video lesson ” The timing of nutrition “, taken from the video course ” Potential Nutrition “.
It’s free and you can watch it whenever you want.