The main thing that you should focus on, when trying to be as healthy as possible, is to avoid added sugars and processed oils. Sugar is probably the biggest issue in America's diet, because it has worked its way into propaganda. You very rarely see packaged foods in the store that say "Low in sugar" but what you will see often is "Low Fat" or "Low Cholesterol." Fat is not a bad thing. Cholesterol is not a bad thing. But the sugar industry was quite intertwined with the media, so the media started using bad research to claim saturated fat and cholesterol is bad for us. Studies have been quite clear that saturated fats are only an issue when they're in excess and in a high-carb diet.
Added sugar (primarily, high fructose corn syrup) has strategically worked its way into many people's lifestyles. It's not just a part of the diet, it is a part of American culture and is used as an emotional coping mechanism.
Here's what it does:
It increases inflammation in the body.
It spikes blood sugar which results in a period of high energy followed by a period of fatigue and fogginess.
It unnaturally spikes insulin. Eventually insulin isn't able to do its job and the body has chronically elevated insulin.
It is addictive and causes over-consumption of food.
Processed oils on the other hand have also made its way into the American diet due to propaganda. Vegetable oils like Canola, Corn, and Soybean Oil were marketed as "healthy" because they were low in cholesterol and/or saturated fat. But the truth is, the last step of the process in making these oils adds trans-fats into the equation. Our body doesn't even know what to do with trans-fats so they basically float around and eventually stick to things. These oils also contain higher amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids which is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation is typically the root cause of any condition or discomfort.
Here's what it does:
Omega-6 fats cause inflammation.
Trans-fats float around and stick to things and clogging blood vessels.
These fats also make food highly-palatable which results in over-consumption of food.
Diets high in these oils are linked to CVD and Alzheimer's.
- Fats and Carbs are natural parts of our diets, but there are food groups within those macronutrients that cause issues like inflammation and addiction to food.
- Pay attention to food labels, not the brand marketing. It's very often that a brand puts something like "Low Sodium," "Low Fat," "Great Source of Vitamin C," and/or "Low Cholesterol." But a lot of the time these foods will contain high fructose corn syrup or vegetable oils. So read the ingredients and sugar content on the food label.
- Many foods commonly used in homes that have either high fructose corn syrup or vegetable oils are: condiments/sauces, cooking oils, protein bars, sports drinks, sweet teas, sodas, and chips.
- Saturated Fats and naturally occurring sugars are perfectly safe, but you should always listen to your body. There are people who function well with high carbs and there are people who function with low carbs.