It has long been believed that fat was the ultimate culprit in the American diet. That fat lead to higher levels of cholesterol. And that higher levels of cholesterol lead to heart disease and premature death. As such, Americans focused on lowering fat in their diets over the past 30 years. And unfortunately, things didn’t get better. They got worse.
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women. Diabetes rates are higher than before. Child obesity is also worse than before. So the low fat mentality didn’t work. Why not?
Some scientists and members of the medical community believe that when we lowered our intake of fat, we replaced it with SUGAR. And in some ways sugar is worse than fat.
Between a cheeseburger and a larger, sugary drink – which do you think is worse for you? Most people would quickly say the cheeseburger. But they would be wrong. It’s the sugary drink that converts into bad cholesterol – the enemy. It’s not that fat is good for you, but to reduce fat and replace it with sugar – that’s worse.
Here’s why: human bodies were not designed to consume as much sugar as we do. Naturally, we used to get sugar seasonally (once a year) when fruit fell from the trees. And there was only so much fruit you could eat. Now we eat around 140 pounds of sugar on average per year. Our bodies simply aren’t evolved to handle that.
When the sugar hits our liver and our liver doesn’t know what to do with it, it turns it into bad cholesterol. And to our bodies, a slice of white bread and a packet of sugar are essentially the same thing, with a slight time delay.
So, what’s really best for us? Many in the medical community believe it is a diet that emphasizes low carbohydrates and heavily weighted in vegetables. Also water is VERY important. Our brain is made up of 75% water. It’s a good idea to get up in the morning and consume 8 to 16 oz of water first thing, and continue to hydrate all day.
The reality is, there will always be conflicting sources of information and advice on what is best and worst for us. But the more we educate ourselves, the better we will be able to determine where the consistencies are and what is controversial. We can keep up on the latest science and studies. And we can be in touch and in tune with our own bodies. It’s all our responsibility to ourselves.
* sourced from an interview between Fareed Zakaria and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN