Over two thirds of Americans are over weight, and half of them are considered obese. Most of the remaining third of Americans are concerned about becoming overweight! While we are obsessed with avoiding food that is high in fat, America has the dubious distinction of its population having the highest percentage of overweight people of any nation in the world! England is number two!
One of the most common and harmful misunderstandings is the misinformation (lie) that we are fat because we eat too much fat. Though eating excess fat can contribute, the primary culprit for excess body fat and many degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes is NOT eating foods high in fat, but eating too much carbohydrates and sugar, and especially in combination with fat, such as French Fries and corn or potato chips. People on a high carbohydrate and low fat diet tend to be more unhealthy, carry more excess body fat and don’t live as long.
Putting the Brakes to Your Metabolism!
What creates excess body fat, more than anything else, is a high RATIO of the carbohydrates to protein and fat, and especially certain types of carbohydrates that have a high conversion rate to fat. When the percentage of a meal (not just for the day) is higher in sugar or carbohydrates (a long chain of sugar molecules), much more of that food will be converted to fat instead of being burned as energy (calories). The effect of this is putting the brakes on your metabolism, which results in lower energy and greater storage of fat. Obviously, this is NOT what you want!
Plus this sets up a vicious cycle of over eating. Once the carbohydrates are converted to fat, you get a blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry for more carbohydrates. So you eat more to raise your blood sugar, and the whole vicious cycle repeats! Soon, you’ve gained weight, and feel even more like a failure.
According to the Glycemic Research Institute, many of the “fat-free” foods are much more fattening than they were before the fat was removed, because sugar has been added (and often disguised) to compensate for the low fat!
This is because carbohydrates and sugar, and especially certain carbohydrates, stimulate insulin production. Insulin directs your body to convert the food to fat and store it as fat instead of just burning it as energy. To measure this fat conversion and storage effect, foods are rated by what is called the glycemic index. The higher the index, the higher percentage of that food and the other foods eaten with it, will be converted to fat, regardless of the fat content of the food.
So for an example, eating high glycemic foods like baked potato, rice cakes, corn flakes or cooked oatmeal which are low in fat, is more fattening than eating a juicy beef steak or a bowl of ice cream!
High Fat Conversion Foods
These are some common foods with their glycemic index numbers, that are especially high on this index, and thus stimulate fat storage:
Common sugar (sucrose)—92
Macaroni and cheese—92
Potatoes (mashed—100; French fries—107; baked—121; potato chips—high)
Corn—78; pop corn—79; corn chips—105; corn flakes—119
White rice—83; brown rice—79
White and wheat bread—101
Cold cereals (most). E. g. Life—94; Grape nuts—96; Cheerios—106; Total—109
Cooked cereals (e. g. Cream of Wheat—100, oatmeal—87 (steel cut is less)
Most juices and all drink mixes and soft drinks (97)
Desserts (ice cream—87); donuts—108
Fat-free bottled “lite” dressings (due to added corn syrup and maltodextrins).
High fructose corn syrup—89
Maltodextrins—150 (added to many foods, but deceptively not counted as sugar! )
Did you notice that some of these foods are worse than pure sugar? It is wise to eat these foods sparingly. And when you do eat these foods, balance the glycemic index for the whole meal by eating low index foods with them.
Fat Burning Foods
Here are some of the foods that are rated as having a low glycemic index:
Trutina Dulcem (a fruit sugar fifteen times sweeter than regular sugar)
“Super sugars” (glyconutrients)
Stevia—though not “approved” by the FDA as a sweetener, it is often used as such
High protein foods (e. g. fish, meat and eggs)
Most vegetables including sweet potatoes and yams
Stone ground bread and sprouted grain—low
Most pastas—varies; spaghetti—59 (but very low nutritional value)
Dairy products; whole milk—39 (there are other concerns mentioned previously)
Seeds and nuts—as low as 21 (peanuts)
Butter (in moderation—far superior to margarine)
Celery—very very low
There is one other huge advantage to using low glycemic foods besides weight control: longevity! According a study by T. Par entitled "Insulin Exposure and Aging Theory" in the Journal of Gerontology - 1997; 43: 182-200, high insulin levels, which result from consuming high glycemic foods, promotes accelerated aging. Both calorie restriction and a low glycemic index diet appear to be important for longevity, BUT a diet of low glycemic foods is even more effective than calorie restriction for longevity.
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