So what’s the skinny with FATs?

So what’s the skinny on FAT?

So now the experts are telling us that the national guidelines issued back in 77 and 83 warning us to reduce our fat consumption in order to avoid heart disease should not have been issued due to lack of actual supporting evidence.

There are still those out there who argue that fat is bad and leads to obesity but statistics show that despite the fact that we have cut the proportion of fat in our diets by 6% over the last 30 years obesity rates have trebled over the same period. The fact is that we have replaced the healthy fats with not so healthy carbohydrates and this is what has led to increased waistlines …but that is another story. Let’s get back to fat.

So some FAT related questions and answers that some of my clients have asked and that you may be wondering about…
So why should I eat fat?

Fat is an essential part of your diet. It is a structurally integral part of every single ell membrane in our bodies, every single cell for every single function. lt provides our bodies with insulation and our organs with protection. It also provides us with energy, boosts our immune system and it makes our food more tasty.
What’s the difference between SATURATED, UNSATURATED and TRANS fats?

Saturated fats are commonly known as hard fats that usually come from animal source, dairy and eggs. These are the fats that were regarded as bad, with dietary guidelines recommending that they take up no more than 10% of your of your diet. One of the key reasons was because it raises LDL (bad) cholesterol. But it turns out that it also raises HDL (good) cholesterol so the effects on HDL and LDL cancel each other out. Experts are now challenging this “bad fat” label and the dietary guidelines. Note, saturated fats are still high in calories so overindulging in cheese, eggs and butter will increase your weight.

Unsaturated fats are commonly found in the form of oils. More often than not they come from plants such as seeds but they also come from fish. These fats can be further divided into polyunsaturated (fish, nuts, oils) and monounsaturated (olive oil)

Trans fats that have been manufactured. Basically healthy unsaturated fats are hydrogenated to change the chemical structure and produce more “desirable” properties such as longer life shelf. Among other negative things, trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. Recent studies show a definite link between trans fat and accelerated risk of heart disease. Trans fats should be avoided.
Are low fat foods the best option low fat foods?

The fats are simply removed and replaced with SUGAR and SWEETENERS. Sugar and sweeteners cause INSULIN levels to rise and this leads to storage. So low fat foods are not a good option.
But doesn’t fat have double the calories of Carbs or Protein?

This is true but nature generally packages good fat with protein such as meat, fish and eggs. This combination makes us feel fuller for longer as protein provides high satiety or a feeling of fullness. When food has been manufactured, then fat is more likely to be combined with refined carbs and processed sugars such as french fries or doughnuts. Those combination leads to low satiety or appetite satisfaction which of course leads to snacking and craving, and this in tandem with high calories.
But surely fat intake leads to fat storage

No, carbs lead to fat storage. Very simply, when we eat carbs, our blood sugar levels rise, insulin is then released to remove the excess sugar from our blood. Insulin will store that extra sugar first as glycogen (to be used later) or fat, once glycogen stores are full. Carbs or sugar mobilise insulin, not fat !
So in summary

FAT does not make you FAT, SUGAR makes you FAT!

I hope I’ve answered some questions but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or would like to know more about the importance and effects of fat, carbohydrates or protein in your diet.shutterstock_213656857

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Why Crash Dieting Is A Bad Idea

I was talking to a new client the other day and she was telling me about her ongoing weight loss battles.
She told me that she had once found huge success with a very popular and restrictive weight loss plan. She had an important event and she wanted to lose a lot of weight to fit into a particular outfit this plan was easy to follow, she lost the weight quickly, looked great in the outfit and was happy. Of course once the event had passed , her eating became more relaxed and she put the weight back on. Some time later she had another important event, so she embarked on another restrictive diet and again the weight came off, albeit it was a lot harder to lose the weight this time. Once the event was done and eating was restored to normal, the weight came back.
This cycle continued and continued and now today, with another important event looming she is really struggling to lose the weight and says that her metabolism seems to have slowed right down.
This story sounded so familiar to me, maybe to you too, so I thought you it might be useful to set out a few reasons why crash dieting doesn’t work.

Firstly there is physiology. The body doesn’t understand the concept of “dieting”.  It simply recognises dieting as a sign of starvation so it goes into “starvation mode” which basically means that it becomes very efficient at using the calories it obtains from food and drink.
The main thing that happens is that the body starts to protect the stores of energy or fat that have accumulated and it turns to lean muscle as its calorie source. This directly leads to loss of muscle which in turn lowers the metabolic rate so that the body needs fewer calories to keep functioning and weight loss slows down.
Generally the more muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate, the less we have, the lower our metabolic rate.
When we start eating normally again we gain weight more easily because our metabolic rate is still low.  Sometimes it take months to readjust especially if we have lost a lot of muscle mass during the diet.  Also, your body will hoard as much fat as it can, just in case the “starvation” happens again. This explains why people gain so much weight after a bout of crash dieting.
Luckily, the negative effects of yoyo dieting on your metabolism can be reversed by building muscle through exercise and eating the right foods.

The body will also set up an “anti starvation” trigger if weight loss is too quick. This basically means that it sets itself up to take advantage of any food source it finds, so when food becomes available there will be a tendency to binge as the brain assumes that this food might be the only calorie source for a long time. So when we haven’t eaten for a while and then we overeat, this is not down to lack of willpower but the physiological programming of our bodies.

Studies show that restricting calories will bring about weight loss inside a 6 month period but that the weight will be gained back within 12 – 18 months. Other studies indicate that calorie restriction is only 50% effective in achieving mathematical projections for weight loss.  In other words it is possible that excess calorie intake may not be the primary cause of obesity, just another symptom. If some hormonal or genetic abnormality has triggered an issue which causes overeating, then how can forcibly restricting food intake solve the problem? It may mask the symptom i.e. weight gain, for a while but it will not correct the underlying hormonal or genetic dysfunction. If this remains unchanged then the risk of weight gain is still present because the stimulus has been ignored.

The mind can also affect our ability to diet, as well as be impacted by our diet. Nutritionists talk about a deprivation – binge cycle which is both physiological and psychological. Not only will the  body crave missing nutrients, the mind will also crave what’s forbidden and when we give in, which experts say will happen 2 out of 3 times, it is very likely that we will overeat or binge which will then lead to feelings of guilt, which leads again to crash dieting and so on ..
Crash dieters get into a cycle of yoyo dieting and then may lose confidence in their ability to lose weight and feel miserable as a result.
Self denial and repeated crash dieting can also increase the risk of the “all or nothing” mentality where we think, what the hell I just “relapsed” so I may as well go the whole hog and eat big time and I’ll start again tomorrow.
Also extreme dieting makes you moody, irritable and lethargic and research has shown that crash diets can decrease your attention span, dull your memory and lower your IQ as early as 48 hours from when the diet was started.

So, does crash dieting work? Definitely not …

If you need to lose weight do it sensibly and slowly through exercise and sensible balanced eating rather than going to extreme crash diets which may help you lose weight in the short term but will definitely slow down your ability to lose weight and keep it off for the long term.
Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live shutterstock_238348891

Breakfast Like A King……but try and avoid processed carbs….

Happy mid January everybody!

I am on a mission. It seems like nobody eats breakfast these days, and this seems especially true of those who are trying to lose weight. So many of my new clients are skipping breakfast and then of course over snacking during the day, and subsequently beating themselves up about it. Those that do eat breakfast generally eat some processed sugary cereal which is almost as bad as having nothing at all. See the link for  details about why breakfast and in particular a protein rich breakfast is important. http://www.nolimitsfitness.co.uk/food.php

So, I am on a mission to spread the word and furthermore create a list of breakfasts that are quick and easy to prepare, won’t break the bank but are still tasty and nutritious. Can you help? If you have any suggestions at all please do share,  You might be a foodie, a gym bunny, fit bod, nutritionist, vegan. It can be gluten free, raw or paleo. All suggestions are welcome either here or post at https://www.facebook.com/NikkiCarrolFitness

I’ve started the list below but look forward to receiving more exciting ideas …

Take care

My Favourite Breakfasts

Egg White Omelette
Using just the egg whites, add peppers, onions, spinach and feta to make a tasty, filling breakfast

Avocado, Toast and Egg
2 lightly toasted slices of wholemeal bread, topped with smashed avocado, seasoned with salt and pepper and then topped with slices of hard boiled eggs.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit
Nice and simple. Bowl of cottage cheese and add your favourite fresh berries and fruit.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk and a couple of ice cubes. You can add a scoop of your fave protein for that extra protein boost.

Baked Eggs and Avocado
Slice avocado in half, scoop out the pip and enough flesh to hold your egg snugly inside. Tightly pack your avocados into a baking tray. Crack an egg into the avocado half, and bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the egg white is set. Season and garnish with pepper and herbs.

Veggie scrambled eggs or omelettes
Add your favourite veggies to scrambled eggs. Veggies that work well include spinach, broccoli, kale,tomatoes and onion.

Fruit and Yoghurt Smoothie
Blend 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt with 1 cup frozen fruit (bananas and berries work well) with 1/2 cup of milk, juice or coconut water.

Quinoa or Oats
Quinoa is a great source of protein as well as iron, fibre and calcium
Use quinoa flakes to make porridge. You can add pieces of fruit or honey to taste. Alternatively use good old fashioned oats and add fruit or nuts.

Breakfast Bowl
Cut up slices of lean turkey or smoked salmon and add to spinach, scrambled eggs and apple slices.

Yoghurt and Quinoa Parfait
Add quinoa to Greek yoghurt with your favourite berries and nuts. Pecans and blueberries work well.

Avocado and Egg Pizza
If you love love love avocado and pizza..
Mash up half an avocado and spread it onto healthy wholewheat tortilla (avoid the ubiquitous white tortilla) Top with a fried egg and season with pepper and chives….