My mother was a health nut when I was growing up. She made granola, bought raw milk from the farm, made bread and yogurt, snuck wheat germ into all sorts of things, fed us liver, and only bought ‘healthy’ cereal like raisin bran and grape-nuts. She made cookies occasionally, but there was never coke or koolaid in the house, or store-bought cookies or chips, or white bread, or much of anything that was highly processed.
In all my childish wisdom, I sometimes pined for what I wasn’t given. But the more I learn about diet and health as an adult, the more I realize that my mom was right on track with what she was trying to do for us. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading about fat and sugar. I’ve learned some interesting things, and I thought I’d share the Cliff-Notes version of what I’ve read for those of you who might not have heard this information yet.
Do you steer clear of butter, and instead use low-fat margarine and ‘spreads’ in hopes of avoiding weight gain? I have in the past. Turns out that little substitution may be doing your body more harm than good. Margarine is loaded with trans-fat, the worst kind of fat to ingest. And in fact, a reasonable amount of healthy fat (from butter, olive oil, pr coconut oil) in the diet can contribute to greater satisfaction with what we eat and consequently less over-eating.
And the sugar story? Turns out sugar when being digested creates byproducts that are the exact building blocks of fat cells. Because of this, sugar calories (NOT FAT CALORIES) are the most likely culprit in the proliferation of fat cells in our bodies. Obviously eating too much butter can also make you fat— moderation in everything is a good rule in life — but in general Americans these days are probably gaining weight from too much sugar.
Are you interested in more details?
The Healthy Home Economist explains more about the butter vs. margarine debate.
Kelly the Kitchen Cop discusses 20 health benefits of butter
Sugar: The Bitter Truth (a youtube video) will explain the exact way that sugar can so easily become more fat cells on our bodies. It’s a long video but it is extremely enlightening.