Monthly Musing

Good Fats

shutterstock_433733269For decades, grains and other high carbohydrate foods formed the base of the food pyramid and the foundation for a “healthy diet”. All the while, fats were demonized.

Unfortunately, these recommendations couldn’t be further from the ideal path to a flat belly. A diet high in wheat and other grain products inevitably leads to high blood sugar and poor sensitivity to the hormone insulin. In turn, poor insulin sensitivity has been shown to be a major cause of abdominal fat accumulation. Even worse, the more abdominal fat you gain, the worse your insulin sensitivity becomes… and thus the vicious cycle repeats, often leading to out-of-control belly fat storage over time.

Fats, on the other hand, are instrumental in the regulation of your overall hormonal balance, including many fat-burning hormones. When you understand how to choose the right fats, replacing high-carb items in your diet such as bread, bagels, muffins, baked goods, and pasta with more of these fat-burning, healthful “fatty foods”, you’ll be well on your way to a flatter belly.

Here are 7 of our top “fatty foods” for a flat belly:

  • Whole Eggs
  • Nuts (such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews)
  • Seeds (such as sunflower seeds and flaxseeds)
  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Fatty Fish (for example, mackerel, tuna, salmon, and trout)
  • Coconut Oil

All of these “fattening” foods help to improve your overall fat-burning hormone balance, satiety and feelings of fullness after a meal, and also possess an array of other unique fat-burning and health benefits.

For example, egg yolks are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (making the myth about only eating egg whites for a flat belly completely false); avocados and olive oil are rich in heart-healthy, health-boosting fatty acids; many species of fish are a great source of inflammation-reducing omega-3s; and coconut oil is a prime source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), well known for their appetite regulation, energy, and immune benefits.

“All Natural” Foods Vs. “Organic”

The term “natural” applies broadly to foods that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and  other artificial additives, grow hormones, antibiotics, hydrogenated oils, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. One would think that this would include sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, HFCS, but the FDA has stated that since it is derived from corn, it is considered to be a natural sweeten-er.

Most foods labeled “natural” are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations and heath codes that apply to all foods. Organic applies not only to foods but of course the farms these foods are grown on. The difference between an organic farm and a standard farm is that farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease.

For example, rather than using chemical weed  killers, organic farmers may conduct more sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay. “organic” foods containing none of the following: pesticides, herbicides, hormones, GMO’s, antibiotics, sludge, or radiation.

Even scarier than the affects of these pesticides, herbicides, hormones, GMO’s, antibiotics on adults are the affects that these toxins have on children. Young digestive tracts absorb toxins more readily than adult digestive tracts, and young kidneys don’t detoxify as efficiently as adult kidneys.

As a result, toxins circulate longer in babies’ bodies, boosting exposure to four times that of adults.

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

The environmental working group analyzes Department of Agriculture data about pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how  much or little pesticide residue they have. The group has estimated that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods. The group says that the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweighs the known risks of consuming pesticide residue.