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Carbs or Fat…which is to blame?

Last night I was making dinner. A quick fix of roasted broccoli florets and some leftover rotisserie chicken. I loaded up a plate and ate slowly, enjoying the flavors and activity of eating. Once done I waited to see if my body was full or not…After about 20min. I realized I needed more so I loaded up a second plate. By the time I was done I had eaten the whole sheet of broccoli and I’m thinking to myself…”DID I SERIOUSLY JUST DO THIS?” Then I shortly followed that up with the thought..”Well at least it wasn’t crappy carbs or a ton of fat!”

That leads to my discussion today. Which is worse for our health and nutrition, CARBS or FAT? Because history has told us since the 80’s that fat is the culprit to obesity and heart problems we were having as a nation. Now it seems every where you look its a complete switch as FATS are GOOD and CARBS are new ENEMY #1.

So lets battle it out. The heavyweight fight of the century. CARBS vs. FAT!!

Round 1

In the left hand corner weighing in at 15g sugar, 2g carb, and 32g starch we have “CAAAAARRRRBBBBBBSSSS”!!

Fighting in the right hand corner weighing in at 8g saturated, and 16g unsaturated it’s the big guy “FFFAAAAATTTTT” Daddy!!

Both fighters are primed and ready to settle this rivalry once and for all….what’s worse for our health, Carbs or Fat?

Carbs

Pros

  • Primary use is for energy
  • Helps in digestion
  • Increases fullness
  • Provides many nutrients

Cons

  • Easily stored for future energy
  • Too much can lead to weight gain
  • Too much leads to Type 2 Diabetes
  • Hormone disruptoin

Fats

Pros

  • Primary use is for energy
  • Protects organs and keeps body warm
  • Increases fullness
  • Helps with nutrient absorption

Cons

  • Easily stored for future energy
  • Too much can lead to weight gain
  • Too much leads to CVD, high blood pressure, & elevated cholesterol
  • Less accessible for energy

It looks like they both have some great pluses and big negatives.  They also seem to have a lot in common.  Well, that didn’t help solve the battle…maybe if we look a little deeper??

Round 2

Carbs come in at 4 calories per gram, but fat is 9 calories per gram. Winner: Carbs

90-95% of carbs absorbed, 97-100% of fat absorbed.  Winner: Carbs

Carbs are easily accessible and can be metabolized quickly, Fat is harder to access taking 20+ minutes to be available for metabolism.  Winner: Carbs

Fats assist movement of proteins and absorption of vitamins.  Carbs are essential for muscle repair and growth.  Carbs deliver glucose and water to muscle cells.  Winner: Fats

Carbs guve us glucose (aka sugar) but once it’s gone it’s gone, while fat continues to burn and elevates RMR and promoting more free fatty acid for energy.  Winner: Fats

Too many of the wrong carbs can lead to Diabetes and cancer, too much of the wrong fats can lead to CVD – the #1 killer in America.  Winner: Fats

Note: Based on the fact Diabetes and cancer are trending up faster than CVD

So 6 Questions mono-e-mono, and we have an even tie at 3. Still no decisive winner???

Well maybe it’s safe to say it’s a draw. We need both for our body. Finding balance of the right kind means more than counting macros. It’s having the mindset to eat them all proportionally. We don’t single out a culprit because when we do so our mind is drawn to focus specifically on avoiding it. Want proof?

Think back over the last 3 decades as FAT became victimized and we readily sought out “FAT FREE, LOW-FAT, NO Fat” foods. Never thinking twice about carbs while our waistline and bellies grew!

So, what to do?

  1. Eat primarily unsaturated fat or “healthy fats” (nuts,seeds,avocado,salmon,oils). Focusing on consuming more of these healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats (saturated and trans) will go a long way to helping you lean out. Our body uses these fats for energy, and they play a role in + heart health!

    **Aim for a 80/20 ratio of Unsaturated Fats/Saturated Fats. You could even do a little bit better by striving for 85/15!

  2. Eat primarily complex carbs or “quality carbs” (sprouted-grains,oats,quinoa,beans,veggies). Focus on getting your carbs from the COMPLEX group. These type of carbs pack in the fiber your body needs to stay full, control insulin release, and give you steady energy throughout your day. They also are crucial for recovery after strenuous workouts!

    **Aim for a 80/20 ratio of Complex carbs/Simple carbs. If you are more active and don’t lead a sedentary lifestyle at work and home you are more safe for a 75/25 – 70/30 ratio dependent on your activity level!

What to take away

The main thing to take away from this is that neither group should be cut out or completely eliminated. It’s not healthy to establish a nutrition pattern with an “All-in or All-out” mindset. Everything has it’s place…just use your head and eat what’s good for you. It’s not Rocket Science 😉

Til Next time,

Rachel and Anthony

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