Fatisfy your hunger–How a little fat can go a long way
by Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM
Fat has been banished from cakes, cookies, ice cream, yogurt and a myriad more of our favorite foods. Since the advent of the first fat free cookie in the 1980’s obesity has more than doubled. Why aren’t our fat free and low fat foods making us low fat? Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, has an answer: “The foods we don’t bite can come back to bite us.” Why?
You may really want a cookie, a real cookie, but you settle for the fat free kind. Have you ever reasoned that since it’s non-fat, you can therefore have two, or three—or more? Non-fat and low-fat foods often contain as many if not more calories as their “normal” cousins, compensating for the lack of fat with additional sugar and carbohydrates. They often also contain more salt. Why?
For one thing, fat carries flavor. That’s why, when fat is removed, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to enhance the flavors we are missing. Fat isn’t all bad, nor should it be avoided. Our bodies need fat for vital functions—for our brains and cell membranes, for hormones and to aid in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins—A, D, E and K. Fat also helps prevent hunger by staying in our stomachs longer, hence avoiding the “want more syndrome.” It helps regulate our blood sugar.
In a word, it makes food more satisfying. Adding fat to your diet can actually help you eat less because you are literally more “fatisfied.”
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t fat that makes you fat—oh, it certainly can— but rather it is too much of anything that adds fat to our hips! Excess calories that aren’t used are stored as fat. That’s not news. Portion sizes in restaurants have increased two and threefold over the years. A helping is not the same as a serving. You might say that people’s proportions have grown in direct proportion to the size of the portion!
What to do! It’s been said so many ways, I thought I’d try it one more time. Watch your portions, know your good fats and your not so good fats—the unsaturated vs. the saturated. Last month I gave you a list of healthy foods on the Mediterranean diet—olive oils, avocadoes, nuts and nut butters, salmon . . .
On a personal note, I have recently switched my non-fat yogurt snack to whole Greek yogurt. Instead of eating a whole carton of the non-fat, I eat half-a-carton of the whole yogurt (ok, sometimes all of it) with some roasted, unsalted almonds and a few raisins for my morning or afternoon snack. It is so delicious and satisfying it keeps me from being hungry till lunchtime or dinner.
There is one more ingredient that I have to talk about that you won’t find on a food label—exercise and activity. It helps you burn fat. With the right amount and kind of fuel as input and an equivalent amount of exercise and activity as output, you and your body should be looking and feeling fine and your weight should stay constant.
Deprivation in eating or dieting doesn’t work. Avoiding that one thing you really want “. . . can come back to bite you . . .” You may end up eating everything in sight just to avoid that one “fatisfying” morsel. Try it and see. A little of something you really like can keep you from eating a whole bunch of “stuff” you really don’t need. Enjoy!
Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM