Fat has been in the news a lot lately. Not only is a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) (ketogenic/banting) diet the new trend, but the UK's National Obesity Forum came out earlier this week claiming that fat is not the enemy and the news is causing quite a stir.
As you may have seen from news, articles, blogs and opinion pieces, nutrition is quite a minefield. In the 80's and 90's and early 2000's we were told to go low fat. Suddenly eggs, butter, lard and oil is not the enemy. Quite a turnaround.
Personally, I'm a fan of the LCHF diet , provided that people are conscious of how much they eat. A great deal of self-awareness is needed when you take on this diet as there are 2 golden rules.
1. Eat ONLY when you are hungry
2. Eat until you're satisfied (not full)
Knowing when you've had enough is important. It requires you to take the time to focus on what you're eating and being sensitive to the signal that tells you that you've had enough. Finishing a plate loaded with bacon and eggs, while watching the latest episode of Game of thrones will not do, as you'll be more focused on the shenanigans of Theon, Sansa and Jon than on the deliciousness on your plate.
The research in support of LCHF diets are undeniable. (If you're interested in reading some of the research click here, here and here) but I do agree that authorities needs to be a bit clearer in their guidelines. Telling people to gorge on fat and stop counting calories is dangerous - fat still contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. This is again where the self-awareness (and a bit of common sense) comes in. Ask yourself if you're eating because you're hungry or because you're used to eating at 8am, or 12pm or 7pm. Remember golden rule no. 1 is: "Eat ONLY when you are hungry"! Are you snacking because you're bored, or because you're hungry?
On the flipside, for some people it's not advisable to cut out whole food groups like carbohydrates. By all means cut out the pastries, cakes, candy and soda, but the fibre in wholemeal bread or pasta also has its benefits. Some people's digestive systems find digesting fat challenging, while other's digestive systems might have a hard time digesting carbohydrates. Just like all calories are not created equal, so too are humans digestive systems not created equal. Nutrition is a very personal thing and it takes months of experimentation to find out what works and what doesn't.
So what do we do now that we've been given permission to fry food in butter?
We apply some common sense and practice moderation.