Do you remember listening to nana and pop reminiscing about slathering on thick butter onto their toast when they were growing up? How they had full cream milk in their tea and coffee? Eating potatoes with thick cream?
Fat has been unfairly villainised
It was only in the late 60’s and early 70’s when scientists and the medical profession began to espouse the dangers of saturated fats for our health that eating habits began to change. The rise of heart disease was seen as a direct correlation of eating foods such as red meats, butter, lard and eggs. And herein lies the beginnings of where fat began to get villainised and carbohydrates elevated to superior status.
No longer was meat, cheese and eggs on the menu, but rather pasta, potatoes and rice. People replaced near-healthy butter with trans-fat laden margarine, made with hydrogenated oils. Unfortunately too, for the average person, brown rice or whole grains, fruit and vegetables were not considered to be part of the healthy equation either. Instead the belief that became the mantra to live by was fat is bad, fat in my mouth means fat on my body, fat in foods needs to be avoided at all costs. Carbs are the holy grail. The anti-fat message put the blame squarely on saturated fat and cholesterol, whilst alleviating any guilt or contribution form sugar and refined carbs.
Added into this mix of science and medicine is the role of the food industry. It capitalised on this new trend of low fat, and began to develop an amazing abundance of low-fat high sugar alternatives that offered Joe Citizen a great way of simply getting fatter, and for our bodies to become addicted to sugar. (Anyone pondered the link in the increased size of our waists with the increase of diabetes?)
So essentially, the food industry coffers and our waistlines grew rich at the expense of our health. And unfortunately, whilst our initial naïve thinking that changing our eating habits could decrease the incidence of heart disease, the way we went about making that change was incorrect.
Food quality has decreased along with an increase in disease
As society became increasingly pressured and life became fast-paced, so too did the food industry rise to meet this challenge by supplying us with fast foods. Fast foods that are rich in the unhealthy fats, high in processed highly refined carbohydrate – and it is these foods that have become engineered to “hook” us in and habitually want them. So instead of food quality improving as technology and knowledge developed, the quality of our foods decreased and with that the increase of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer.
Foods have become engineered to “hook” us in and habitually want them
Don’t be disheartened, don’t despair. Knowledge is empowering. Taking one small step, is one step towards improving your diet, your health and ultimately your waistline. By just including foods rich in fats that are high in Omega-3, you can begin to see change. Perhaps your brain will feel less foggy, you might feel less fatigued, have renewed energy? So start to include the following foods in your diet:
- Seafood: wild – caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines
- Nuts and seeds – flax seeds, chia and walnuts
- Healthy oils – flaxseed oil, cod liver, canola and soybean oil.