It’s been widely proven by now that eating fat isn’t bad for you.
But just how much fat is too much fat? And especially on a low(er) carbohydrate eating plan?
Let’s go back a couple of steps first…
When you eat something, your body starts digesting it in your mouth with enzymes. Starting with the sugars, as the food moves along the digestive path, other carbohydrates, proteins (amino acids) and fats are all digested and broken up into little, usable parts for the body. The body uses these small parts to rebuild itself, give you energy and make sure every single cell works just like it should, from your hair follicles to your intestine wall. If you’re eating the right things, that is…
So what should you eat, whether or not you have diabetes?
Essentially, it’s pretty simple: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.
But I guess you were looking for a more detailed description?
The issue with carbs is that it’s really a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, they provide you with lots of energy that your cells know exactly how to use.
On the other hand, it’s way too easy to over-load on said energy, which your body will only turn into saturated fat in your fat cells.
And then we add in where the carbs come from.
Phew, no wonder everyone seems confused about this and keep arguing about what’s right and what’s not!
What’s true in terms of how the body works is that every type of carbohydrate you eat is eventually split up into a simple form of sugar (aka glucose). This means that all that bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, and sodas (to mention a few) you eat and drink eventually end up as glucose (sugar) in your body.
While sugar is indeed energy, and your body needs some to survive, it is actually quite toxic in large amounts. The cells in your body has an amazing capability of burning (and also storing) this energy, but for that the sugar needs the key to get in. The key is called insulin. And what don’t we produce (enough of) if we have diabetes? Yep, INSULIN.
In super simplified terms, insulin stores sugar as fat in your fat cells. And if you’re insulin resistant (Type 2 Diabetes), or not producing insulin (Type 1 DIabetes), it prevents sugar AND protein (amino acids) from entering muscle cells, so you can’t build or maintain your muscle mass. Joys of diabetes, hey?!
I think we can all agree that knowing this makes it a good idea to make sure we don’t get too many carbohydrates. And I haven’t even mentioned high blood sugar yet!
How many carbs you can eat is quite individual, but if you have problems with your blood sugar (diabetes of any kind or type) or insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, your carb count should stay low. How low is up to you, but I’m sure you’ve figured out that the mentality of just “eating whatever you want and cover for it with insulin” doesn’t exactly work flawlessly for many of us…
Which carbs are good for you and which are not?
It comes down to processed versus natural carbs, really.
All of the ones I mentioned before (bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, sodas…), I wish would just disappear from our food supply. They’re all highly processed, made in a plant with ingredients that have little or no resemblance to the natural, nutrient dense foods we used to eat. Making them easy to overdose on.
What you’re left with is basically vegetables. Organic, if you can. Some berries. And sometimes fruit (but they have quite a lot of carbs, so watch out if you have diabetes!).
But, if you eat less of the carby stuff, what is left?!
Proteins are really important for your body.
They are the building blocks that your body uses to repair itself.
How much protein is good to eat, then?
A great rule of thumb is to calculate about 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. If you’re looking to lose weight, this should be 0.8-1 g per kilogram of your goal weight.
Let’s put this into practice!
So, if a person weighs 60 kg, they should be eating somewhere in the range of 48-60 grams of protein a day. That does NOT mean 48-60 grams of meat, for example, as meat only has 20% protein. This means this awesome person should be eating between 240 and 300 grams of meat a day (if meat is the only protein source, of course).
On the other hand, if a person weighs 100 kg and wants to weigh 90 kg, they should be eating around 72-90 grams of protein a day, meaning 360-450 grams of meat a day.
Keep in mind that there are other protein sources as well, and I’m only using meat as an easy, accessible example.
Eating more than this runs the chance of your liver (mainly) turning the excess protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis anyway, which you really don’t want, especially if you have diabetes.
To summarize it so far, less carbs and moderate protein. Are you with me?!
Lastly, but most gloriously, we have fats.
The fear of fat is really outdated by now, being started by a scientist that turned data into what he wanted it to show (Ancel Keys).
Today we luckily and happily know a lot better! Now we know that eatingfat is necessary, there are essential fatty acids we need to get in order for our bodies to work properly.
Generally, there isn’t really an upper limit for fat intake. You just eat the rest of your food in the form of fat when you’ve fulfilled the carb and protein ratios.
Again, there’s a difference on fats and fats, just like i mentioned for the carbohydrates.
The key really lies in starting with the cleanest saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, dairy (if you can handle it), meat, cocoa butter) you can. Everything gets better with butter! Secondly, choose your monounsaturated fats (nuts, olives and avocados). Lastly, choose your healthy polyunsaturated fats like certain nuts, seeds, avocado oil and fish oils (omega 3).
It’s not more complicated than that, really.
Of course, if you’re eating lots of fat, keeping your carbs and proteins where they should be, and STILL gaining weight, you could be eating too much of it for your individual needs.
Another way of telling that you’re eating way too much fat is by looking at what comes out, i.e. your poop. What you put in is what you get out! If your poop sticks to the toilet (you have to use the brush a lot), it’s a sign your body can’t use all the fat you’re eating.
To sum these shenenigans up: figure out your carb count, then your proteins, fill the rest up with fats. Simple, right?
But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.
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