Saturated fats have always been deemed a major culprit when it comes to health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The latest news reveals carbohydrates could be associated with higher levels of a fatty acid linked to an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Find out more about the new news on fats vs. carbohydrates and what it could mean for you.
- A recent study was conducted at Ohio State University and published in the journal PLOS One. Scientists put 16 participants on a strict diet for four and a half months. Although the study was small, the results were very interesting. When carbohydrates were reduced and saturated fat increased, the total saturated fat in the blood did not increase. In most people, it actually went down. With low-carbohydrate diets, the increase in the fatty acid palmitoleic acid went down and increased as carbohydrates were reintroduced. Palmitoleic acid is associated with the unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates. During the study, participants at two different times were given more saturated fat yet the saturated fat in the blood went down in the majority of people.
- By the end of the trial, participants saw marked improvements in blood pressure, blood glucose and insulin levels. The average participant lost 22 pounds. The new study reveals carbohydrates may ultimately be more harmful than saturated fats. When carbohydrates are eaten in excess, they are converted into fat by your body which makes you more susceptible to systemic inflammation and disease. However, carbohydrates should never be eliminated from your diet because they are the main source of energy for your body. The bottom line is to choose carbohydrates wisely and eat them in moderation.
- Not all carbohydrates are considered bad. The two types of carbohydrates are simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include white rice, white pasta, white bread, candy, soda, white potatoes, artificial syrups and desserts. These simple carbohydrates are easily digestible sugars that offer little benefit to your body. Complex carbohydrates are the good carbohydrates with complex sugars that take longer for your body to break down and digest due to the higher fiber content. These carbohydrates include whole wheat bread, rye or sour dough bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, barley, beans, squash, bananas and berries. Good carbohydrates provide essential fiber in your diet to add bulk and make you feel fuller faster and longer.
- Always eat carbohydrates in moderation. Discuss portion sizes and amounts with your diabetes health care team. If you see less than three colors on your plate, add more for a well-balanced diet. Drink 2 glasses of water before each meal to feel fuller. Start your meals with a salad topped off with Walden Farms dressing with no calories or fat. Stay away from high-carbohydrate beverages such as fruit juice, regular soda, fruit punch, lemonade or beer.
- Choose foods such as lean meat and fish, low-fat dairy, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Keep portion sizes in mind when you plan meals and snacks. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. While the latest news shows saturated fats may not be the enemy, continue to minimize your intake of total fat, sugar, salt and alcohol. Check your blood sugar levels regularly and develop a healthy lifestyle for more energy. Maintain a reasonable weight through positive lifestyle changes. Work with a dietitian or diabetes nurse educator if you have trouble choosing healthy foods or losing weight.
The latest news about fats vs. carbohydrates is surprising for scientists and people with diabetes. Regardless of the latest research, there is no substitute for a healthy diet, a normal BMI and regular exercise. Talk to your diabetes health care team about the right foods and behaviors for success.