One of the subjects we talked about at yesterdays workshop was nutrition, and diet fads.
Let's start with Fat Free.
In the mid 70's heart disease was a big problem. So after some research the issue was found to be too much fat in peoples diet. This is when the recommendation to eat less fat started, so what happened?
Heart disease went down, but people got fat.
The trouble was removing the fat from foods makes them taste bland, so to keep those foods in production since that's what everyone wanted we got fat-free versions that replaced the fat with sugars (carbs) to get them tasting good again.
So now we've realized that carbs are what makes people fat, so those have become the new enemy for dieters.
The trouble wasn't "fats" though, it was certain types of fats. Fats are a required part of your diet, they are a necessity in your body absorbing certain vitamins and provide long term energy as your body processes them slower then carbs.
That said, their is a difference between cooking food in bacon fat vs Olive Oil (Also a fat). Omega-3, Omega-6... things foods are now advertising as containing are fats.
Anyways, carbs are the same. We need them. There is something called a ketogenic diet which is basically carb free and can cause a lot of weight loss.... calling it a healthy way to eat however...
What has really caused us trouble is the high amount of processed food we eat. And, coincidentally a lot of that processed food is carb based.
Broccoli, bananas, apples, carrots... those are carbs. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are as well.
If you want a decent way of looking at carbs and whether they are good or bad the "GI Index" is a good place to start.
It measures how fast your body absorbs a specific food. If you absorb it too fast your blood sugar spikes causing your body to release insulin. Insulin combines with blood sugar to store it as body fat and get your blood sugar back down.
With some processed foods it spikes it faster then we are really meant to deal with, insulin is released in high levels storing it and then your blood sugar falls bellow where it should be. When your blood sugar gets low your brain gives you a craving for sweet foods to get it back up. End result is weight gain.
Food should be plant or animal, thats what we are designed to eat. The farther it gets processed away from that the worse it likely is for you.
To close here is a very simple rule to judge if you should eat something. If it is mostly carbohydrate, but no fibre, it's probably a bad idea. Fibre and sugars are almost always food together in nature, unless the fibre is removed in processing. Fibre helps your body regulate the speed it absorbs sugars, without it things get absorbed faster then they should.