The other day I was minding my own business at work when I overheard a conversation between two of my customers. One of the ladies I had grown to know pretty well as she was a regular customer, so I tuned right into what she was saying with interest. Apparently, she had gotten an upsetting report from her doctor recently regarding high cholesterol. The doctor told her to make sure she was eating less fat and lots of grains. Then she chuckled and told her companion that twenty years ago when she had the same problem, the very same doctor had told her to cut down on the carbs but never mentioned fat. That's when I had to chime in with my ten cents. Even my co-worker jumped in and we ended up in a pretty intense conversation about doctors and the confusing information we are constantly fed by those we trust the most.
I know this is going out on a pretty big limb for many, but in the holistic community we have been learning more over the years about cholesterol and what in our diet really affects it. Recent research found on websites such as www.westonaprice.org tells us that fat is not the enemy. Fats are essential for good health, good mood, and basic functioning. Trans fats on the other hand, are definitely the enemy. These are the fats found in foods like margarine and packaged snack foods. Yet, many people still swear that in order to be healthy, they need to consume these products but shy away from things like real butter and red meat. In spite of the overwhelming research in favor of "good" fats, doctors and nutritionists are still telling their patients and clients to avoid fat, instead upping their intake of whole grains (including things like "100 Calorie Packs" that contain trans fats!)
We all know that a balanced diet is the key to good health. But I'm learning more and more that there are some foods we should steer a little more clear of, despite what we are told by our doctors, by the FDA, and by the media. So I'm just going to throw it out there and say that grains may be the cause of many of our health problems, including weight; not fat. Many of you are already familiar with the weight side of the argument. Look at diets like Atkins. Low carb diets like these have been proven to work, but have received a lot of flak because most people associate a high protein diet with high fat, and consequently high cholesterol and heart disease. But even though Dr. Atkins didn't get it perfect, I believe he was definitely on the right track. It wasn't until I stopped eating "diet" foods and started consuming more fat and protein that I really saw any success with weight loss. If I'm going to believe anything about the food and health connection, it's definitely going to be that (most) fats are good, and grains...not so good.
As for the heart health and cholesterol side of things, there's a ton of conflicting information regarding how fats and grains affect them. It makes my mind spin just considering all of the possibilities out there. That's pretty much where the conversation at work ended up; all of us throwing our hands up in the air and wishing each other the best of luck. I feel for that sweet woman because her frustration was really evident. Heck I'm frustrated too. It's so hard to know the right things to eat and the right things to do for our health because we have information flying at us from all angles at all times. So I can't stress enough the importance of doing your own research and making your own decisions. It's really the only control we have over our health today, so hang on tight!