One of my friends has tried to school me on diet twice in the last week. It annoys me for two reasons. One, I’ve been studying nutrition at University for 3 years now and have had both positive and negative obsessions with food for years and have absorbed a great deal of information. Two, he was wrong.
First he tried to tell me the bagels had more calories per 100g than waffles. You could misinterpret those figures if you’re looking at some US nutritional data and completely discount fibre, fat, sugar and any toppings. Using Australian data, and picking the plainest brands, at the biggest stretch waffles just barely overtook bagels in terms of calorie density. Looking at the brands I was actually buying, it was around double the calories for a toaster waffle. Do your research buddy! Not to mention that I’d be hungry again in an hour because there would be nothing of substance in the waffle to keep me going until lunch!
The second time, it really got on my nerves. I mentioned I was eating a plain dinner of baked tofu, green beans and brown rice. For health, I’m being especially stringent with my diet at the moment, but with some seasonings it was quite palatable. I mentioned this of my Twitter feed and copped the “soy = fat and fat = bad” argument from him. I tried to explain how good fats and bad fats work but ended up getting frustrated with him not listening to me. Mainly because if you have any desire to learn about the way the body works, and weight loss/healthy living etc. let alone any interest in food, you’re going to need to know the following things:
Fat = flavour. And it’s essential for your body to function properly.
That doesn’t mean go and be a lardass and gorge yourself on Krispy Kremes, icecream and McDonalds. But yes, vegetables are tastier with a little olive oil and seasoning, and no one wants to be deprived of taste in their diet.
You need to get 20-35% of energy from lipids (fats) and it’s important for carrying fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and certain antioxidants. Fats also supply essential fatty acids for healthy skin and have a role in regulating body functions.
There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats can be found in milk, cream, butter, hard cheese, meats, coconut oil, and palm oil (and these are not so good for you). The unfortunate thing is that these are the foods that people find the most pleasing to the palate, and the foods that contain good or unsaturated fats are the ones that you probably only consider if you’re into nutrition, fitness or vegetarianism.
Unsaturated fats consist of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines and tuna), soy products and walnuts. These are all good foods! They are full of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, that have a myriad of benefits to the body and blood regulation especially. You need to eat these foods, and anyone who refuses to eat them because they are “fatty”. Here’s what my friend said on Twitter. @healthypartygrl is myself, I’ve removed his username for privacy.
- @healthypartygrl cheers for the heads up on nuts – wtf @ almonds since when were they so fattening?? over 50% fat 😐 i dont care if it’s “good”
- @healthypartygrl wtf does “good fat” mean anyway???? isn’t it merely saturated or unsaturated?
- @healthypartygrl even still… eating something that’s 20% fat can’t be good for you… despite being “good” fat
So even though I have tried to explain the difference between good and bad fats (no mean feat in 140 characters) he is still unwilling to listen and try to understand the idea that there may be an alternative to his point of view. It’s not as simple as fat = bad. You need to have nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado, soy products and so on in a balanced diet. Almonds, for example, have a low fat content compared to some of the other nuts and are high in calcium! They also contain protein and a small handful of almonds is a great afternoon nibble to tide you through until dinner without adding to the waistband. The fats you should be avoiding come from fried foods, confectionary products and dairy. But let’s face it, they’re the tasty ones.
Some of the information in this post was taken from: