I was reading on Yahoo about avocados. I came across this paragraph. It concisely puts together what I've been trying to understand.
"Studies show that people sustain their nutrition program longer and have greater weight loss when on a diet that contains about 30 percent healthy monounsaturated fat, like those in avocados, rather than a low-fat diet. This is because fats, when eaten in the proper balance with carbohydrates, can help to slow the release of sugars into the blood stream, thereby triggering less insulin release. Insulin is basically the hormone that instructs the body to store energy as fat while preventing the use of stored energy, making it a dieter's nemesis if levels are too high."
!! And since FitDay is so great about keeping track of fat and carbs for you, it will be easy to keep the balance. (Or at least be aware of your balance/non-balance)
"30% healthy monounsaturated fat" doesn't make sense to me. Do they mean that 30% of your calories should be from monounsaturated fat, with even more calories devoted to the other types of fat? Or that 30% of your calories from fat should be monounsaturated? Or what I think they mean, which is "30% of calories from fat, and a lot of those from monounsaturated fat"? And what about polyunsaturated fats, aren't they meant to be good as well?
I'm finding that my fat percentage is in the mid-thirties on the days when I have an avocado, but then I'm short, inactive and thus on a 1000-1100 calorie diet. They're probably easier to work around for people with another 400 or so calories. I still love avocadoes, fabulous things, but I've decided to buy one at a time rather than more. I don't worry about the balance of my fats, though; being vegan, my diet is naturally low in saturated fat and proportionately higher in good fats. I could probably wangle something nasty if I lived on coconut oil or took to eating processed fried food, I suppose. Though isn't coconut oil meant to be relatively good for you? It certainly makes a fabulous moisturiser! (Avocadoes allegedly make good face masks too, but as an aromatherapist I know put it, "I never get past the STOP - DO NOT EAT THE AVOCADO stage.")
You've never eaten an avocado in your life? You poor deprived person! They're lovely things. Nice on bread or toast, and also very good in salads, say with spinach and tomatoes. And then of course there's guacamole, easy to make yourself and perhaps a good way of spinning out the avocado so that you aren't gobbling it all at once. Of course, you could just share the avocado if you happen to have someone around who likes them. I once tried my partner on avocado, and unfortunately it wasn't quite ripe and put him off for life, he hasn't wanted to try one since.
I'm glad you brought this up, you're making me think about how I could enjoy avocadoes without eating the whole thing in one day. Guacamole on toast, probably; the lemon juice or what have you should be enough to make it keep well in the fridge for a day or so. You're really meant to use lime, of course, I just don't have them in the house often. I probably should just buy them, they're cheap, it just seems like a waste if you don't use the whole thing.
I don't know about that yahoo paragraph. There are lots of studies out there and unless you're looking at them, the allusion to SOME studies can be pretty persuasive, without seeing the other studies, too.
What I do know is that you don't have to do much to have fat flooding into your diet. I try to NOT add any fat to my normal diet and I still come up with percentages like yesterday's - 24% - just because so much fat is added to food and is a component of so many natural foods. This is not a big deal, it's just that fat has 9 calories a gram (compared to 4 calories a gram for carbs and protein) so it's easy to eat a lot more calories.
I try to watch the saturated fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat percentages on fitday. I cannot imagine how to get 30% monounsaturated fat. I get 10% on a good day - using Benecol spread and Smart Balance Peanut Butter (both are high in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat). There are monounsaturated fats in meats, for example, but they are matched and exceeded by saturated fats in the same meats. I think it would be really a feat to have 30% monounsaturated fat show up on the fitday chart that accompanies the food log.
esophia... I still haven't tried an avocado... but, you've made them sound good. I must try one.
Kathy... I don't think that paragraph means, "eat 30% monounsaturated fat PLUS what ever other fats you can get in to yourself." I took it to mean, "eat 30% fats, (with saturated being the LEAST), and 30% carbs and 30% protein."
I've been (I admit, half heartedly) trying it and it's not working so far. I'm having a hard time eating the same amount of fats and carbs. Always too much/many carbs.
Laurea - I'm not surprised, 30% carbs is very low indeed, and the lowest I usually see recommended is 40%. Many people are very happily on 50% carbs or more. I'm on 55% at the moment and I doubt it'll get much lower. I know that low-carb is fashionable, but wholegrains are actually very healthy things, there's been bushels of research into how they stabilise cholesterol and blood sugar and hormones and so forth.
Kathy - I'm currently getting around 27% fat, but that is with consciously adding fats to my diet, such as oil for cooking/salads, nut butters, that sort of thing. I can't think of any food I eat that has already had fat added to it, but then I don't eat processed foods, is that what you were talking about? My saturated fat rate is currently 4% of my total calories. The amount of fat in my diet seems to be dropping as I try to add in more protein, and I'm starting to wonder how low I should let it go before it gets problematic. I did see a dietician the other year who said she thought I probably didn't get enough fat in my diet, although she was prone to making sweeping assumptions (e.g. that I was gluten intolerant because I was bloated - which was actually due to PMS), and I think she'd assumed that I was one of these people who go out of their way to avoid using fat in their diet.
Good point about the studies, too. Every time I try something new I research it to death and do searches with "scam" or "risk" or what have you in the search string, because otherwise you will find that one dodgy piece of research gets quoted to death and all the research against the miracle product gets ignored. For instance, I've just started adding 10g of protein powder to my morning porridge, and it doesn't exactly improve the taste, so I've been experimenting with dates and molasses and what have you to make it palatable again. Look up the health benefits of molasses, and you get one raw food site claiming that it is total POISON while other sites rave on about how it will cure your period cramps and reverse your greying hair (yeah, right). And actual research seems to be very thin on the ground for that particular thing, you get people quoting no more than the nutrient rates in a very biased way.
When I mentioned the fat that seems to creep into my diet, I was talking about eating meat, for example (even ground chicken, which I love in a soup) and anything that has an egg added to it. I end up eating egg whites (the kind you buy in a carton) for protein and not using whole eggs for anything. I try to add monounsaturated fat to my diet, because it seems to be missing - olive oil supplies it, meat supplies it, but both also add as much saturated fat. So these fortified margarines, like Benecol and Olivio, are my attempt to add monounsaturated fat - which ends up adding fat and calories, too!
I really like cheese, but now I eat fat-free cheese because wow, cheese is basically fat. And peanut butter... OK, so I spread some on a bran cracker and use the Smart Balance kind. Still, it's fat, and still, it's calories. Try not to do that too often. But at least, on a bran cracker, I'm getting more fiber.
It's been a long time since I've made anything that was sauteed in oil or butter. A big salad gets tossed with just one tablespoon of olive oil. Then, there's that addiction I have to plain old olives. Adding them to a salad, making a sandwich of vegetables, I throw in some olives - instant fat added, even if it's just plain old olives from the deli.
Dairy - kefir. Finding non-fat kefir isn't easy.
The prepared foods? Today, I'm having Morningstar chicken patties (taste like breaded chicken, but are vegetarian). Even one of those patties has 5 grams of fat (9x5=45 calories) and 8 grams of protein (8x4=32 calories) - more fat than protein (and 16 grams of carbs, which don't bother me). There's a blurb on the box that says the Morningstar patty has 5 grams of fat and a breaded chicken patty has 12 grams of fat.
Fish - not the oily kind, like salmon, which is really good for you, omega-3-wise - is probably the lowest-fat protein for meals. That, and things like non-fat cottage cheese... not bad with some chopped fresh fruit.
Ach. I've just noticed that the avocado I bought the other day is very definitely ripe, and I've already had quite a bit of fat today, plus I want pasta for supper. Guacamole it is, then. Let's hope it keeps well in the fridge. The annoying thing is that I've just put the mini chopper into the dishwasher and put that on. Oh well, avocados mash nicely by hand as well.
I've noticed I feel better & have better "weight-loss" days when I keep my fats around 30%, protein $30% and carbs 40%. I adore avocados as well- a little citric acid (find it in the canning section) does wonders in keeping the fresh color without any aftertaste like lemon or lime juice can.
I had a magnificant sandwich at a restaurant last night- marinated portobella mushroom grilled with fresh spinach leaves, goat cheese (just a bit) and avocado on a toasted bun. It was so amazing I'm drooling just thinking about it!
(shh- it was probably the brioche bun that put if over the top- but don't tell!)