So we all know sugar isn’t good for us. But if you are (ahem!) old enough to remember, it wasn’t always so clear.
I was a kid (and teenager) in the 80s– cue shoulder pads, perms, New Wave, and fat-free everything. Fat was the root of all evil and it was to be avoided at any cost. And it kind of made sense– if you don’t want to get fat, you just don’t eat fat, right? Well, wrong actually.
Fat-free foods were generally filled with sugar– tons of it—in order to improve mouth feel and taste after the fat was ditched. I remember fat-free biscuits were super popular in their heyday. They were moreish. But not in a good way– more in a “I’m still hungry, I’m just going to keep eating” way. The high sugar content was bad news, but it turns out the no-fat factor wasn’t doing us any favours either.
We now know fat isn’t the enemy– It’s actually essential for overall health. Apparently brain tissue is made up of more than half fat (60%) so it’s a must for healthy brain function. It’s also needed for tons of other organs, functions and to maintain for healthy skin. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble so fat is needed to breakdown and absorb these vital nutrients. AND it’s important for satiety– it helps you to feel full after eating. When added to carbs, fat helps slow down absorption, which helps from a GI point of view (what’s GI?) and keeps you fuller longer.
So chances are if you couldn’t stop eating those fat-free biscuits back in the day, it wasn’t just the sugar that kept you going back for more. Without the fat, you probably just didn’t feel full. Aha!
The recommended daily fat allowance for an adult woman is about 70g. I doubt I even ate that over the course of a few days in my teen years. So for a while now I’ve been retraining my brain (literally!), readjusting my relationship to fat.
Obviously not all fats are created equal. There’s everything from terrible trans- fats to gold-star omega-3s (from seeds, nuts, & fatty fish) — and everything in between. But do give (some) fat a chance. Your body will thank you for it.
by Erin Moroney
Nibble Founder & runner