Enough literature has been published teaching Americans about the nutritional havoc excessive dietary fat can play. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing has led to so much misinformation that while Americans attempt to eat in a manner that they perceive to be healthy, few rarely have a sense of the role fat plays and where fats are. Ordering the chicken mixed salad in a restaurant might often have you ingesting more dietary fat than you would if you ordered the cheeseburger! Often the chicken breast is “marinating” which means “soaking up oil” for hours or days before it makes it to your plate. Add croutons, dressing, bacon bits, and you are stacking up fat calories in the “healthy” salad.

Since so many attempts to eat “low fat” or “fat free,” marketers have learned that if they can plaster those words all over their label, people will buy!  Loopholes in the FDA labeling laws have allowed food companies to mislead on their labels by promoting high fat foods as “low fat” and pure fat in some cases as “fat free.”

Skip the big print and read the label.

If any ingredient contains fat or oil, the food cannot possibly be “fat free.”

While some “fat free” labeled snacks may really be pretty close to fat free, the most abundant ingredient in most cookies, cakes and ice cream is sugar. When you ingest simple sugar, it causes a rush of insulin which leads firstly to a compromise in fat release, and secondly, to the possible storage of body fat.  Too often, those attempting to avoid fat wind up having their dietary attempts fail due to excessive intake of simple sugars!

Supplements:  Magic in a bottle?

There are some supplements that are valid. They are, however, “supplements,” and by definition mean, “in addition to.” A supplement cannot and will not be a solution.  Most supplements are single micronutrients (vitamins and/or minerals) or combinations of micronutrient compounds. The processing of food in itself is synergistic and all of the nutrients work together.  For the most part, the micronutrients act upon the macronutrients for metabolic processes to take place. A concern for single vitamins and minerals without concern for intake of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids can only leave you frustrated and short of achieving your health and fitness goals. Once you get the Synergy between exercise and supportive nutrition through food right, you can “fill in the gaps” or seek to optimize performance using supplemental aids. The most vital “supplement” in quest of supportive nutrition would be one that provides all of the nutrients you’d obtain in a meal in the event that a supportive meal is not accessible or convenient.  These are often called “meal replacements” or “nutrition formulas” Don’t get fooled by ads and labels that promise “magic.”  Look for a formula using a high quality protein and complex carbs, free from saturated or hydrogenated fat, and low in simple sugars. Also seek out a formula that maintains a high and complete profile of vitamins and minerals.