Dan "Nitro" Clark here. Nitro's Friday 5 - is a list of short tips on diet, peak performance, motivation and inspiration.
The biggest change I've made in my life since my heart attack in December of 2013 was the way I ate. I'd always been lean and thought I was healthy, but I made one critical mistake and it almost killed me.
The challenge is I'm an expert in the field of health, fitness and nutrition and I still got it wrong. I grew up in an era where we equated a low-fat diet with health and fitness. We were brainwashed into believing that when you eat fat, you get fat, and even worse it caused heart disease and clogged your arteries.
The truth is the "experts" had it WRONG. They told us to cut the fat in our diets and advised us to eat 7-11 servings of bread a day. They told us to eat nonfat and low fat foods. We obliged and filled our refrigerators with non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, salad dressing.
Low-fat foods became the dietary goal as we stuffed our faces with muffins the size of softballs, cereal, oversized bagels and plates of pasta and avoided fats like the plague.
I went along for the ride too. I drank tuna and grapefruit shakes to get a lean protein with zero fat. I drank non-fat milk, avoided egg yokes, nuts and avocados. I limited the amount of meat I ate - especially bacon. I used lemons for salad dressing instead of oil and I wouldn't go near cheese or butter.
I believed that fats made us fat and caused heart disease.
BOY, WAS I WRONG
When I had my heart attack in December of 2013 the main culprit was low HDL - that's the good cholesterol. Since I avoided fats - I didn't have enough good cholesterol in my system and it nearly cost me my life.
People get stuck on having low cholesterol and don't take into consideration the more important factors like: the ratio of "good cholesterol to bad cholesterol" and "particle size of bad cholesterol" and "inflammation markers" in the body. These are much better indicators for heart disease and heart attack risk - along with family history.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Here is the BIG PROBLEM.
When they stripped the fats (the good stuff) out of foods they added sugar and flour (refined carbs) and chemicals. We now consume 152 pounds of sugar a year per person. Our consumption of flour, which raises blood sugar more than table sugar does, is about 145 pounds a year. That's a combined average of 1 pound of flour and sugar for every person in America every day!
Your morning low-fat yogurt has more sugar than a can of soda and -- your low fat muffins, granola bars and fat-free dressing -- have more sugar than a Twinkie.
Almost 20 percent of our daily calories come from sugary drinks like sweetened teas, juices, soda, sports kinds. These drinks are even worse than solid sugar or other carb calories because they go straight into fat storage and production.
SUGAR AND REFIND CARBS ARE THE NEW FAT
New research show that sugars and carbs are the true cause of obesity and heart disease - not fats. Sugar and carbs cause an insulin spike that turns on a metabolic switch that causes our body to store fat. Eating good fats, does not make you fat.
I know it's all hard to comprehend because for so long we've been told the exact opposite. But the statistics don't lie. As a country we changed our diets to low-fat foods and fat-free foods yet we are the FATTEST we've ever been with a whopping 68% of the population being overweight or obese.
Heart disease now kills more people each year than all cancers combined while cases of diabetes have exploded to affect 30 million Americans and cost 250 billion dollars a year to treat.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The first thing you need to do is cut out the refined carbs and sugar and replace them with good fats in your diet. Not only will good-fats keep you satiated, but studies show those who ate high-fat foods had a much faster metabolism than those who ate low-fat high carb diets.
Next week -- I'll breakdown the different types of fat and highlight the ones you should be eating that promote health, prevent heart disease and cancer, improve your mood and brain function, help you effortlessly lose weight, and hopefully keep you from making the same mistake I made.
I wish you the BEST!
Please share your story or make comments below. And forward to a friend if you think any of the tips could help them.
Have a great weekend and Stay INSPIRED!
Dan "Nitro" Clark
P.S. You can always send me a message on Facebook @DanNitroClark
or on Instagram @DanNitroClark.