For over 20 years we have been taught that if we didn’t stop eating fat it, would make us fat. We listened to the advice of all the nutritionists, doctors and the media. We followed low-fat diets they recommended, but they left us overweight and scratching our heads wondering what happened. As Americans continue to focus on eating low-fat foods, obesity, diabetes and high-cholesterol has skyrocketed. This has caused many people to rethink the idea of low-fat dieting, including the nutritionists and doctors that originally supported it.
The truth…low-fat diets don’t work.
Here are five reasons why…
- Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat.
The body does not store the fat we consume in our diet as body fat. “Healthy fats” (Unsaturated fats) promote weight loss, help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. One type of polyunsaturated fat is Omega-3 fatty acids, they are found in fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts. Monounsaturated fats are found in olives, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive, canola and peanut oils.
- Eliminating Fat = Increased Hunger.
Fat provides flavor to food and helps us feel full. Fat helps satisfy our appetite and keeps us from eating to much or too often. This is because fats take longer to digest than carbs or proteins. People also tend to eat a larger portions of a low-fat foods because they believe they are better for them.
- Consuming Less Fat = Consuming More Carbohydrates.
If the amount of fat in a product is reduced, the proportion of carbohydrate or protein is increased. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates require little digestion and convert into glucose quickly. Excess glucose in the blood causes the release of insulin which tells the body not to burn body fat and stores the glucose as fat.
- Reducing Fat = Increased Sugar and Salt.
Many low-fat processed foods have sugar and/or salt added to improve taste. Sugar has more harmful health effects than fat. Sugar drives fat storage, makes the brain think it is hungry, causes the release of insulin and contributes to insulin resistance and abdominal fat. Salt increases our risk for High Blood Pressure, Osteoporosis, Kidney Disease, Kidney Stones, Stroke, Dehydration, Edema, Asthma, Duodenal, Gastric Ulcers, Stomach Cancer, Electrolyte and Hormonal Imbalance.
- Reducing Fat = Increased Processing.
The fat content of fat-free and low-fat foods is removed by additional processing, altering, formulating, reformulating, added chemicals and fat replacers. Carbohydrate-based fat replacers include Cellulose, Dextrins, Fiber, Gums, Inulin, Maltodextrins, Polydextrose, Starch and Modified Food Starch. Protein-based fat replacers include Microparticulated Protein and Modified Whey Protein Concentrate. Fat-based fat replacers include Emulsifiers, Salatrim and Olestra. Scientists are now able to chemically alter fatty acids, some of which pass through the body virtually unabsorbed.
What does work?
A balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats is ideal. Eating fresh, organic, local, whole foods, while reducing processed foods, practicing portion control and exercising is also key to living a healthful life.
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