Copyright © Jesse Cannone 2003. All rights reserved.
For about 50 years now, Americans have been eating low fat (some no fat) diets and the funny thing is we have gotten progressively fatter and less healthy.
Who ever said low fat diets were healthy, and more importantly, why does eating less fat mean you’ll be less fat? In an attempt to keep this easy to understand, as most of what you read and hear is complicated, confusing, and contradictory, I’m going to be direct, to the point, and explain things in a way that most people can understand.
Where to start??? Well, I’ve done some research on this and have found very little science to back up the claims that eating less fat will keep you trim. I have also found many examples that totally dismiss this idea. For example, the French eat significantly more fat than we do here in the US while there obesity AND disease and illness rates are quite a bit lower. Another example is the Alaskan Eskimos. They consume as much as 70% of their calories from fat (whale blubber and fish) and they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world – until they come to the US and eat like us!
Before I cover other examples I’d like to talk about some of the reasons why the “low fat diet” is not only making us fatter, but also killing people faster than you can imagine! Does that shock you? If so, do I have news for you!
Ok… here are just a few reasons:
Eating less fat means you have to eat more protein or carbs and most people end up eating more carbs (and the wrong type!)
Dietary fat is very slow burning in the body so when you replace the fat with faster burning carbs you tend to feel less energetic, risk burning muscle tissue, and wreak havoc on your metabolism and hormones because your energy levels (blood sugar) are like a roller coaster. Dietary fats supply some of the best, and most stable sources of energy. So if you want to feel good all day long, you need to make sure you are getting enough fats, and the right types. I’ll touch on which types to avoid and which to include in your diet later in this article. The human body needs fat just to function properly, let alone for optimal health
Certain amounts of fat are necessary for proper hormone production. If hormone production is off so will your metabolism be. Hormones regulate many things in the body including your ability to build and maintain muscle tissue, which is responsible for a large portion of your energy expenditure. In simple terms, muscle burns calories 24 hours a day and if you eat a low fat or no fat diet you will have a hard time building and maintaining muscle.
Here are some facts:
Obesity increased from 14% of the American population in 1960 to over 22% by 1980
The Harvard Nurse’s Health Study which ran well over 10 years found that not only did low fat diets not decrease the risk of heart disease but also that saturated fat wasn’t so bad after all, and that too little was just as harmful
To read more of the facts about dietary fat and health check out these great resources:
So to sum things up…
if you want to lose weight and be healthy – DON’T eat a low-fat
diet! You would have to be absolutely insane to after learning the truth
about dietary fats. If you have doubts or questions please do some research
and you will be amazed at what you will find out. In the meantime, go eat
some healthy fats!