Walk down an aisle in the grocery store and you will find labels with “LOW FAT”, “FAT FREE”, LITE on several products staring at you. Marketing and advertising companies have bombarded us since the 70s with low fat and fat free products promising us that these are your much awaited ticket to being SKINNY. The promises made to choose low fat to lose weight and prevent chronic disease did not have scientific evidence. As Dr. Robert Lustig puts it, “When you take the fat out, the food tastes like cardboard.” So what is- added? The usual additions are sugar and refined carbohydrates (which turn into sugar in the bloodstream), refined vegetable oils, or artificial sweeteners that interfere with your metabolism. Has the dramatic reduction of fat in our diets really helped us become healthier? Or is it possible that fat might not really be making us fat? Here’s the reality:
WHY FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT
1. Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat.
When you eat fat, your body doesn’t instantly turn it into body fat. It’s NOT a 1:1 ratio. When consumed with a whole food, no-refined carb diet, your body actually uses fats as a powerful slow-burning energy source. Eat Fat, Get Energy. That’s the equation at work here.
2. Cutting Fat Makes You Hungry.
Fat comes with a satisfying mouth feel, they provide flavor and help us feel full. Most importantly, digestion of fats is slower than carbs or protein, so fats satiate longer.
3. Cutting Fat Makes You Eat More.
Not satiated? Studies show low-fat food eaters turn to carbs to cut their hunger and cravings. More carbs (especially refined carbs) means more blood sugar highs and lows. And a lot of hard-to-beat cravings.
4. Low-Fat Often Means High Sugar.
To make foods fat-free or low-fat, food companies turn to additional processing, adding chemicals and fat replacers to keep textures and tastes similar to the originals. These additives (gums, inulin, maltodextrin, starch, modified food starch) are carbohydrate-based fat replacers. In many instances, fancy names for sugar.
5. Low-Fat Isn’t Healthy.
Looking for a pure, whole food diet. Low-fat foods are chemically altered, far from the natural state of the original substance.
- DO NOT BE SCARED OF FAT.
- Fats can be categorized into GOOD FATS AND BAD FATS .
- EAT GOOD fats. It promotes fat burn and builds muscle faster. It curbs cravings for junk foods. Real healthy fats also supply your body with essential nutrients by helping your body absorb the fat soluble vitamins.
Here are my favorite GOOD sources of fat:
- Nuts walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, but NOT peanuts (one recent study showed a handful of nuts a day reduced death from all causes by 20 percent)
- Seeds – pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp
- Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon that are rich in omega-3 fats
- Organic vegetarian fed pastured eggs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Enjoy grass-fed or sustainably raised animal products (eating good quality animal products that are good for you).
Stay away from the BAD factory made fats – Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Trans fats create inflammation, which are linked to heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, soybean oil, cotton seed oil and other trans fats found in processed and refined foods.
- They are hidden in commercial baked goods such as cookies, cakes, pies, as well as fried foods, such as donuts, French fries.
- Indian packaged snacks hot mixes sev, chana dal, sweets stored in boxes and even shortenings and margarines (but not butter)!
I have many diabetic patients whose health improves when I get them on a diet that is higher in healthy fat. Fat helps you stay full longer and are a much better snack option than those 100 calorie Oreo or Cheetos or any other snack pack. I choose full fat yogurt, pure grass fed butter, ghee, avocadoes, nuts, seeds and haven’t gained any weight doing so.
It’s not all about choosing a low fat diet but the RIGHT FAT DIET. Balance is the key. A balance of healthy carbs, healthy proteins and healthy fats is your ticket to GREAT HEALTH.