As a society, we have essentially been “tricked” into thinking that a low fat diet is the way to go. Eat fat, you’ll gain fat. Eat low fat and you’ll lose weight. That’s just not the case. We NEED fat in our diet.
In order to understand the logic, you need to dig a bit deeper to learn a few things. Just like you’ve heard the mantra that not all calories are created equal, the same goes for fats. In addition, many don’t understand what it means to actually “reduce fat” from a product.
Why fats are beneficial
Research shows that who regularly consume a low fat diet are often left with hormonal imbalances, making them overweight, moody, tired, and fighting off cravings for unhealthy food. It also raises the question- if you’re not eating fats, what are you eating? Usually the answer is more refined carbs.
Fats are not the enemy. Sure, if you are eating fast food every day, you’re loading yourself up with fats. Just like anything though, there are good and bad versions. Fast food contains the bad fats. They can actually block your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Good fats (more on that below) do quite the opposite–they increase your metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity which in turn helps you lose weight.
Did you know that the human brain is composed of approximately 60% fat? We need fats! Think about babies. The BEST first foods you can give (egg yolk, meats, and avocado) are full of fats. Why? Because babies need them for brain development. We don’t just stop needing fats once we’re toddlers. Fats are essential for cell development, they allow the body to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, and they give us energy (not to mention they keep you full longer).
What’s a good fat versus a bad fat?
Good fats are those you would find in nature. This includes Omega-3 fats (wild caught fish and hemp seeds), monounsaturated (avocado and olive oil), and saturated fats (animal protein and coconut oil). These are essential fats that are nourishing foods, assuming you are eating quality sources (if you are unsure, make sure to download my free ebook to learn more).
Bad fats are also known as trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats. They are not found in nature, but are man made. Consider them toxic. These fats include vegetable oils, margarine, and some saturated fats such as grain-fed beef which contains over 400% more saturated fat than grass-fed. The sad fact is, our society consumes these fats far more than the good fats. Bad fats are in most processed and restaurant foods, making it difficult for consumers to avoid them.
So why is low fat bad? Can’t I just avoid the “bad” fats?
Sure, that seems like the logical thing to do. But many are still drawn to foods that are marketed as low fat. So let’s think about what is labeled low fat…donuts, milk, ice cream, cereal, cookies, peanut butter…and the list goes on. Truly, none of these foods are good for you.
Let’s take it a step further though. How do they go from full fat to low fat? Carbohydrates and sugar are usually added back in to replace the fat that has been “taken out.” In addition, if you compare lets say a low fat donut with a full fat donut, it’s likely that the low fat version has the same or even more calories than the original. Plus, let’s be honest, they aren’t making them with coconut oil. These foods are laden with bad fats.
Finally, people are drawn into the marketing scheme of low fat. Oh goodie!! It’s not as much fat so it must be healthier. Well can you guess what happens with that mentality? They eat more! Same concept as the 100 calorie snacks that became so popular…until people realized they were eating several snacks and completely missing the serving size.
So next time someone mentions they’re eating low fat for dieting purposes, remind them that fats don’t make you fat. Excess calories do. 🙂