“The fat you eat is the fat you wear.”
Possibly the worst diet advice ever given, this philosophy set the stage for an entire generation of dieters counting their fat grams and keeping them as low as possible.
Since the ‘80s you can find LOW FAT and FAT FREE versions of almost any processed food.
Cookies, cereal, yogurt, crackers, candy, soups, salad dressings… the list goes on and on.
But have we gotten any thinner or healthier?
Not according to the National Institute of Health…
In fact, we are now tipping the scales (literally) with over 60% of adults and over 30% of children considered overweight or obese. The NIH also tells us this is increasing our risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, and even cancer.
Looks like eating low-fat wasn’t the answer after all.
But here’s the good news!
We have a lot of new science proving that we were wrong about fat. We have more information now than ever before to guide our healthy choices, and turn around the current state of public health.
Like acid-wash jeans, Members Only jackets, mullets, and blue mascara it’s time to leave this trend in the dust.
Here are the top 3 reasons to drop the low-fat diet and back away slowly:
1. Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat
This is the most important point: the fat you eat is NOT the fat you wear. Actually, the sugar you eat is the fat you wear. Sugar spikes insulin, which is the hormone directly related to fat storage.
A healthy weight is largely dependent on healthy blood sugar levels, and fat is key here. Fat slows the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream, giving your body more time to deal with it.
This means you avoid a trip on the blood sugar roller-coater, and a dreaded hanger episode (you know, hunger-induced anger). That means fewer cravings. It also means a steady release of glucose that your body is more likely to use as energy versus storing for later as fat.
2. Fat Keeps You Full
Do you think your great grandma was baking cookies with half-fat hydrogenated canola oil from a plastic tub labeled with a claim that you won’t believe it’s not real food?
Heck no. Grandma’s cookies used the good stuff, real butter. That’s probably why you can could eat just one or two and call it a night. If you’ve ever polished off a whole sleeve of reduced-fat chocolate chip cookies, you already know that they are simply not as satisfying.
Thanks to cholecystokinin, a fat-triggered hormone that slows stomach emptying, foods high in fats will keep you full for longer.
3. Fat Makes Other Food Healthier
You know how coffee with a close friend can alleviate a nasty case of the blahs? Well many nutrients also need good company to work efficiently.
In fact, there’s a whole group of vitamins known to be fat-soluble. This means that they require fat to be present to ensure they are properly absorbed. Fat-soluble vitamin include A, D, E and K plus carotenoids, which are used to make vitamin A in the body.
This means your low-fat salad dressing not only tastes bad, but is causing you to miss out on vital nutrients! Like your worst frenemy, you need to say goodbye to that toxic relationship.
A quick run-down of the healthiest fat sources:
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Wild-caught fatty fish
- Dark Chocolate (80% and up)
- Cold-pressed oils (avocado, olive, and coconut)
- Organic or grass-fed meats
- Organic or grass-fed butter or ghee
Don’t be afraid to include plenty of these foods in your meals. They will make your food healthier, and keep you happy thanks to their delicious flavours and textures.
Just like we update our wardrobes as fashion evolves, we need to update our view on nutrition as the research reveals more. Don’t get caught in a time warp!