Last updated on December 9th, 2021
Don't Fall For the Low Fat Myth
If you’re convinced that choosing fat-free foods will help you lose weight and stay healthy, you’re falling for one of biggest marketing scams ever orchestrated.
Maybe you have already figured out that cutting the fat out of your diet isn’t helping you lose weight. What’s more, you may be experiencing some of the side effects of healthy fat deprivation such as fatigue, mood swings, insatiable hunger, gas, bloating and acid-reflux.
Powerful corporations world-wide, including the pharmaceutical industry, continue to associate saturated fat intake with obesity, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, but it's a self-serving agreement that gets you to buy low-fat products and surreptitiously supports the need for cholesterol-lowering drugs.
[important]Factoid: Healthy Cholesterol levels keep getting lower as reported by the CDE and NCEP because they are determined as a result of testing the effectiveness of statin drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor). These studies involved only people with heart disease, so the lessons learned don't directly apply to everyone.[/important]
Here Are Some Good Reasons to Avoid a Low Fat Diet:
1- Low-Fat Diets Can Keep You Hungry
Fat-free foods are pretty tasteless, so we eat more of them, yet we’re still not satisfied. Why? Because fat is satiating! The fats in our diet trigger our brains telling us we are “full” and to stop eating.
2- Low-Fat Diets Are Often High in Carbohydrates
Low fat processed foods contain loads of sugar which is not only high in carbohydrates, but keeps you craving more sweets. A low carbohydrate diet, that eliminates sugar and carbs, lowers your glycemic level and eliminates sugar cravings.
Eating too many high-carb foods can also lead to low blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, your body goes into a storage mode and your metabolism slows down. Also, when you eat high-carb foods, you trigger the release of insulin, which tells your body to store fat.
3- Low-Fat Also Means Low-Protein
Low-fat dieters will proudly tell you that they avoid red meat, cheese and that they cut back on poultry. What they don’t realize is that they are cutting out proteins necessary for good health. How many people admit to “beefing up” on beans and tofu to replace that red meat and poultry? I would guess not many. If you are on a low-fat diet, consider adding more fat to your diet, or switching to a low-carb diet (which permits fats), especially if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
Depression, Fatigue, Anxiety, Mood swings, Hypoglycemia, Insulin resistance, Constant and insatiable hunger, Gas, Bloating, “Acid-reflux,” Loose stools, Hormonal imbalances, Irregular menstruation in young women, Dry skin, Brittle hair and nails
4- You Lower Cholesterol and Lose Body Fat by Eating Real Food
According to a study at Duke University, you are more likely to lower your bad cholesterol, (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL) by changing to a healthy, natural, balanced diet that avoids processed foods and high carbohydrate foods.
Did You Know Low Carb Diets Work Better Than Low Fat Diets?
Over 20 controlled trials have shown that Low Carb Diets are both safe and effective. They also lead to more weight loss (and better overall health) than the Low Fat Diet.
What's more, Low Carb diets are far easier to stick to than Low Fat Diets because you can eat until you're full…and you eat real, not processed food.
Margarine is Not Better Than Real Butter
We have been told to eat margarine because butter raises our cholesterol and is bad for our heart. According to several studies reported in Nutrition Week, the truth is that margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters.
Butter is a natural food. Margarine is an artificial concoction made from chemicals. Yes, butter is a saturated fat made from cream, but now that savvy consumers realize saturated fats aren’t going to kill us, (as the low-fat food industry would have us think), consider the reports pointing to the fact that real butter is actually good for you! Butter is a natural source of vitamins A, D, E K, and important trace minerals – magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium and iodine.
It also tastes a hell of lot better than margarine.
Julia Child, who died a few days short of her 92nd birthday said, “Oh, butter never hurts you” . She is also noted for saying, ”If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States.”
According to The Weston Price foundation and other naturopathic sources, “The saturated fat in butter enhances our immune function, protects the liver from toxins, provides nourishment for the heart in times of stress, gives stiffness and integrity to our cell membranes, and aids in the proper utilization of omega-3 essential fatty acids.”
Other benefits include the fact that the cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children's brain and nervous system development and also protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.
I personally recommend purchasing Grass-fed butter produced without the use of hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Kerry Gold, Horizon and Organic Valley cows are 100% grass fed for over 321 days a year.
Replace Highly Processed Vegetable Oils (trans fats) with Traditional Fats
For many years the media has told us to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats like those from vegetable oils. It sounds healthful, but what they don’t always say is that not all vegetable oils are created equal. Some fats, like vegetable shortening used in cooking and prepared foods is highly processed. Those oils are partially hydrogenated – a process that rearranges the fatty acid molecules, turning them from the natural configuration into trans fats. As reported by researchers at Harvard University Health, not only are trans fats a synthetic product that is difficult to digest, they have been implicated as a cause of both cancer and heart disease. Practically all processed foods contain trans fats including some “healthy” breakfast cereals and snack bars.
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The irony for me is that the symptoms of eating too little protein, by eating low-fat, are also identical to the symptoms for Graves’ disease (from which I suffer!).
I’ve been LCHF palaeo 8 years and, in that time, lost 22.5 stone (315lb) dropping from a UK 34/36 to a UK 4/6 (US 30/32 to 0/2).
My GP is now doing weight watchers for the 6th time; I guess she never gained enough flab the last few times (she was a UK 18/20 (US 14/16) when I first saw her; she’s now a 22/24 (18/20)).
I’ve begun to get VERY bloated (I actually look MORE bloated than my mother who eats at least 400g of grainy, starchy carbs A DAY!). I’m autistic, so I struggle with GPs; my scale weight has SUDDENLY (and I do mean suddenly – 4.5st (63lb) ‘gained’ in 2 months, and I’m so bloated now that none of my clothes fit!). Every quack I see says EXACTLY the same thing to me “Well I’m not surprised you’re getting heavier – ANYBODY would if they ate the amount of fat you do!” Or words to that effect. I’ve TRIED pointing out that I’m eating the same diet now that I did when I lost 75% of my original body weight, but NOBODY believes me!
I’ve pointed out to my own GP that, if that was the case, how come she’s gained 2 sizes in 18 months? Apparently it’s because she’s been really lapse about going down the gym (yep, she actually still believes the CICO BS, after ALL the evidence I’ve shown her contradicting it!)
I’m NEVER going to get to the bottom of my 11.2oz a day gain unless I can find a quack who believes that LCHF is the correct way to eat (and, in this country, that’s IMPOSSIBLE!) ARGH!!!
I’ve tried cutting out dairy (did so for 3 months, no improvement). I don’t drink, nor smoke, and I can’t really see what else could be causing it – my self-esteem is pretty much shot!
Apologies for the rant…
Thanks for taking the time to comment and to share your frustrations! I do hope you continue to seek out a doctor who can determine if your unusual and sudden weight gain isn’t caused by a condition other than overeating. That should be your first concern. If you are good health, get serious about finding and sticking with a low carb diet. I have seen firsthand how quickly one can shed pounds if you really adhere to the plan, but you can’t cheat. There are several plans on-line including the Atkins diet and South Beach diet. It does take a few weeks to see results, but if you can get past those two weeks you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to lose weight.You’ll also learn to make smarter choices on what you choose eat. Good luck!
Hillary, this is a great article. I’ve tried the low fat diets and I am always SO hungry on them. I need more protein to stay satisfied. The low carb diets are easier for me to stick with!
Thanks for the visit and I’m glad you agree. Low carb diets are great. You’re never hungry and if you like to cook gourmet, you can really get creative. Cheers!
Thanks Andrea – I’m a BIG fan of low carb and natural foods diets too. I found so much information on the low-fat myth that I’m soon to post more on Hubpages. At least the word is getting out about the benefits of natural fats on the internet, if not within the advertising media and on the supermarket shelves.
@Hillary a/k/a GreenLotus Well, I’m a fan too because they are healthy and they do work. But if you know a lot of stuff about this topic I think you’d better write about it here. You already know how to write SEO optimized artcles and this way you keep all benefits; or write a couple of article there and the good stuff here. Just an advice. 😉
Have a great day!
The fable about low fat diet has been created ad hoc by producers of junk, but low in fats, food and cereals’ producers. As you correctly say with low fats food you’re almost always hungry and starving from useful substances needed for our health, like our brain cells which needs fats. Actually every chemical food is bad for our health like margarine which is said to be more carcinogen than tobacco but given that it’s made from corn we still find it everywhere. The same goes for carbohydrates snaks which make you to eat a box before feeling full. You know, health comes after money. Plus, and this directly relates to GMO, studies are “often” paid by those who sell them so their results are always biased.
Very good and important article Hillary, well done. 🙂