For many of us, the idea that eating low-fat meals will result in weight loss is something quite familiar. Did you know, though, that this is really quite a new concept? It was pioneered by Dr. Ancel Keys in 1957. His “Seven Countries Study” stated that there is a direct connection between dietary intake of saturated fats and elevated cholesterol, leading to higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. The media and advertising moguls jumped on this study and started producing foods labeled as “low-fat”, “fat-free”, “reduced-fat”, and “light”. The everyday consumer was led to believe that eating these foods would lead to a healthier, leaner physique, and a longer life span.
It’s been more than 55 years since this study, however, and many experts question the toutings of the low fat diet. Perhaps you’ve wondered about this, too. Are low-fat meals the answer to a high-fat body?
Low Fat is Not Healthier
There are many reasons why the low-fat meal route isn’t the high road. One of them is that it is simply not good for your health. Here are just a few benefits of including full-fat products in your diet:
- Better nutrient absorption. Nutrients such as calcium and Vitamins A,E,D, and K are all fat soluble.
- Cholesterol balance. Certain healthy fats play a role in balancing good and bad cholesterol.
- Thyroid function. Fats may help sensitize the cells to thyroid hormone, and help promote healthy hormone activity in general.
- Blood sugar levels. Healthy fats aid in keeping blood sugar levels stable, staving off cravings and hypoglycemic episodes.
Many of the above benefits are derived from healthy oils, such as coconut oil.
Low Fat Does Not Help Weight Loss
In addition, eating low-fat meals doesn’t help you shed those pounds. Why not?
- You will be hungrier. Fats are more satiating than many low-fat foods. When you eliminate fats from your diet you will likely eat more.
- Fat-free equals less taste. To make up for the lack of taste, manufacturers often use sugar, flours and other fillers that are low-fat but high-calorie.
- Nutritional content is low. Pre-packaged, low-fat meals and snacks often have very little nutritional value. Your body need nutrients in order to have a healthy metabolism.
- Fat is needed for healthy hormone levels. As previously mentioned, certain fats are needed to process such essential hormones as estrogen and thyroid hormone. Thyroid problems often lead to weight gain.
Of course, not all fats are created equal. For example, potato chips are a high fat food, but will not lead to weight loss or a healthier body. Experts recommend certain healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, and animal fats from milk, butter and cheese.
Could you use some help planning your next full-fat meal? Keep your eye out for future articles that will include cheap and healthy recipes! In the meantime, we encourage you to contact us for a free nutritional consultation.