Low Fat Does Not Equal Weight Loss or Health

Walnut in the shell shaped like a heart

A low fat diet alone is not a healthy one, and randomized studies show that low fat doesn’t even correlate to weight loss.

Scientist and director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Dr. Ronald Krauss asked colleagues to take a different kind of low fat challenge: to stop using the term “low fat” unless they’re “telling people not to use the term ‘low-fat.'”

The Problem With Low Fat

While some folks might lose some weight by cutting the fat, this is because what they’re really cutting back are calories. Thanks to processed low fat foods, however, a low fat diet now often means one rich in unhealthy carbohydrates, like processed sugar and white flour, adding up to just as many calories if not more.

Many low fat foods also make up for the loss in flavor by upping the sodium, which is terrible for your heart.

Instead of Banning Fat, Eat Healthy Fat

According to Dr. Krauss, what matters isn’t so much the amount of fat we eat as what sort of fat. You want to avoid trans-fats and hydrogenated oils in favor of healthier fat sources. Instead, we should be eating more polyunsaturated fats: the sort found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and avocado.

I can tell you from personal experience that ditching a low fat diet worked for me. I struggled with eating issues and maintaining a healthy weight for years. It was when I stopped worrying about fat and started focusing on eating healthy, fresh, unprocessed foods that my weight stabilized. Not only did I feel and look better, but my relationship with food has never been healthier. I’m so glad to see doctors and nutritionists speaking against our low fat obsession! What do you guys think?

Hat tip to my pal Duane for sharing Martha Rose Shulman’s piece on this!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by marfis75

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12 thoughts on “Low Fat Does Not Equal Weight Loss or Health”

  1. Another healthy fat: Lard (as in pure lard, not hydrogenated). People have been eating animal fat probably for our entire existence on this planet, but the low fat craze scared everyone off of it.

    I say ‘low fat’ was an excuse for food manufacturers to add synthetic ingredients to their food to make more of a profit. Fat is expensive, but High Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t. Who’s gonna eat all that corn? But turn it into HFCS or corn oil and suddenly it’s a booming industry. It’s all about the money if you ask me.

    1. I’m not so sure I agree with the healthiness of animal fats, but I am absolutely with you on that second part. It makes perfect sense that food manufacturers would jump at the chance to load up on cheap HFCS and call it healthy.

  2. Since the Lipid Theory (fat makes you fat theory, saturdated fat gives you heart disease) has been proven to be complete BS, the best source of healthy fats would be animal fats. Get yourself some good butter, lard, duck fat… All will make you feel full, contribute to proper hormone functioning and help you lose weight, if that is your goal.

    Stay away from industrial seed oils. Canola, safflower, sunflower, corn oils or any oil generically called “Vegetable Oil”. They and wheat, corn and soy are deadly for a boy evolved to eat whole plants and meats. The low fat movement has created a world where more adults are obese than not and where Type 2 diabetes – a disease 100% caused by and fixable through nutrition – affects more than 10% of the general population (and growing every year).

    1. I don’t know if I agree with all of your statement. I have thyroid disease. So I have to agree that people with a family history of thyroid issues should not consume soy, soybean oil & canola oil among other things. The more you stay away from packaged artificial foods the better.

  3. If you are trying to lose weight, what kind of dairy should you be eating? Right now, I am drinking organic Fat Free Milk. I just read that organic milk has more of the omega good fats in it. So, should I be drinking 1% instead??

    1. I’m not sure I’m the person to answer that question. I don’t consume any dairy at all, since I’m vegan. :) There are lots of good vegan sources of omega 3s, like flax seeds and chia seeds.

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