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Low Fat Diets

Low fat diets have been recommended for years for people who want to lose weight naturally and lead a healthier lifestyle. But are low fat diets really the healthy option? How low is too low?

What is considered low for one person may be high for another and vice versa.

Official statistics are now showing that although many people have switched to low fat diets figures for obesity, diabetes, anxiety and depression are on the rise.

 

Low Fat Diets Cause More Harm Than Good

If these figures are accurate then they show clearly that always choosing the low fat option is actually doing more harm than good.

In fact, fat is the single most important nutrient for protecting and preserving brain function. Eating a low fat diet or, worse, a no-fat diet is actually the worst thing you can do for your brain according to Reader’s Digest.

Many people who do not eat enough fat, or the right type of fat, experience problems such as premature aging, dry wrinkly skin and eczema, dry brittle hair that falls out easily, loss of muscle tone or the inability to lose weight, memory and learning problems and even Alzheimer's disease.

Your body needs fat to stay healthy, fat is important for cell membranes, healthy skin, hormones and absorption of fat soluble vitamins, but the type of fat you eat is crucial.

When a food or food product is labeled as low in fat all the fat has been removed, but to make it palatable other ingredients have been added such as sugar, salt, chemicals and other additives.

 

Low Fat Milk Is Worse For Your Arteries

Skimmed milk, for example, goes through a process that removes all its fat content, and then because it no longer smells, tastes or looks like milk, milk powder, sugar and artificial vitamins are added.

Semi-skimmed milk has the cream removed but it’s the cream that contains all the beneficial enzymes and the fat-soluble vitamins.

Skimmed and semi-skimmed milk are not obvious processed foods and many people (me included) have been taken in to believe that these are healthier than whole milk.

This also applies to all low fat dairy food such as low fat cheese and low fat yoghurts.

According to Michael Pollan -

“To make dairy products low fat, it’s not enough to remove the fat. You then have to go to great lengths to preserve the body or creamy texture by working in all kinds of food additives. In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol, so food makers sometimes compensate by adding antioxidants, further complicating what had been a simple one-ingredient whole food.”

 

Low Fat Margarine Is Not Healthy

Another example of a processed low fat food that has been marketed as healthy is margarine.

Margarine goes through a process called hydrogenation.

Low Fat Hydrogenation Process

Initially low quality vegetable oils are used and they become further spoiled by high temperatures used in steaming (which destroys vitamins and antioxidants), they are then mixed with finely ground nickel and heated again to a high temperature which makes the oil into a solid.

At this point the oil is partially hydrogenated and resembles a smelly, lumpy grey grease. This step is where the trans-fats are formed.

Next the oil is steam cleaned using high temperatures to remove the smell of chemicals (called deodorization). The oil is then bleached and synthetic vitamins and artificial flavours are added.

The end result is the pale yellow margarine we see on our supermarket shelves. Even after all this lengthy processing requiring extensive machinery margarines are still extremely cheap and this is a clue to the low quality of the vegetable oils used in its manufacture.

There’s nothing healthy about the high levels of dietary trans-fatty acids (dTFAs) found in margarines, shortenings and other processed foods recommended for low fat diets.

 

Side Affects Of Trans-Fats Found In Low Fat Diets

Studies have shown that the consumption of dietary trans-fatty acids (dTFAs) is associated with irritability and aggression. Other adverse health effects of dTFAs have been identified in lipid levels, metabolic function, insulin resistance, oxidation, inflammation, and cardiac health, it was reported by Science Daily.

A far better choice is butter which is made by simply churning cream until the fats separate to form both butter and buttermilk.

 

Avoid Low Fat Diets For Natural Weight Loss

To lose weight naturally and become healthier you should not eat low fat diet products. Instead you should aim to lower your intake of fat by choosing lean meats and fish, and removing any fat from meat.

Avoid processed foods that are labeled as low in fat because these contain high levels of trans-fats, it is better to choose natural fats but consume them in moderation.

Butter, cream, whole milk, whole cheese and natural yogurts are healthier options but be sensible with portion sizes.

Always choose food that is naturally low in fat such as lean proteins, fish, vegetables and fruit not food that has been artificially modified or processed and specifically marketed as suitable for low fat diets.

The Department of Health recommends that 50 per cent of energy should come from carbohydrates, 35 per cent from fat and the remaining 15 per cent from protein.

This means, if you eat approximately 2000 calories a day and 35% is from fat then you should be eating 700 calories a day of fat.

For Instance:

35% of 2000 calories = 700 cals

1 gram of fat contains 9 calories

700 calories in grams = 700 divided by 9 = 77.777

So you should aim to eat approximately 78 grams of fat a day.

Whole milk, for instance contains 4 grams of fat per 100ml of milk. So if you drink 500 ml of milk a day in tea, coffee and on cereal this would be:

100ml = 4 grams fat x 5 (for 500ml) = 20 grams of fat in 500ml of milk.

Each gram equals 9 calories

20 grams x 9 calories = 180 calories in 500ml of whole milk.

To summarize: Low fat diets are not the solution for becoming healthier. Change the way you eat by adding natural foods to your diet that contain no additives, preservatives or chemicals and you will find it far easier to lose weight naturally.

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