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Is a Low Fat Diet Healthy For You

If you walked around the grocery store for just five minutes and quickly skimmed all the boxed labels and packaging around you you’d think low-fat diets were the way to eat. And who could blame you? With pretty packaging and images of toned athletes on the box, damn, I admit, food companies and Big Farm do a great job at marketing.

But what does a low-fat diet do to the body? And is a low-fat diet healthy?

 

1. Low-Fat Diets Leads to a Decline in Cognitive Function

Your brain is made up of mostly fat. Which is why fat (mainly in the form of cholesterol) is also your brain’s favorite, more efficient, fuel source. It’s no coincidence that ever since the adoption of the low-fat diet in the 1970’s rates of depression, dementia, and alzheimer’s disease have exploded.

Fat (in the form of cholesterol) is a critical brain nutrient. Study, after study, after study, have found that fatty acids not only help support memory, but also help to prevent neurodegenerative disease like dementia and alzheimer’s

 

 

2. Low-Fat Diets Lead to Weight Gain

When a low-fat food is manufactured, sugar & carbohydrates are added to replace both the flavor and calories lost from the fat. That’s why a low-fat muffin typically has more calories, sugar, and carbohydrates than it’s “high-fat” counterpart …and you’ll have to eat twice as much to feel full.

Trying to compensate for a missing food group by adding grains & sugar forces you to consume more carbs, sugar, and calories than you body actually needs. And because your body is now running on sugar (and not fat) you’ll find that you’re snacking more often too. This is because carbs & sugar are the quickest nutrient to digest. Which means even after eating a big meal (if it’s heavy on the carbs) you’ll find yourself reaching for a snack just a hour or two later, while if you had the same size meal but it was made up of mostly fat and protein you’d be full and totally satisfied until your next meal.

The carbohydrate & weight gain connection was made as early as the 1860’s. Which is why pigs are fattened with carbs (corn) and skim-milk.
In 2012 the Journal of the American Medical Association featured a study  comparing three diets and their effects on weight loss:

  1. Low-Fat, Higher Carb (60% Carbs, 20% Fat, 20% Protein)
  2. Low Glycemic (40% Carbs, 40% Fat, 20% Protein)
  3. Low-Carb, Higher Fat (10% Carbs, 60% Fat, 30% Protein)

All three diets had the same amount of calories but different percentages of fat, protein and carbs. They found that those on the low-carb, higher fat diet not only burned the most calories but they also improved their insulin sensitivity. The low-fat group burned the lowest amount of calories – no surprise.
Another study looked at about 13,0000 american kids and found that consumption of reduced fat milk was directly associated with weight gain.

3. Low-Fat Diets Contribute to Hormone Imbalances

Hormones are in charge of much more than just your sex drive. From your fertility, to mood, to sleep, and metabolism, hormones are key players in just about every single function in the human body.

For example, both estrogen and testosterone are produced from cholesterol (found in fat). Not getting enough fat (or cholesterol) in your diet will contribute to hormone imbalances because not only can your body not produce what it needs, but it also has a hard time balancing what it needs, and detoxing what it doesn’t. When your hormones are off you can experience a whole slew of problems including,

  • weight gain
  • a loss in bone density
  • muscle loss/inability to put on muscle
  • low sex drive
  • constant fatigue
  • mood imbalances (like anxiety and depression)
  • insomnia
  • insulin resistance
  • digestive issues
  • sugar/carb cravings

…just to name a few.

Research (here and here) on testosterone shows that low fat diets significantly reduce your body’s testosterone levels. Ladies this isn’t just bad news for your man, this is no bueno for you too. Testosterone helps with energy levels, weight loss, sex drive, the ability to put on muscle, and bone density.

 

4. Low-Fat Diets Prevent Absorption of Vitamins A, D, E and K

Unlike most vitamins, A, D, E, and K cannot dissolve in water. These vitamins require fat in order to be absorbed; earning the name ‘fat soluble’ vitamins. If you’re eating a low-fat diet then it’s a safe bet to make that you’re also deficient in vitamins A, D, E, and K. No matter how much of these vitamins you get, via whole food or pill form, your body just can’t absorb them without fat.

 

5. Low-Fat Diets Lead to Dull, Dry Skin (and hair!)

The body’s natural moisturizer (our oil-producing glands) run on fatty acids. When we deprive our body of these fatty acids by eating a low-fat diet our oil-producing glands run dry, very dry; leading to dull, flaky skin, and dry, brittle hair.

Now, you might have heard that proper hydration is the secret to glowing skin, however Weston A. Price points out,

The water we drink mostly goes into the bloodstream and then out via the kidneys. The water in our cells is actually derived from the metabolism of fats.

Which is why when the body has adequate fat it will produce more water for the cells, leading to healthy, glowing skin, and strong vibrant hair.

 

…So, Is a Low-Fat Diet Healthy?

Is a diet that leads to cognitive decline a healthy one?

What about one that makes you fat?

How about one that throws your your hormones out of whack?

Or one that causes malabsorption of essential vitamins and minerals?

And what about one that deprives your cells of proper hydration?

The epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States began in the late 1970’s coincident with the government’s National Dietary Guidelines, in 1977, that low-fat diets were ‘heart healthy’.

-Source

 

Sources:

http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/taking-the-fear-out-of-eating-fat
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25441954
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21664413
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28687611
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28528321
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23508869
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health

 

Dangers of a Low Fat Diet. Is a Low Fat Diet Healthy?

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