Are low-fat foods healthier for you? If the answer to this question was “yes,” then shouldn’t we have seen the health of our population improve over the last 60 years, as there have been more low-fat foods in our grocery stores?
On the contrary, we are experiencing epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
The evidence is clear: Eating a low-fat diet will predispose a person to all of the above conditions.
Furthermore, if you are suffering from a chronic illness, it will be much harder to overcome when eating a low-fat diet.
Our bodies are designed to eat a variety of foods to get the correct nutrients. For instance, we need vitamins, minerals, and enzymes so that we can store nutrients for later use. And fat is critical for proper vitamin and mineral absorption.
Fat also insulates the body and protects us from severe temperatures — particularly cold. Without adequate fat, a person will have a hard time maintaining a stable body temperature.
Believe it or not, low-fat diets are also associated with weight gain. How can that be? A closer look at biochemistry can provide the answer.
As noted, Americans have been told for more than 60 years to eat less fat in our diets. In response, we not only reduced the amount of fat we consume, we also changed from eating predominantly animal fats to vegetable-based fats uch as soy, corn, and canola oil.
The powers that be said that vegetable oils would lower our heart disease risk and make us healthier. Neither happened.
On the contrary, we are suffering an obesity epidemic, at least in part because of this single dietary change.
Fat is in food sources for a few reasons. First of all, it makes food taste better. It also sends a signal to the brain telling it that enough food has been consumed — time to stop eating.
Because fat is metabolized slowly, it can give the body a sensation of being satiated, or full, for a longer time.
By contrast, refined carbohydrates, such as grains and sugar, are metabolized very quickly, making blood sugar levels rise very fast and very high. The body responds to this by releasing large amounts of the hormone insulin.
Eventually, after this cycle is repeated over and over, a person can develop “insulin resistance,” a condition in which cells no longer respond to the normal action of the hormone, which controls
This results in lower metabolism, which leads to obesity.
The old food pyramid and the new food plate both overemphasize the importance of grains. I have treated many patients with diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity simply by having them avoid refined grains and sugar.
These patients need to ingest enough fat so that they are not perpetually hungry. And low-fat foods will not suffice.
If you need an analogy, think about how farmers fatten up their animals before they send them to market. They feed the animals grains, not fats.
Why? Because the animals will metabolize the grains quickly, become hungry again, and eat more. The constant hunger will stimulate high insulin levels and allow much of the carbohydrate to be stored as fat.
Low-fat foods also are often higher in sugars and carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain. They generally do not taste good nor do they contain the proper nutrition that the body needs.
I say avoid all low-fat foods.
Posts by David Brownstein, M.D.
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.