WHAT IS WRONG WITH EATING LOW FAT?
Could you be damaging your health by eating low-fat? By making a few adjustments to your diet, you could significantly improve your long-term health and weight loss success.
The reason low-fat diets became so popular in the first place is that fat has the highest number of calories per gram compared to protein and carbs. Fat has 9-calories per gram whereas protein and carbs have only 4. By removing a lot of fat from the diet, you could potentially decrease a lot of calories. In theory, this is an easy way to cut calories but does come with risks.
LOW-FAT DIETS AND OUR HEALTH
An eight-year study of nearly 49,000 women (WHI Dietary Modification Trial) determined that low-fat diets did not improve breast cancer, heart disease, colorectal cancer, or weight loss. Another study done in 2015 in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal determined that low-fat diets are not effective for long-term weight loss.
Low-fat diets may even increase your LDL (your bad cholesterol), lower your HDL (good cholesterol), and increase triglycerides. A high LDL isn’t necessarily unhealthy, it depends on the particle sizes. The smaller the LDL particles, the more harmful they can be. Switching to a low-fat diet can convert the large LDL particles to a smaller size. I believe we need more studies on this topic, but it is something to consider.
WHY WE NEED FAT IN OUR DIET
Our bodies need a sufficient amount of fat to be healthy. Here are some reasons.
- Mental health: Low-fat diets can put you at risk for depression.
- Vitamin Deficiencies: Vitamin A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble. The body requires fat to store these vitamins and are essential for your skin, bones, cardiovascular, and body health.
- Omega-3: This nutrient is important for our health and has many health benefits as well as other healthy forms of fat.
- It is an important energy source for the body.
- Regulates body temperature.
- Hormonal balance
MY PERSONAL TAKE ON IT
I believe that low-fat diets can be useful for the short-term but making sure to not drop your fat levels below at least 20% of your calorie intake. Remember, I said short-term. The American Heart Association recommends keeping fat levels at around 30% which is also similar to a typical Mediterranean diet which is common in countries with higher life expectancy.
However, I try not to promote specific macronutrient levels. I believe they are unnecessary for most of us and take too much work to do. If something takes a lot of work and not enjoyable, you’re not going to want to do this for the long-term. Also, fat makes our food taste good and helps us feel satisfied. Otherwise, we may overeat and have more cravings. This scenario is not ideal for weight loss.
Instead, I promote focusing on healthier choices at least 80% of the time. Just ensure you have a small portion of healthy fat at each meal. Though, not too much either.
GOOD SOURCES OF FAT
- Coconut Oil
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Nuts and Seeds
- Grass-fed butter/Ghee
- Dark Chocolate. Woo Hoo!!!
What is your fat intake like? Have you tried a low-fat diet and noticed any negative symptoms? I’m curious to hear your experience. Share in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook. It would mean a lot to me.
SPAIN’S MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Here is an article I wrote about Spain and their Mediterranean diet. Spain is projected to have the highest life expectancy than any other country by 2040 so we can learn something from them.