For the past 30 years or so the Western world has seen a huge rise in the popularity of low fat foods. Yet, in the same time frame the Western world has also seen a huge rise in obesity rates. If we are all eating low fat diets why are we all getting fatter? There are several reasons why consuming foods labeled “no fat”, “reduced fat”, or “low fat” may be making you bigger.
Reduced fat foods don’t necessarily make you slim. Consider the following:
* You don’t feel as full or as satisfied after eating foods with a reduced fat content. Foods with a higher fat content leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer. The result? People who don’t eat lowered fat products tend to eat less in one meal, and then snack less. Their next main meal tends to be smaller as well.
* You actually end up eating more from perception. One of the most scary findings from dieting studies has shown that people eating lower fat foods can end up eating up to 28% more than they would have. The justification that it is lower in fat somehow seems to translate into it is OK to eat more. This can result in a calorie blowout of up to a staggering 40% for those who are already overweight and consuming larger portion sizes.
* High carb high calorie. There are many low fat items that are stuffed with high GI carbs, high calories, flavor enhancers, sugars and other baddies designed to make the food tastier. Low fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, low carb, or low calorie.
* Pastas, breads, candies, marshmallows, and sodas are all examples of low fat foods. However, none of these food items are necessarily nutritionally healthy and we can all see that consuming too much of any of them would result in an increase in our waistlines.
* Reduced fat foods are often less tasty than their regular fat cousins. For many this often results in eating more to get the same flavor kick or sense of satisfaction.
* Foods that are high GI foods can often be reduced fat. So instead of eating a regular yogurt because you are on a diet, you eat the no fat version, which is loaded with sugar to counteract the loss of taste with the removal of the fat. The lower fat content does not keep you feeling full for as long so you eat a snack sooner that you would have. The fact that it contains no fat means you probably ate more because you weren’t satisfied, and you also thought it was OK because it was labeled “Diet” or “No fat”. Your next meal will also be bigger than it would have been as you will be hungrier. So a false economy in all dietary means.
* 25% of calories in the diet should come from healthy fats.
* Trans fats and saturated oils such as animal fats and lard should be avoided.
* Deep fried foods are unhealthy and will make you fat.
* Healthy fats and oils should only ever be eaten sparingly.
Not all fats were created equal in the nutritional stakes. Fats that are healthy in small portions include:
* olive oil
* nuts and seeds (a small handful daily is sufficient).
* oily fish such as tuna or salmon.
Risks of not enough fat in the diet.
* Reduced immunity. People who consume insufficient fat long term end up with lowered immune systems. The reason? The cells in the body used to fight disease prefer fats as their fuels.
* Decreased absorption of the fat vitamins A, D, and K.
* Essential fatty acid depletion leading to eventual iron and zinc deficiencies, resulting in skin, hair and nail problems.
When selecting reduced fat foods it can be a great idea to check the label to ensure that they are also low in sugar. Low fat foods are not necessarily healthy, low calorie or low in sugars. People who consume foods labeled as low fat tend to consume more calories and snacks than those who don’t. Healthy fats, in small amounts, are essential for good health and immunity.