Thoughts on Better Aging

Busting the Myth of the Low Fat or No Fat Diet

September 24th, 2014

Don’t cut fats to lose weight and stay healthy, choose the right fats.

For many years, people have assumed that low fat or no fat diets were the ticket to maintaining a healthy weight, keeping cholesterol in check, and preventing health problems like heart disease. Now, science has taught us better, but this myth of the value of the low fat or no fat diet persists. Here’s what you really need to know about fat in your diet.

Low Fat Doesn’t Mean Healthy

Often, the first thing people do when they’re trying to lose weight is switch to low calorie versions of their favorite foods. Since fat is more calorie-dense than carbs or protein, it seems to make sense to cut fat to cut calories. Indeed, many low calorie foods are also advertised as low fat. However, switching to low fat foods won’t necessarily make those pounds melt off. First of all, low fat foods typically have lots of sugar and refined carbs. Secondly, fat is more filling, so by cutting all fats you may end up actually consuming more calories than before because you feel hungry.

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

When it comes to fat in your diet, the type of fat is actually more important than the amount. Good fats (unsaturated fats) help to protect your heart, keep skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and actually lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Bad fats (trans fats), on the other hand, can raise cholesterol, contribute to obesity, and put you at risk for whole host of health problems. One easy tip for telling the difference between good fats and bad fats is that good fats like olive oil tend to be liquid at room temperature, while bad fats like margarine are solid. When it comes to fats incorporated in other foods, check the label.

Change Your Diet Today

If you are unhappy with your weight or worried about your heart health, you can take steps right now to change your diet:

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet by giving up fast food and commercial baked goods
  • Avoid industrial seed oils high in omega 6s like palm oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil
  • Snack on foods high in good fats like nuts and olives

When making these changes, it’s very important to replace the bad fats you cut with good fats rather than with sugars or carbs that could bring their own health and weight issues. For example, replace trans fats like margarine with healthy fats like olive oil when cooking. Total fat intake should always make up between 20 and 35 percent of your diet. If you need help analyzing your diet and incorporating healthy fats, Renew Man™ has certified nutritionists ready and waiting to assist you.

 

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