Fats Don’t Make You Fat

Will the “low fat diet” go the way of the big bull?

Has the “low fat diet” heresy finally been put away — for good?

Probably not. It’s been a staple of medical wisdom for a few
decades now.

Doctors have been telling their overweight patients and patients
with heart problems to follow a low fat diet.

Problem is, during this time the number of people who develop heart
disease or who are overweight has continued to accelerate, even
while following this low fat “wisdom”.

Over the past 5 years or so, a body of research has developed based
on results from long-term studies on low fat diets. These studies
have found that men or women on low fat diets have the same risk
for heart disease and certain cancers as men or women who eat a
diet with normal levels of fat.

They also average the same in terms of weight, weight loss or
weight gain.

This means that the low fat diet does not deliver on its highly
touted health benefits. And it’s not that effective in helping
with weight loss, either.

The problem with the low fat diet is that it goes against humans’
natural nutritional requirements. We NEED fats in our diet. It’s
the way we are built.

I discuss this in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program in the
section on nutritional recommendations. My rational
approach to nutrition is an important part of the program.

So many of us have tried to live by the “fat is bad” mantra, yet
have not achieved the results we expected in terms our ideal weight
or body composition.

This is because of how we are wired. If you follow a low fat diet
for any length of time, your body will naturally crave something to
make up for the part of the diet it’s missing. Most people
fill this craving by adding extra carbohydrates into their diet.

This wouldn’t be so bad if they were adding extra quantities of
fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately, the added carbs tend to be of the highly refined
variety, as in additional portions of white flour products and
“low fat” packaged foods.

Yes, the packaged foods industry jumped on the low fat bandwagon
years ago. They have reduced the fat in many of their most popular
foods, such as cookies and chips. But….

Here’s what they don’t tell you: they add other ingredients, such
as extra sugar (and its derivatives), salt, and so forth, to help
make the flavor and consistency of their packaged products as close
to the “real thing” as possible. Without the fat, these types of
foods just don’t satisfy as well.

Plus, the added sugars and carbs tend to make you want to eat even
more of them. You end up eating twice as much of the low fat version
as you would of the real thing. Bad for us consumers…but great
for the packaged food industry!

Now, does this mean carte blanche on dietary fat, and it’s OK to
eat a bacon cheeseburger and french fries every day?

Of course not.

The fats you should be eating more of are the healthy fats: animal
fats from (preferably) organic or grass fed products, including
dairy and eggs. And omega 3 fatty acids such as those contained in
fish and fish oil supplements, as well as flax seed and certain
vegetable oils.

You should probably reduce the amount of saturated fats, such as
fat from red meat, in your diet. But don’t eliminate them! You need
saturated fats too! However, you SHOULD try to completely eliminate
trans fats.

Become good at reading labels so you understand the fat, sugar,
and carbohydrate content in your favorite packaged foods. When in
doubt, opt for those choices that offer more “real” ingredients and 
less sugar and carbs.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how consuming more health fats can
benefit your lungs, breathing ability, and stamina.

You Can Do It!


P.S. Learn more about how diet can help you reach your ideal weight,
as well as achieve more consistent energy levels and better health,
with the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. Eliminate all the “diet”
guesswork and confusion that may be holding you back. Due to
popular demand, I am carrying over the January special on this
program into February. You still have time! Get your copy today!
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

5 thoughts on “Fats Don’t Make You Fat

    • Hi Testing,

      Thanks so much for your message. I’m very glad you find the tips to be informative and I hope other tips and information prove helpful as well. Good luck on your weight loss “project” — I too have been taking off a few L-B’s so I am with you all the way!!

      Warm regards,

  • The Great Fat Debate is something that many nutrition professionals are glad to see growing. Conventional wisdom, or at least in the way it’s been portrayed in the “low-fat diet” craze, just doesn’t do justice to the real need for (and benefit to) incorporating nutrient-rich foods in your diet… even if those foods are sources of fats. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Cabot Creamery Cooperative

    • Hi Regan,
      Thanks for your post. It’s great to hear from a nutrition professional. I agree, we got so carried away about so-called “evil” fats and the (then) conventional wisdom that you can only lose weight with a low fat diet. But most people don’t last long on a low-fat diet, because it is not sufficiently satisfying. We are wired to have fat in our diet. Making healthy choices, meaning plenty of nutrient-dense foods, is more important than specific percentages of macro-nutrients in the diet.


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