When you hear the word fat, what do you think? For many people they might think, “It makes you fat!” “Fat is bad!” “My mom always bought non-fat because she was trying to lose weight…now I’m afraid of it!” But how accurate are these beliefs? Let’s talk a little bit about how fat can actually help you lose weight and become a healthier person!
In 1977 the low-fat diet was recommended to all Americans. The food industry reacted by changing the ingredients in their foods to contain less fat. The problem was that by removing fat you also removed flavor and mouth feel, so food manufacturers added in sugars to help fill that void. Interestingly enough, as fat was demonized and sugar was its replacement, the obesity epidemic began in the US. Keep in mind that correlation is not causation, however, researchers are continuing to look at the physiological, metabolic, and biochemical effects that increased sugar consumption has on our bodies and our minds. In addition to this, there is also continued research looking at fat intake and how it might not be harmful in the ways it was once thought.
Researchers have put this fat versus carbohydrate theory to the test in study after study. Conclusions continue to show that a low-fat diet does not cause weight gain and actually has zero long-term negative effects on cardiovascular health. In addition to this surprising fact, studies actually support a moderate/high fat-low carb diet for weight loss with the added benefit of decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
So what might this look like for you and your quest to improve your health? Instead of saying no to fat, incorporate a healthy variety of them along with protein and healthy carbohydrate sources—such as those in vegetables—throughout the day. To get ideas about your individual needs, healthy fat sources, and ways to incorporate these into your daily routine, schedule an appointment with our nutritionists today!
Written by Brooke Brandeberry, MS, CN, LMHCA