What do most people do when they want to lose weight and eat healthy – get rid of all fat from the diet and pick everything low fat and fat free! What we are unaware is that going “low fat and fat free” can actually make your health worse. For decades now, we have been made to believe that all “fats” are bad and can make you obese, raise cholesterol levels, lead to stroke and heart disease, and cause a lot of other disorders in the body, but in reality, “fat” has been made the villain through wrong research results. In fact, to lose weight and to lead a healthy life in general, you should consume the recommended intake of “good fat.” In this post, we will find out why low fat and fat free products are not good for weight loss. In fact, keto diet, which advocates low-carb-high-fat formula actually is based that a high-fat diet makes the body into a fat-burning machine where stored fat is used to fuel the body. Through research, it has been established that women who consumed low fat-yogurt had gained more weight in comparison with women who ate moderate amount of full-fat yogurt.
Why Low Fat and Fat-Free Products are not Great for Weight Loss:
1. When fat content is ripped from food, it usually makes it bland and tasteless. To appeal to the tastebuds of consumers, companies add stuff like heaps of sugar, refined carbs, salt, emulsifiers, and thickeners which add high amount of calories to the body. Such a tendency defeats the whole purpose where one is actually going “low fat” to lose weight.
2. Good fats help the body absorb essential vitamins which are all needed for good health and weight loss in general.
3. Fat is needed to help build cellular membranes and in the production of hormones. If there is an imbalance in hormones, disorders such as PCOD and hypothyroidism will make it much more difficult to lose weight.
4. Most food items that are marketed as “low fat” and “fat free” replace fat content with loads of carbs that when not used as energy, get stored as fat in the body, particularly, around the waist, resulting in belly fat. Therefore, excessive sugar and carbs are major contributors to obesity than healthy fats.
5. Consciously eating a low-fat diet also means you are not providing the body with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. When there is a deficiency of vitamins, particularly D and minerals like calcium, losing weight becomes much more difficult.
What Healthy Fats Do For The Body:
1. Helps body absorb crucial nutrients in the body.
2. Provides energy to the body.
3. Protects cells and tissue.
4. Keeps one full for longer.
5. Helps one lose weight.
Recommended Fat Intake Per Day:
1. American Heart Association recommends keeping good fat percentage to about 30% in your diet. This includes monosaturated, polysaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids.
2. In a 2000-calorie diet, 20 grams of saturated fat per day is recommended.
What Fats are Good:
Monosaturaed, polysaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids.
What Fats are Bad:
Saturated fats, trans fats and added sugars. Saturated, transfat increase LDl cholesterol which is bad for your heart and overall health.
Transfat is not Healthy Fat:
Transfat is artificially made from vegetable oils by a process called hydrogenation where hydrogen molecules are added to the oil. This is done to increase the shelf life of the oil, to solidy the oil, and make it more appetizing and suitable for frying. Also, transfat is an inexpensive way to add taste to the oil, but this process is extremely harmful to the human body due to the high proportion of LDL (bad cholesterol) which can wreak havoc in the body and puts one at the risk of developing morbid diseases like type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Transfat food is commonly found in fried food, packaged baked items, even margarine.
HDL/Good Cholesterol (High-Density Lipoprotein): HDL cholesterol lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke because it cleans and clears up extra cholesterol from the bloodstream and carry it to the liver, where it eventually gets disposed out of the body. This is precisely why HDL is considered “good cholesterol” and a good HDL level would protect you against heart attack and stroke. If the HDL levels are high, it’s extremely good for your heart and health.
LDL/Bad Cholesterol (Low-Density Lipoprotein): LDL cholesterol gets deposited within the walls of the blood vessels and obstruct the normal flow of blood through arteries. This narrowing of arteries raises one’s risk of developing heart attack and stroke. This is the reason why LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol. High LDL level is a threat to your health and medications and timely intervention is warranted in such a case.
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are made of three molecules of fatty acid and one glycerol molecule. High triglyceride levels can cause cardiovascular disease, pancreatitis, and even stroke. Vegetable oils, animal fat, and fatty foods can cause triglycerides to shoot up. High triglyceride levels also cause inflammation and high blood pressure.
VLDL/Very Low Density Lipoprotein: This lipoprotein is produced by the liver and released into the blood to supply body cells with fat or triglycerides. A high VLDL level results in thickening of the arteries with fat, obstructing normal flow of the blood.
Tips To Select Good Fats:
- Read labels – keep back anything which says low fat or fat free.
- Moderation is the key – consume no more than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.
- “Transfat” is absolutely bad, it does not come under “good fats.”
- Low-fat and fat-free products with artificial sweeteners like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup are absolute no-nos.
- Such products with refined carbs are also not recommended.
List of Food Items that Usually Go Low-Fat and Fat Free:
- Peanut butter
- Flavoured yogurt
- Ice cream
- Readymade desserts
- Cereal bars
- Protein bars