I still see low fat diet approaches roaming the internet and social media. The low fat, high starch diet was the focus of dietary advice during the 1990's. The USDA food pyramid instructed the public to lower fats and increase grains and starches.
Low fat diets were introduced to help prevent heart disease and be the cure all of successful weight loss. A growing body of evidence has been pointing to its insufficiency for weight loss or prevention of heart disease and several cancers.
There was a study that brings home my point that lasted for eight years and included almost 49,000 women. These women were between 50 and 79 years of age. Of these, 19,541 were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet. Their goal was to lower their fat intake from almost 38% of calories to 20%. They had a series of individual and group counseling session to aid them in their efforts. Another 29,294 women were randomly assigned to continue their usual diets. They were given generic diet related educational materials.
The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They showed no benefits for a low-fat diet. The women assigned to this eating strategy did not appear to gain protection against breast cancer, various cancers, or cardiovascular disease. After eight years their weights were generally the same as the women following their usual diets.
Fats are an essential nutrient and one of the primary energy sources for the body. They also play a big role in weight management, absorbing nutrients, maintaining healthy skin and hair, regulating body temperature, supporting immune function, insulating internal organs, and hormonal balance.
When it comes to dietary fat, what matters most is the type of fat you eat. Not all dietary fats are created equally and not all affect the body in the same way. Refined fats found in boxed foods and most restaurants use fats that make our foods taste delicious and we should be cautious before consuming them. Nothing is bad in moderation. If you have a choice, use natural fats which have beneficial life extending properties. When we miss out on fats in our diets, we can find ourselves feeling tired, moody, constantly hungry, unable to kick cravings and resentful over our restrictive diets.
Here is a short list of great dietary fats that provide good health benefits.
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Chia Seed
- Fish and Lean Beef