These days every second product, it seems, on the supermarket shelves totes the words “Fat Free”, “Low Fat”, “97% Fat Free” or something to this description. This is because it was thought years ago that fat made us fat and making low/no fat foods would solve our obesity problems. In fact, we are sicker and fatter now than we ever used to be.
These fat reduced foods are an issue. The creators of these products jumped on this “fat makes you fat” band wagon to sell product. They know that fat is what makes their food taste good but because the public are under the perception that fat is bad, they remove it. Without the fat, the food tastes horrible so companies are faced with another issue. To make the food edible, they replaced the fat with sugar. Sugar is cheap and readily available, the perfect thing to use to make food that would sell without breaking their banks. Sugars are consequently hidden in many processed foods like cereals, yoghurts, ice creams, sauces, canned foods… the list goes on and on.
Lauren Glucina from blog Ascension Kitchen has said that this rise in added sugars is perhaps the single biggest health trap we have fallen into, and with serious consequence.
Over my time researching health for my own personal knowledge, a common theme has been recurring. On almost every holistic health or nutrition site I have come across they all discuss fat as not being the enemy but the key to keeping us slim and healthy!
If fat does indeed make you fat, then why after eating low fat for years is diabetes at an all-time high, as reported by many major news outlets?
Last year the British Medical Journal published an article that counter argued that saturated fat is bad for you. It turns out that fat isn’t the enemy when it comes to heart disease and weight gain; the main culprit is in fact, sugar.
Why do you need fat?
Many of the vitamins that are essential for daily nutrients are fat soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed and worth anything to your body. This means they need to link arms with a fat molecule to be transported around the body. All of those great vitamin supplements you are taking or even just eh vitamins you are getting from the food you eat are pointless if you do not have enough fat to help them do their job. Too many vitamins and not enough fat means the vitamins just get flushed out as they are a substance that hasn’t been used by the body.
OK Emma, but you are not a nutritionist, so why should I listen to you?
Fair point, but I do research these things a lot before putting them on the blog (only with enough information behind it). I also follow these ways of living that I share with you myself.
As I said before it is a common theme across many of the blogs I frequently visit (see what blogs I frequent here).
But if you really need some qualified advice I have got your back. The ultimate guru in all things health and wellness is nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver. Dr Libby is a huge advocate for healthy fat and she says,
“Eating fat from whole foods is critical to every aspect of your health, including great energy, a happy mood, clear skin, your ability to be calm and to use body fat as a fuel. Fat is highly satiating, meaning it acts on the satiety centre of the brain, which can help people feel satisfied with smaller portions. Too many people battle sugar cravings and increasing the intake of good quality fat from real food can help your desire for sweet food fall away, something I have witnessed in thousands of clients. Some fats are also considered “essential” meaning that the body cannot synthesize them from other substances. Instead we must obtain these from the diet on a daily basis. Good food sources of fats include: avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, organic butter, nut butters, olives, and oily fish. Embrace more of these foods into your day and notice how they help you live your best life!”
There, I hope that made everything all the more credible for you skeptics.
If you are going to buy something in a packet, especially one that says “low-fat” check the nutrition label. What is replacing that fat to still keep the taste you like in the full fat version? Look at the sugar content on the packet, under 5g per 100g is considered low sugar. When comparing products always compare the per 100g column because servings sizes vary from product to product.
Even better than checking the label, making it at home. Yes, this does take more time but this way you can be sure of the ingredients and know it is a healthy choice without all the added nasties.
What are healthy fats?
When I am talking about fats, I do not mean go to McDonalds and get a Big Mac and a large fries because fat makes me skinny. These are unhealthy fats, served alongside unhealthy oils, refined carbs and HIDDEN SUGARS. It is the fats being paired with these unhealthy things that then make the product unhealthy. Examples of healthy fats are:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Full Fat Dairy – Make sure there are no additives, sugars and other nasties in it. Just pure dairy and a culture or two if it’s yoghurt otherwise the purpose is defeated.
- Nuts and Seeds
- Peanut Butter –the only ingredients should be peanuts!
Let it be known though that just because these foods are suddenly ‘healthy’ does not mean you can go ahead and eat masses of it. A small amount of healthy fats is what is needed. Although I would love to eat the whole dang tub of PB, I don’t because it is still high in calories (not that I count calories).
As always, everything in moderation but don’t feel guilty about eating fat, and definitely don’t eat low fat products. Check the labels because do you know what you are really eating?