Tuesday, October 1, 2013

3 Reasons the Low-Fat Option is NOT Always the Best Choice

  1. Your brain needs fat. The working part of your brain is made from fatty acids. Your brain uses the fatty acids you digest to help move the macro nutrients it needs to function into the cells. It also helps to remove waste so that the cell won’t be bogged down by its own byproducts. The kind of fat the brain needs can be found in milk, olive oil, almonds, pecans, avocados and peanuts. So avoiding these foods because they’re high in fat can be counterproductive. 
  2. Many low-fat foods are full of sugar and fillers. When food manufacturers started to cater to the quick-forming popularity of low-fat diets, they did so by replacing the good fats with altered oils, processed sugar and other modified ingredients to improve the taste and texture so that we would buy them. We, the consumers, were trained to believe if the label says “low-fat” or “fat-free” it must be good for us or ok to eat. Neither is necessarily true. If a food is naturally fat-free, that’s one thing. But if it’s been altered to remove the fat but still taste good, beware!
  3. Fat is needed for your body to absorb certain vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins. Their ability to dissolve in fat is the reason they can be absorbed into the blood stream. Without the right amount (and right type) of fat in your diet, your body is unable to absorb all the vitamins from the food you eat.

This is not a free pass to eat high-fat food without regard to other factors like the type of fat it contains and the amount of sugar and artificial ingredients. 

Unsaturated fat is the best type of dietary fat you can consume and is found in food like nuts, avocado and fish. 

Saturated fat like that found in eggs, dairy and meat is necessary in your diet, but it’s easy to get too much, so a good rule of thumb is these should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. 

Trans fats are a big no-no. This is the type of fat found in processed food and junk food, commonly known as ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil’. This is a man-made ingredient used help the food have a longer shelf life, among other things. 

When choosing dairy, you're usually safe to consume the real, full-fat version in moderation. It's not wise to switch to low- or no-fat versions of this food just so you can have more of it for fewer calories. It's also not a good idea to make low-fat choices with everything you buy so that you can afford to eat more calories from other sources. The best choice is to stick with the real thing and consume moderate portions.

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