THE PROS AND CONS: LOW FAT DIETS

THE PROS AND CONS: LOW FAT DIETS

Traditionally one of the most common diets in the industry is the low-fat diet. But is it really the best way to lose weight? While the low-fat diet has been recommended for years as the best weight-loss method, it’s actually based on flawed science. Fat is essential for healthy brain and body development. It’s important to know that there are different types of fat and what they are. Fat comes in three forms- unsaturated fat, saturated fat and trans fat. Unsaturated fats include fat from olive and vegetable oils, nuts, avocados and fish. Saturated and trans fats are in butter, lard, cream, shortening, margarine, partially hydrogenated oils, coconut and palm oil, chicken skin and fat from meat. Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated and trans fats because they can help prevent heart disease. Therefore, getting the right amount of fat is essential to remain healthy overall. Be sure to focus on limiting or eliminating the amount of saturated fats you consume when considering a low-fat diet.

Here are some pros and cons to maintaining a low-fat diet:

Pros

  • Many food choices available in most grocery stores and markets make it an easy option
  • A low-fat diet supports a steady weight and can prevent weight gain because it is lower in calories than a high-fat diet
  • A low-fat diet not only reduces the risk of heart disease but also actually protects the body because naturally low-fat foods tend to be high in vitamins

Cons

  • It has pushed us into eating more carbs and sugar to replace the fats we aren’t consuming – which leads to other health problems
  • The low-fat food choices available on the market tend to be highly processed, and are often high in sugar and additives.
  • Eating a diet too low in fat can interfere with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Because these nutrients are fat-soluble, your body needs dietary fat to utilize them.
  • A diet that’s too low in fat—especially essential fatty acids, which your body can only get from food—might hurt your mental health because fat is essential for healthy brain development.

LOW CARB DIETS

These diets have become very popular in recent years as a backlash to the low-fat diet. While it can be very beneficial if done properly, cutting out certain carbs can mean cutting out one of our major sources of energy. It’s recommended that 50% of our energy comes from carbs.

Pros

  • Cutting out carbs can be good for weight loss if you cut out the high-sugar, high-fat, and processed products that go hand in hand with certain carbs (i.e. butter and jam with bread, creamy sauces with pasta, and sugar that goes with cakes and biscuits).

Cons

  • Good carbs help keep you full and add fiber, which is essential to help keep us healthy.
  • Cutting out carbs means you’re probably not getting enough fiber, as they both tend to be found in the same foods.

So, what’s the bottom line? 

Studies show that in the long run, no specific diet works any better than another because it’s usually done as a quick fix.  No diet will work if you struggle to make it fit in with your lifestyle, permanently denying yourself food that you love and if it totally excludes a particular food group.

What should you do? 

Throw out the ‘fat-free’ diet food and eat healthy fats in moderation, lower your intake of carbs and ensure you eat wholegrain & non-processed foods, and stick to eating fresh and whole foods. Try to stick to the 80/20 rule, which allows for indulgences when you need them without falling completely off the wagon.


Special guest article by @AkiaTheTrainer

To contact Akia, visit her website at AkiaTheTrainer.com

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