The Fat Free Phenomenon
One of the biggest mistakes in the history of nutrition is the war on saturated fat.
Since the late 1980s, as people have reduced their fat intake (particularly saturated fat), many chronic diseases have gone up.
We are now experiencing an epidemic…
There are more cases of diet related diseases than ever before
- Type 2 Diabetes
- heart disease
- some cancers
- early onset dementia etc.
Despite this trend, many health authorities are still pushing the ‘fat free’ phenomenon.
Weight is not the only consideration
Yes, I do agree that if one eats too much fat, there is a risk of gaining weight and therefore an increased risk of developing chronic disease. BUT if we completely eliminate all fat from our diet, then carbohydrate (especially sugar) and sodium intake increases.
It doesn’t matter what health goal you want to achieve, be it weight loss, Diabetes management, heart health, increased energy, it comes down to 2 basic dietary principles that history shows us.
Consider the French diet
If we look at the traditional French diet (higher in saturated fat and less carbohydrate), there are lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
It is often called a ‘paradox’ but in actual fact, it is actually the solution.
Quality foods in the right quantities are why the French tend to live longer and lead better quality lives.
Real cheese, real bread, seasonal vegetables/salad and small portions of protein is the basis of a traditional French diet.
Serve this with antioxidant rich red wine and you have the recipe to good health!
Moderation is the key….not too much of anything and a bit of everything!
Fat free is as bad as diet drinks
To me reduced/fat free products are just as bad as diet drinks.
Rather than enjoying a small amount of ‘the real thing’, we opt for ways to reduce the calories so we can consume more volume. Well, we are not saving on the amount of carbohydrates and sodium, that’s for sure!
Let’s look at cheese….each week I choose a type of cheese from a different region in France and enjoy a small portion each day.
I actually compared the nutritional value of a traditional French cheese to a ‘very light’ cheddar. 100g of ‘very light’ cheddar cheese has more calories, sodium and carbohydrate than 100g of Épossies de Bourgogne cheese. I cannot tell you how many times my clients opt for ‘cardboard’ cheese thinking it is healthier!
So the next time you reach out for reduced fat cheese, manufactured sliced bread, fat free crackers, low fat yoghurts, think about whether it is really doing you any benefit.
Enjoying small portions of ‘real’ foods makes more sense to me and so does the science!
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