Low-fat food products are advertised as being the healthier option. Since fat is the most calorific of all the macronutrients – the others being protein and carbohydrates – less of it is seen as good. Additionally, since most of us are often trying to shift excess pockets of fat consuming more would surely add unwanted pounds. However, there’s lot of misinformation about the role of fat and it shouldn’t be avoided like it is.
Low-Fat Products Are Often High in Sugar
The low-fat products that are ever present on supermarket shelves may be tempting with their low-calorie promise, but they aren’t innocent of being poor nutritionally. Since fat contributes to flavour, the way to get an appealing taste with less fat has to change and the substitute is often sugar. Although sugar is lower in calories than fat – four calories per gram compared to nine – the effects of the excess sugar actually result in more unwanted fat on the body.
The reason sugar produces more subcutaneous fat (that’s visible fat) is because it consists of carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our bodies any excess carbohydrates that aren’t needed immediately are stored as subcutaneous fat. Since sugar has addictive properties this can cause a spiral effect when it comes to weight gain.
Don’t Be Afraid of Fat
Since eating fat doesn’t equal becoming fat you don’t need to spend all your time avoiding it. In fact, there are many healthy foods like; avocados, nuts, oily fish, olive oil, and more that are very nutritious while still being high in fat. The fat in these foods helps the body run as it should. For example, vitamins A, D, and E are only fat soluble, meaning the fatty acids in food need to be consumed to absorb them as our body does not produce those acids by itself.
There is also some confusion about the drawbacks of different types of fat. There are three main types of fat; saturated, unsaturated, and trans. Saturated fat and trans fat are often the two that are warned against the most, this is due to the fact they can raise cholesterol levels and their presence in processed foods. Although these fats aren’t as nutritionally beneficial as unsaturated fats they still perform the same task, however, moderation is important with these types.
Moderation is Key
Before you go off and gorge yourself with fatty foods it’s important to not that the old adage of ‘everything in moderation’ still applies. Although fat holds many benefits and is not the direct cause of getting soft around the edges, it should still be part of balanced diet. Regardless of nutrition, eating more calories than you need will cause weight gain, whether this is fat, carbohydrates, or protein. None should be completely avoided, just as none should dominate your diet.
It’s also important not to become obsessive over what you’re eating. Making sensible, nutritional choices is never bad, but always worrying about every gram you eat – low-fat or otherwise – can be just as damaging as eating poorly. Relaxing and having the odd treat on the weekend can be part of a balanced diet as long as you don’t go overboard.