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Deceptions in the Food Industry: Low-Fat Foods

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In this new series, I’m going to show you the fallacies of processed foods, and the claims made on the labels of many foods you will find in the grocery store.

One by one, I’ll go through various types of packaged foods you may recognize and eat, and may even be under the false assumption that these foods have worthwhile health benefits.

In this post, I’ll talk about one of the darlings of the processed food world: low-fat foods. These foods are the craze of the mainstream health community. For decades, doctors, health “experts”, personal trainers, and dietitians have touted the benefits of eating low-fat and low-calorie foods.

Experts repeatedly warn us about fat and cholesterol being bad for our health and that these foods will contribute to weight gain, heart disease, stoke, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Here are some things you may not know about low-fat foods:

  • Most low-fat foods are highly processed and full of chemicals and other artificial ingredients which contribute to health problems, including GMOs, additives, preservatives, modern, rancid vegetable oils, soy-by-products, gluten, and others
  • Removing fat always means adding sugar
  • These foods don’t help you lose weight because they have been altered from their original state found in nature, and no longer have co-factors, enzymes, and amino acids necessary for digestion. Your body won’t know what to do with these substances that don’t quite resemble food. They’ll make you fat much quicker than they’ll slim you down
  • Some foods that don’t say low-fat on the front of the label reveal otherwise when you read the ingredients. A good example are many dairy products such as milk, sour cream, and cheese. Check labels of many dairy products in the grocery store and you’ll see this to be true. Check the information on these foods (some are organic) and notice the inclusion of fat-free, non-fat and other skim or low-fat ingredients
  • Some of the so-called “heart healthy” foods on the market contain polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and others which are unstable when heated and are often already rancid on the shelf. Did you know that “75% of arterial plaque is made up of unsaturated fat, of which 50% is polyunsaturated”? According to Chris Kresser, only 25% is saturated! “The greater the concentration of polyunsaturated fat in the plaque, the more likely it is to rupture. Such ruptures, and the ensuing blood clots that form, are a primary cause of heart attacks.” Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are also high in Omega 6s which contribute to inflammation.

Instead of low-fat, non-fat, and fat-free foods, eat real foods that contain critical fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 for health:

  • Plenty of real, healthy fats like butter, lard & tallow from healthy animals on pasture, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, and fermented cod liver oil
  • Dairy products that are preferably raw, and whole-fat like milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and cream cheese from healthy cows on pasture without preservatives, additives, hormones, or antibiotics
  • Meats and poultry from grass-fed animals, and don’t trim the fat off. Meat from grassfed animals has 2 to 4 times more Omega 3 essential fatty acids than its conventional counterparts (grain-fed meat). Fat from healthy animals on pasture contains the correct ratios of enzymes and nutrients your body can recognize, absorb, and use for health

Health benefits of fats and fat-soluble vitamins:

  • Foods with fat contain more nutrients than those without, and especially fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which are necessary to absorb other nutrients in the foods you eat.
  • Essential for brain health
  • Enhances our immune system performance
  • Supports eyes and moistens mucous membranes and skin
  • Are critical to cell and skin health
  • Strengthen our digestive tract and protect against harmful microorganisms found there
  • Provide an easily absorbed source of energy for the body, which will keep you full longer and provide the staying power to keep you going
  • Are essential to nervous system, brain, and cardiovascular function
  • Vital to blood, pancreas, and bone-building and maintenance. Vitamin K deficiency has been linked to diabetes and other auto-immune disorders

Dr. Weston A. Price who studied traditional diets of people living all over the world discovered that all populations who ate animal fats and animal products containing fat and cholesterol had superior health and were largely free from disease and illness. Ditch toxic, processed foods and eat foods containing healthy fat with abandon and watch your health soar!

Suggested reading:

Know Your FatsMary G. Enig, PhD.

The Great Cholesterol Con:- The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid ItDr. Malcolm Kendrick

More information:

Does dietary fat increase blood cholesterol? An informal review of observational studies – Whole Health Source, Stephan Guyenet

The definitive guide to saturated fat – Mark’s Daily Apple

Don’t be a calorie counter – eat fat and lose weight!

Fat-free, low-fat, and non-fat do not equal health

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday Carnival.

Healthy Living Real Food

Fat Free, Low-Fat, And Non-Fat Do Not Equal Health

Consumers, read your labels! I just heard yet another story about people in an office telling each other a package of Red Vines was fine to eat because the label read, “fat-free”. Just read the nutritional information on any package that says “low-fat”, “fat free”, or “non-fat” and you will likely find that the amount of carbohydrates in the product is sky high.

For instance, Red Vines contains 35 grams of carbohydrates per 4 pieces.  Just imagine what your body would be subjected to if you ate more than that.

Different people have different caloric intake needs – depending on how active you are. According to WikiAnswers, “if you are eating 2,500 calories a day, the recommended daily intake is at least 313 grams of carbohydrate. If your daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories eat at least 250 grams of carbohydrate per day. 1,500 calories a day equals to 188 grams of carbohydrates per day.” But don’t be fooled. Where health is concerned, carbohydrates means the natural kind, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole, sprouted grains – not the processed, package garbage sold in most grocery stores (and many natural food stores). If all the carbs you eat come from junk, you will soon be on your way to a myriad of lifelong health issues like heart disease, Diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Fats and carbohydrates are both important sources of calories. One reason why you might feel like you can eat a whole box of crackers, for example, is the fact that crackers do not truly satisfy your hunger. This is because all the fat calories have been replaced with carbohydrates. So you eat and eat and eat more carbs, until your body has no choice but to gain massive amounts of weight. Your body is still starving and your hunger levels are not abated.

When you are dealing with excesses, you can encounter tremendous problems. This is true with overloading your body with carbs. Too many of the wrong types of carbs will cause a failure in your digestive processes on many levels, which leads to other problems in the body including the heart, nervous system, and elimination systems (kidneys and other detoxification systems).

The opposite can occur as a deficiency in the elements and nutrients your body needs to be healthy, such as fats. Fats are critical in so many parts of health – skin, eyes, hair, cardiovascular, nervous system, digestion, and feeling full. The bottom line here is that anything which isn’t a whole food is going to be unhealthy for consumption.

Ask yourself, when you are purchasing fat free, low-fat, and non-fat products…are these foods a whole food? If the answer is no, putting the product back on the shelf should be all that much easier to do.

A good example of an unhealthy, fat-free or low-fat food is low-fat milk or non-fat yogurt. These products are not healthier because the fat has been lowered. In fact, the dairy product is unhealthier because it has been changed from the natural, whole-fat food it originally was. The body cannot properly absorb calcium, protein, or fats from a dairy product that has been made low or non-fat because all the proper digestive enzymes and other important substances in a whole-fat food are no longer present to aid the digestive system in absorbing the nutrients. Low-fat and non-fat dairy products, when consumed, will effectively leech calcium from the bone. Disrupting the natural molecular content of calcium, fat, and protein in meat and dairy products by artificially making these foods low-fat will consistently cause health problems to occur such as weight gain, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

One problem in our society lies with the fact that if people have to take time to prepare something, they are less likely to “have enough time” or become motivated to restructure their day to enable the needed time for cooking and preparing foods. The more convenience foods we eat, the more our health declines. If we take time to grow and purchase healthy organic foods and make meals from scratch, we are going to see an amazing difference for the good in the way we feel, look, and live.

So stop counting calories! If you are purchasing processed food, it doesn’t matter how few calories it contains. It will create adverse health conditions for anyone who regularly consumes it. Everyone needs the right amount (depending on your health, level of activity, etc. ) of healthy, unadulterated calories from natural, whole, organic foods. Until the public realizes this fact, we will continue to see monumental amounts of chronic disease and obesity amongst the population.

For more information on eating healthy fats and avoiding bad carbohydrates, visit Food and Healing.

The New York Times has a good article supported by a medical doctor and a nutritionist about the dangers of low-fat diets.

Learn more about the important role real fats play in health:

The Importance of Dietary Fats