A well known diet product makes the following claim:
“The whole world has gone “low fat” crazy -- and most people think that if they just begin eating low fat foods then their bodies will have less fat too. Sounds logical right? Wrong. You see, the problem with this type of thinking is that there is no “direct” relationship between fat calories eaten and fat tissue on a person’s body. The truth is that your body can convert ANY type of calorie to fat tissue, not just fat calories.”
To say the whole world has gone “low fat” crazy is simply not supported by the facts. During the 20th century the amount of fat consumed in our diet almost doubled from 20% of our diet to about 35%. In addition each gram of fat contains 9 calories compared to 4 calories in each gram of both carbohydrate and protein. So to state that there is no “direct relationship is pure nonsense.
For example ask yourself. Are you better off eating 100 grams of fat, or 100 grams of protein? Of course from a calorie point of view it’s the latter with the fat providing a whopping 220% more!
The next key issue regarding a low fat diet is the health benefits of reducing the fat levels in your diet. Fats are a subgroup of compounds called lipids which includes fats, oils and cholesterol. The usual distinguishing factor is if the lipid is solid at room temperature it’s a fat and if it’s liquid it’s an oil. Whereas fats and oils are found in both plant and animals, cholesterol only comes from animal products.
Cholesterol is an essential component in making cell membranes, vitamin D and hormones and has an important role in emulsifying fat in the digestion process. The way fats and cholesterol are transported around your body is through a combination of lipids and proteins called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins fall into two categories – low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL cholesterol carries most of the cholesterol in your body and is known as the bad cholesterol because it sticks to the walls of your arteries. This can lead to narrowing and eventual blockage and the result can be heart attack, stroke or other nasties. HDL is the good stuff because it picks up cholesterol from cells as it moves around the body.
The biggest factor affecting how much cholesterol you have in your body is your weight and in particular how much excess you’re carrying. Saturated fats in your diet are the chief contributor to your LDL cholesterol level.
Why do people want to lose weight?
Simply because it’s now well recognized that obese people are much more likely to suffer from chronic disease. These include heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes among other. Is a low fat diet effective in reducing weight and combating chronic disease? This question was answered emphatically years ago!
In his book “The Low Fat Way to Health and Longer Life”,(1958) by Lester M. Morrison M.D. he addresses the impact of a low-fat diet on atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. He presents numerous examples including controlled studies of how a low-fat diet improved the life of many of his and his fellow Doctors’ patients.