Low-fat products are the darlings of the processed food world. They have been center stage in conventional health recommendations for decades. Doctors, health “experts”, personal trainers, and dietitians alike have touted the benefits of eating low-fat and low-calorie foods.
These experts repeatedly warn us about fat and cholesterol being harmful for our health, and claim that eating these foods will contribute to weight gain, heart disease, stoke, high blood pressure, and cancer. But what we aren’t told is why fat is essential to health and how toxic many of these products really are.
In this article, I’ll explain why a majority of fat-free and low-fat foods sold in the store lack the health benefits the label claims make, and can actually cause health issues.
Here are some facts you may not know about low-fat foods:
- Many low-fat foods are highly processed and contain artificial ingredients which can lead to health problems including GMOs, additives, preservatives, rancid vegetable oils, soy-by-products, gluten, and others. Removing fat usually means sugar or artificial sweeteners, and other undesirable ingredients are added. Have you ever noticed ingredients you can’t pronounce or understand such as modified food starch, potassium sorbate, sodium citrate, or propylene glycol monoester? These kinds of ingredients may be found in food products and you’ll want to avoid them. Here’s an organic sour cream which includes a stabilizer derived from several sources, and synthetic Vitamin A.
- Even if the low-fat product comes from an organic source or animals on pasture, which would naturally be a rich source of critical nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2, Omega 3s, CLA, enzymes and cofactors, these elements are virtually non-existent in low-fat foods as the fat has been removed. Fat contains these important nutrients.
- Many low-fat foods are pasteurized. Pasteurization denatures fragile proteins and nutrients, rendering them difficult or impossible for our bodies to assimilate. Real nutrients and their naturally-occurring counterparts are essential for digestion and all aspects of health.
- Low-fat foods don’t aid in weight loss because they have been altered from their natural state. Remember those whole nutrients, co-factors, enzymes, and amino acids contained in full-fat foods? Those are necessary for metabolism and weight control. Your body won’t know what to do with these substances that don’t quite resemble food. Low-fat foods will contribute to weight and health issues much quicker than they’ll slim you down.
- Some products that don’t read “low-fat” on the front of the label reveal otherwise when you read the ingredients. Examples include dairy products such as milk, sour cream, and cheese. Check the information on these products note the inclusion of “fat-free”, “non-fat” and other skim or low-fat milk: Organic Valley Sour Cream, Annie’s Organic Classic Macaroni & Cheese, and Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt.
- 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:
- Eat real, traditional fats like butter, lard & tallow from healthy animals on pasture, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, and fermented cod liver oil.
- Choose 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, genetically-modified feed, or antibiotics.
- Look for meats and poultry from grass-fed animals, and leave the fat on. Fat from healthy animals on pasture contains the correct ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3s, enzymes and nutrients your body can recognize, absorb, and use for health. Organ meats, fat, bones, and skin are also recommended, as these contain even more nutrients necessary for health, and add flavor to the foods you prepare and eat.
Read more about why animal foods with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2 and cholesterol are so vital to overall health for cell membrane integrity, bone, liver and immune system health, are necessary for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids, heart and digestive health and more from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Health benefits of fats and fat-soluble vitamins:
- Foods with fat contain more nutrients than those without, particularly fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 which are necessary to absorb other nutrients in the foods you eat.
- Are essential for brain health
- Enhance our immune system performance
- Support 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.
Know Your Fats by Mary G. Enig, PhD.
The Great Cholesterol Con:- The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick