Are You On A Low-Fat Diet?
In the sea of diet trends, only one thing prevails - confusion! How do you choose which one is right for you? I have spent the last four years experimenting on myself with different diet trends and today want to bust some diet myths around one diet that you should NOT DO! Let's get you off that Low-Fat Diet!
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In the 1950s American scientists found a correlation between high cholesterol and high consumption of fats. Ancel Keys conducted the now famous seven countries study, where he looked at the relationship between lifestyle, diet and heart disease among people in different parts of the world. There was no actual proof that the fat in the food was causing these cholesterol problems; he just chose countries that supported his theory (instead of at random, which is the more scientific way of doing it). In 1961 he became the head of the American Heart Association and propagated his findings further through the government. That is how “low-fat” as a diet trend exploded! And along with that so did the waistlines of Americans.
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The truth is that fat makes food tasty! So when you remove fat from food products, all you are left with is tasteless cardboard. Now imagine the same tasteless toast with jam on it... yum! It is tasty again. Food companies dove into making things sweet and sugar was soon being added to almost all packaged food that were now being sold as “low-fat”. Americans gave up their beloved eggs for breakfast and replaced them with sugar-loaded cereal. Everything was low-fat - milk, mayonnaise, water (yes, fat-free water is really a thing)!
In India we gave up ghee and white butter (if it was good for Lord Krishna, it’s good for you too!) and replaced them with artificial vegetable oils and low fat butter alternatives like Nutralite, soya and safflower oil. These artificial foods are not understood by the body. Bestselling author of books such as Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006); Michael Pollan, calls these "low-fat" foods “edible food-like substances”.
The fact is that the right fats are good for you. Your brain is made up of fat, your cell membranes are made up of fat, your neurons are made up of fat and your body uses fat to heal. So, by going low-fat you are depriving your body of this essential nutrient. Fats keep you feeling full for longer, so you eat less. Sugar on the other hand does not satiate you. It is a chemical that is designed to create an addiction.
So from today, make a decision to stop eating low-fat! Do right by your body, and go back to the ghee, butter and coconut oil.
In his next column, Ashdin Doctor will discuss the truths and myths around the diet that proposes 6-8 small meals a day.