Happy Holidays to All!

Just a quick introductory side note about those Happy Holidays!

With the Holiday Season, of course, comes plenty of great food and ample opportunity to indulge!

In fact, this is the biggest “over-indulgence” week of the year and comes right on the heels of Thanksgiving week. So, If you’re trying to be good this year but don’t want to completely Scrooge out on Christmas, we have some great tips on holiday eating without gaining weight.

Now on to our Food Fact or Fiction Question of the Week!

Fact or Fiction? Eating Low Fat Foods Make You Lose Weight!

Everyday we are inundated with advertisements and advice on eating “Low-Fat” foods. We see them for sale all over the store and on most menus and the marketing message seems to imply "Eat Healthy and Lose Weight." Of course, this seems to be logical, because if you are eating a healthier food that has less fat in it and fat makes you...well, fat...then you need to stop eating so much fat – right?

This marketing message is both Fact and Fiction - 

Eating Low Fat Foods will not cause you to lose weight. Eating Low Fat Foods will cause you to have better cardiovascular health and of course, when your cardio health is good - that is a huge bonus to the rest of that thing we call the human body!

Having said that - the primary culprit when it comes to gaining or losing weight is calories and calories alone (hormonal or other medical issues aside of course). Although low fat foods are healthier and certainly recommended, they will not cause you to lose weight or reduce fat content in the body.

If you eat 3,000 calories a day of "low fat and other healthy foods" and your body only needs 2,000 calories per day to maintain your weight - you will usually gain weight at the rate of about a pound every 3 days or so.....if you do the same thing with fatty and other un-healthy foods, you will gain the same weight.

There is however, a vast difference in how you eat and gain weight when it comes to losing that weight and your overall health!

Healthier weight gain (meaning gaining weight from over-eating healthy foods, not that it is healthy to gain too much weight either way) is easier to reverse, in that your body is not being pumped full of toxic foods that wreak havoc on the digestive track, kidneys, heart, lungs and overall cardiovascular system. Foods high in fat, sugars and un-healthy carbs are devastating to your body and is a lot like putting cooking grease in your car engine vs. motor oil.

Low fat foods exist for a reason and most of us today have to make a dedicated effort to eat healthy. Eating too much fat has plenty of consequences of its’ own and can directly contribute to heart disease via a process called atherosclerosis. This in turn leads to heart attacks and stroke, which is a leading cause of death in the United States.

So there are still plenty of reasons to pay close attention to the kinds of calories you consume. The number of calories in versus calories burned always controls whether you gain or lose fat and weight – but the food you choose plays an even more important factor to your over-all health.

But, even so, when it comes to weight gain and loss, calories are the only game in town. Whether you’re eating potatoes, bacon, broccoli or a stick of butter – a calorie is a calorie. If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating, you will lose weight. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, the reverse will happen.

A Balanced, Nutrient-Rich Diet Is Key

Your body needs all of the nutrient groups. Carbohydrates, Protein, Vitamins, Sugar, Fiber, and yes, Fat. These are all important parts of your daily nutritional needs and should be balanced properly in order to achieve the best possible health. Our bodies are marvelous at performing feats of adaptability and are capable of running on a tremendous variety of fuels – but just as choosing the right fuel for your vehicle will contribute to its’ lifespan, choosing the right fuel for your body will improve your own.

What is the right amount of healthy fat intake? Well, most experts recommend that the average adult should include 25%-35% of their daily calorie intake from fat – so having some fat in your daily food intake is a good thing. The debate about eating saturated versus unsaturated fat continues to rage, and we’ll discuss that another time.

The final take away from this is - If you want to lose weight - reduce overall calorie intake and increase calorie burn. If you want to eat healthy and give your body the right fuels, reduce fat intake and eat the right mixture of healthy foods.

Verdict:

Eating low fat foods will in and of itself cause weight loss is in fact - Fiction.

 

References:

1. http://www.webmd.com/women/reducing-dietary-fat
2. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/takecontrolofyourweight/low-fat-foods
3. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx
4. http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/2002/102_fat.html