Low fat diets became quite the craze in the 90's – low fat, reduced fat, fat-free – you name it, the markets sold it. This misconstrued information about low fat eating and our health actually began during the 1950's when Ancel Keys made some correlation between health and dietary fat in a few tribes around the world (1). There’s a lot to this information, so I’ll spare you the details for now.
With the marketing of low fat products like fat-free ice cream made with Olestra (the fat replacement that caused major digestive issues) and low fat Oreos (packed with other forms of sugar) since then, our intake of these processed foods has risen dramatically in the last few decades. More importantly, we've become nations who tend to struggle with weight loss, overeating, unruly cravings, relatable health issues, and even obesity.
Effects of unhealthy diets
1. Our metabolisms have been severely impaired by these 'frankenfoods' – our bodies don’t even recognize half of this stuff. It's said that if we would’ve stuck with whole foods and healthy fats, we wouldn’t be in this predicament (if only we didn't fall for the fad diets in the first place!). It makes you wonder that if we allowed our bodies to run as they were meant to, we wouldn’t have the health issues like heart disease and diabetes among others that are now associated with poor dietary and nutrition choices that go with fad diets.
2. Then, there is the low fat diet programs touted by different companies, clinics and doctors which become more about the money than our health. Sure, you can eat low fat (which becomes lower calories) and lose weight naturally, but our bodies will down-regulate to adjust to this type of intake. The lower the fat, the lower the calories, but the lower the metabolism! This is a temporary fix to lose weight fast and is definitely not long-lasting as you are not able to absorb all the nutrients your body needs to carry out all its metabolic processes – making you a snack monster with massive sugar cravings. And, with these programs, people often have to get 'back on' it over and over again.
3. With low fat diets, carbohydrates inevitably become very high. It's important to be aware of what kind of carbs you include in your diet so as not to chose the sugary kind that give you a boost of temporary energy and a high, as opposed to natural carbs that support your whole system. Junk carbohydrates are filled with synthetic ingredients and are just that – junk. The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. Carbs can also be turned into fat (stored energy) for later use. Most people unfortunately eat so many of the wrong kind of carbs, or refined carbohydrates, so make sure you do your research and go for natural, healthy, whole, carbohydrates.
List of healthy carbs for weight loss
• Brown rice
• Whole fruit
• Whole grains
How to get started with weight loss
What do we do then if we want to lose weight in a healthy and fast but long-term way? Simply, we need to re-balance our nutrient intake without looking for 'quick fixes' and unhealthy restrictive diets, and eat real, whole foods in proper proportions for optimum health. This way, we'll steer clear of the effects of unhealthy dieting that can affect your body and mind for that matter. If you think eating low fat diet will result in weight loss in the long run, think again. It will surely be temporary... and wake up that sugar monster inside of you again and again.
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