Foods that have been manufactured to be ‘low fat’ or have had a lot of fat removed are not automatically healthier.
Fat makes food palatable and filling – the reasons why it has traditionally been so prized in cooking. If you take away the fat that naturally occurs in many foods, such as yoghurt, you need to add other things to make the ‘low fat’ product palatable and filling.
Usually these ‘other things’ are large quantities of sugar or other highly refined carbohydrates, together with all sorts of additives to give you a ‘full’ feeling.
Sugar is arguably worse than fat. A high sugar intake causes spikes in blood sugar levels which cause the body to store more calories as fat. So a ‘low fat’ diet could result in you getting fatter!
Moreover, these spikes in blood sugar are followed by crashes, leaving you feeling tired and hungry again, not long after you’ve eaten. So you could be more tempted to snack or overeat as a result of having a ‘low fat’ food.
In the long run, you are better off eating a modest portion of the full fat version, such as full fat natural yoghurt rather than ‘low fat’ yoghurt. This prevents the blood sugar spike that will send you into that eat-crash cycle of snacking, and makes you feel fuller.
An additional benefit is that good sources of fat, such as meat and dairy products, are also good sources of protein. Eating more protein is a great way to feel fuller for longer and prevent sugary snacking.
Fat is absolutely essential for a healthy body. Fat is a source of energy, helps the body to absorb nutrients, and contributes to brain, cardiovascular and immune system function.
The secret is to consume fat in moderation, not try to avoid it altogether. Focus on eating natural, unprocessed foods in nutritious meals – this will give you a moderate amount of fat together with all the other nutrients you need.
But avoid the highly processed food products that have come out of a packet. They are likely to be full of all sorts of rubbish, including lots of fats and sugars – no matter what they claim on the packet.
So don’t fear fat if you want to lose weight!