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The Low Fat Food Conundrum

We’ve been told to avoid fat and consume low fat foods to shift extra kilos for a very long time but what if it’s all a bit of con?

Noooo, it couldn’t be?

Could it?

Research is indicating some of the low fat over myths may be some of the biggest health “con’s” of our lifetime. Scary to think just based on a few Drs and researcher’s we’ve basically shifted our whole way of thinking when it comes to our food. I mean, did it really make any sense to consume less whole food and eat low fat, diet food? I guess it did back then.

Additional reading:
Saturated fat heart disease myth
New study puts final nail in the saturated fat causes heart disease coffin

I was a child of the 80’s, so I grew up with this message hammered into me because it  was being hammered into my parents by the media. Our cupboards were full of convenience low fat “healthy” foods. Yes, there were fruits, veggies and fresh stuff too but kids love boxes. They just do. It must also be noted that even with loads of sport as a adolescent, I was a fatty! Yep, I struggled terribly with what my mum called “Puppy Fat”. It wasn’t puppy fat though (I’m clearly not a dog). I was just plain fat. I was becoming fat from the shitty diet foods I was consuming.  I was eating containers of low fat yoghurt probably with enough sugar to fuel a swimming team. I was eating it by the tub too. A kilo tub! I clearly wasn’t receiving enough nutrition from these so called foods and I was overeating in a desperate attempt to nourish myself. By no means is this a cry for help, a blame game towards my parents nor do I want the violins to come out for my poor deprived childhood. Not at all. We were wealthy, we are well off. We had everything you could have imagined as children. Not spoilt, well maybe a little. We never went hungry, we only knew a fully stocked fridge. My parents did what most average Aussies did, they followed the guidelines set out by government and they trusted it was the right thing to do. We didn’t have junk food in the house or what was deemed as junk food, we always sat down as a family to eat meals and we always got a packed lunch everyday for school. So where did it get so bad?

Government + Dr’s + Food guidelines + Food manufacturers = $$$$$$

The sneaky ways big companies (cereal/yoghurt/dairy etc) market their foods to parents (or the people that buy them). HEALTHY, WHOLEGRAIN, PACKED FULL OF GOODNESS, LOW FAT, HEART FOUNDATION TICK APPROVED, WHAT GROWING BODIES NEED and on and on.

Is the answer to boycott supermarkets and grow your own- well of course that would be ideal but that seems a little difficult in today’s society, considering the cost of living and the real estate market. Most of us live in apartments or smaller than average quarters, so a fruit and veggie patch is something of a pipe dream. What we can do though is educate ourselves and experiment with ways to feed ourselves better. Below are a few common myths that we’ve been told numerous times by our governing health bodies:

1. Swap your butter for margarine,

2. Avoid too many eggs

 3. Only drink low fat milk

4. Saturated fat will lead to a heart attack

5. Eat as much low fat food as humanly possible

What we know now:

1. Butter is better for you than a processed, hydrogenated fat such as margarine. Avocados make a great plant based spread.

2. Eggs are fine to consume on a daily basis. Aim for a free range, good quality egg.

3. Full fat milk is a whole food source. If you don’t tolerate dairy well nut milk: coconut milk, almond milk or completely nut free is oat milk.

4. Saturated fat doesn’t lead to heart as once thought. Seem’s that sugar may be the culprit. Makes sense right- take out the fat from our food and jack it with sugar. Volia! Cheap addictive food. Avoid added sugars and opt for naturally occurring (like in fruit) but remember to keep it in moderation. 1-2 pieces a day is fine, not 4 or 5

5. Eat whole food from whole food sources. Reduce the amount of food you consume from packages and boxes. Eat intuitively and watch the body respond.

I’ve personally followed all the above 5 “What we know now” guidelines and I couldn’t feel any better. My advice? Try it for yourself, don’t be told by a governing body what you should do, research and educate yourself. If you look and feel better surely that’s a good indication it’s good for you.

How have you ditched the low fat food? Why did you do it?

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