A comprehensive report on the low-fat diet and guidelines was first published in 1977. According to those facts, many health organizations have taken the view that dietary fats are a primary cause for most health problems such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Until recently, the medical community widely accepted these guidelines, but the latest research has raised some issues about their validity. However, most of the health organizations have not yet to take a different stand in this regard or come to a definitive conclusion.
Are low-fat diets genuinely effective in improving your health? This article is about that.
A brief introduction to the three major fat groups
Saturated fats saturated with hydrogen molecules and have only single bonds between carbon molecules. They are generally solid at room temperature. Many health experts believe that over-consumption of these saturated fats is unhealthy.
Foods containing saturated fats.
- beef, lamb, and pork (fatty cuts)
- poultry (with skin)
- high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese)
- tropical oils (palm oil, coconut oil)
There’re two main types of unsaturated fats and these are considered healthy fats.
1 – Monounsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats also called MUFA. These are double bonded fats in the chemical structure, and liquid at room temperature.
Foods containing monounsaturated fats.
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil and butter
- Sunflower oil
2 – Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fat is essential for body functionalities, and this has two subtypes: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also have a double bonding chemical structure same as monounsaturated fats mentioned above, and are liquid at room temperature. Omega-3 helps to maintain healthy hormone levels and builds the environment necessary (cell membranes) for body cell growth. Omega 6 Fatty acids essential for body functionalities, such as muscle movement.
Foods containing polyunsaturated fats.
- Fish (such as mackerel, tuna, and herring)
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Safflower oil
There are two types of trans fats in foods, natural trans fat and artificial trans fat. However, excessive intake of trans fats is not healthy.
Animal foods, such as milk and meat of cattle, sheep, and goats, contain natural trans fats, which are produced naturally in the intestines of the animal during digesting grasses.
Artificial trans fat (trans fatty acids) are produced in an industrial process by adding hydrogen to the liquid vegetable oil.
What is a low-fat diet
In general, the fat content must be less than 30% of your daily calories in a standard low-fat diet. Some ultra-low-fat diet plans limit this level to about 10%. Besides, the recommendation of many health guidelines is, the caloric intake of saturated fat should not exceed 7-10% per day.
Low-fat diet and weight loss
Doctors often prescribe a low-fat diet for weight loss.
This is because fat provides more calories compared to protein and carbs. One gram of fat provides approximately 9 calories, while protein and carbs provide only 4 calories per gram. So, reducing calorie intake by eating less fat leads to weight loss. This is the link between low-fat diets and weight loss. Studies also show that.
However, eating ultra low-fat foods for the long term is not advisable. It can cause the body to lack essential nutrients.
Studies also show that reducing calorie intake by eating low-fat diets lose weight (Trusted source).
The most important thing is when you reduce your daily fat intake to lose weight, the limitation must be on the number of calories your body needs per day.
There is very little if any benefit from a low-fat diet. According to the low-fat guidelines of 1977, there is a perception in society that fat is the cause of many ailments, but recent research has weakened its scientific basis. The best way is adding healthy fats into your daily diet, rather than controlling your total fat intake.