If you want to lose weight, you should follow a low fat diet, right? That’s what traditional dieting and weight loss advice would have you believe. But the research tells another story.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the low fat diet craze that began in the 1990s has prompted a couple decades worth of misinformation. The folks at Harvard had this to say about low fat diets:
“A growing body of evidence has been pointing to its inadequacy for weight loss or prevention of heart disease and several cancers.”
You may be wondering what this “growing body of evidence” consists of. Let’s take a look.
Low Fat Diets: What the Research Says
According to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, putting low fat labels on snack foods encouraged study participants to eat up to 50 percent more food because they assumed the low fat version of the food to be healthier.
Another study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that it took study participants an average of 45 days to lose 10 pounds on a high fat diet and exercise program compared to an average of 70 days for study participants who exercised and ate a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.
And finally, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that compared weight loss on a low carb, Mediterranean, or low fat diet concluded that Mediterranean diets higher in healthy monounsaturated fats are effective alternatives to low-fat diets.
The Skinny on Fat
Rather than eating more low fat foods, recent dietary guidelines suggest you should focus on eating the right types of fat from the right sources. This means:
- More monounsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, avocados, and nuts
- More Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats from sources like walnuts, flaxseed, and fish
- Some saturated fats from sources like coconut oil, raw cocoa, and meat and dairy from pasture-raised animals
- No trans fats
The Bottom Line – Eat Fat To Lose Fat?
Eating more calories than you burn off, whether it’s from fat or carbohydrates, will lead to weight gain and put you at a higher risk for disease. But the latest and greatest evidence suggests that following a low fat diet may not be the best approach if you want to lose weight.
There’s no magic formula to weight loss. It comes down to eating the right foods and doing it on a consistent basis. As with most things in life, balance is key. Eat healthy sources of fats and balance it with lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and lot of vegetables and fruits. These healthy eating habits can help set you up for a lifetime of good health.
What do you think about eating fat to lose fat? Have you ever tried it? Share your thoughts with us!