The Truth About How Low Fat Diet Affects Your Body
For years, experts have encouraged dieters to eat foods that are low in fat to lose weight and get healthier. However, this type of diet may not be as healthy as experts previously thought. More recent data suggests that it is best to eat a diet balanced in nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates and fat. A low-fat diet may actually be harmful to your health. One reason that a low-fat diet may be harmful to your health is that your body needs fats to metabolize certain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins.
Your body must have some fat when these vitamins are taken in, or it will be unable to absorb and utilize these vitamins. Your brain actually needs certain vitamins to produce the chemicals it needs to function, so a low-fat diet can actually cause fatigue and depression in some people if it is followed too strictly. In the absence of fat, many people increase their sugar intake, which increases their risk for health problems like diabetes.
RELATED ARTICLE: 6 LOW FAT FOODS YOU SHOULD NEVER EAT AGAIN
Researchers have found that a low-fat diet may not be as beneficial as they once believed in preventing disease. An 8-year study of 50,000 women found disappointing results in those following a low-fat diet. 19,641 women between ages 50 and 79 years were asked to follow a low-fat diet by lowering their fat intake from 38% to about 20%. The remaining women were allowed to continue their usual diets. After eight years, the researchers compared the groups and found no benefits of the low-fat diet in protecting the women from diseases like cancer and heart disease. The weights of the low-fat group also remained about the same as the weights of those in the regular group.
The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages a diet that is moderate in fat intake – about 30% – and suggests that the type of fat consumed is at least as important as the amount. The AHA suggests limiting the amount of dietary saturated fats from foods like butter, poultry skin and beef. A person who wants to change their diet should consider eating a diet that does contain fats but should look to healthy sources such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocados and should limit calories to lose weight.