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Experiment with Fat

June 30, 2009

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Fat really isn’t as scary as we once thought it was. For decades people have subscribed to the low/non-fat diet in an effort to be skinny and healthy. What’s interesting is people are not skinnier or healthier.

In this month’s Ode an article “Fat Is Where It’s At” highlights this very issue and recent studies on how a low-fat diet can actually cause more health problems. If you look at other societies that consume a higher fat diet, the rates of heart disease and obesity are lower than America’s. How could this be?

If you think about the role that low-fat foods play in our lives this increase in health problems makes perfect sense. Lower fat foods like skim milk or non-fat yogurt don’t fill us up like whole milk or whole yogurt. Many people like this because they feel like they can eat more and not gain weight. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Zero fat does not mean 0 calories. When you consume lower fat foods you are more likely to consume twice as much as you might if you were eating a creamy yogurt.

It’s not only the low-fat that may lead to health problems. Think about the foods that are lower in fat. These foods have all been stripped of their natural properties and are more processed, chemicalized and most likely have more sugar in them. When you consume processed foods you’re not getting the whole nutrients that you would in a less processed version.

Look at your own diet. Have you recently added fattier foods to your diet? How do you feel? Do you feel fuller with less food than you did when you ate a lower fat diet?

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.