Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: The Low-Fat Trap

In the early days of tracking my food intake, I clearly remember focusing mainly on the fat content. After all, the fat must be what makes us fat, right? I would go directly to the food label and if it was low-fat or fat free...it was good to go. No attention was paid to serving size, calories, nutritional value or carbohydrate count. It was almost as if the words "fat free" translated to "Eat as much as you want, Lindsay." The focus was fat and as long as I kept it low, I was going to be able to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy weight. Oh boy, was I wrong!

In fact, this so-called healthy low-fat diet was having the adverse effect. The foods I was reaching for were typically high in carbohydrates and calories and lacking in essential nutrients such as proteins and fats. Instead of choosing a satisfying snack like celery with peanut butter, I would go for 4-6 Snackwell's fat free chocolate cookies. Steering away from what I believed to be evil fatty peanut butter (I know better now) was actually causing me to consume more calories and carbohydrates. It's no wonder I would consume all these low-fat foods and still not lose weight; sometimes even gain it. It is all about calories in and calories out. Just because something is fat free doesn't mean you can eat the whole package. If we consume more than we use, we gain weight. My "low-fat" plan was high in carbohydrates; particularly processed sugars. Plus, the idea that low-fat or fat free meant Icould have as much as I wanted was way off.

So, the lesson to be taken from my experiences with low-fat eating: Focus on whole the food, not just the fat. Foods low in fat are what we should be looking for most of the time, but they must also be high in nutritional value. Don't opt for Twizzlers over almonds just because they are a "low fat candy". We need moderate amounts of healthy fats, like those found in almonds, in order to maintain a balanced diet. Consider all aspects of the food (calories, carbs, serving size, protein, etc.) before making a decision. And remember, everything is best in moderation. Even if they are "fat free".

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


  1. Very true, great post! It can get pretty confusing in the grocery, you really have know what you look for on the labels. Not to mention, some "Low fat" foods have more sugar...yikes!

  2. whoop whoop... all too true. With the numbers of low fat items sold, obesity went up... not a coincidence. Much easier to do portion control when a small amount is satisfying.

    Great post



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