With all the low and no fat foods on the market you would think that North Americans would be thinner and healthier; right? Wrong. There is more obesity, heart disease and diabetes than at any other time in history. How has this happened?

There is a direct link between disease and these low and no fat products. To sum it up:  These foods are actually making you fatter and sicker! To fully understand this we have to go back to when WWII ended. There was a population boom in North America and by 1960 packaged foods had hit the market and were gaining acceptance in households as an easy and time efficient way to prepare meals. Along with them came the boom in chemicals in the way of food additives to make these foods shelf stable for months or even years. This was a time when drive-inns and burger joints were popping up. Places like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s and a host of  Pizza palors were new, cheap, had fast service and you could pack it up and take it home with you.

By the mid seventies heart disease had hit an all time high. A flawed study blamed fat, especially saturated fat – the type that comes from animals – to be the reason for heart disease, instead of the trans fats and over processed, nutrient devoid fats. At this time the understanding of trans fats from over processing was not understood and besides that, companies were making a lot of money from these new ‘fast’ foods. This study led the American Heart Association to issue new guidelines to healthy eating. But this is a whole other story.

So, back to why low and no fat is bad for you.

The first reason is so basic that it seems to escape most people:  When you take out the fat, you have to replace it with something else. When the fat comes out, first the volume has to be replaced with fillers such as water, gelatin or a concoction of chemical substitutes. Often these mixes are filled with sodium and sugar because the taste is now also gone with the fat. You are now swapping good fats for carbohydrates, causing insulin spikes and robbing your body of valuable nutrients that were lost with the fat. To make things even worse, they may also say that they are ‘sugar-free’ which is a term for adding artificial sweeteners that your body has no idea what to do with and cause your insulin to spike even further. You body is also robbed of fat’s valuable role in keeping your body healthy. Fat feeds your brain, helps build cell membranes and is important to absorbing nutrients such as vitamins that are only fat soluble.

The bottom line:

Because your body digests fat more slowly, eating something that is full fat will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Full fat plain varieties are less processed with less chemicals. Full fat has more nutrients. Come back to the real food world and eat sensibly.