More than two out of every three American adults are still overweight or obese.
Many have tried various diets with high-effort and high-motivation for improved health, yet have continuously failed to reach their weight loss goals.
Over the last 30-40 years, nutritionists and government officials have led us to believe that a healthy diet was somehow equated with a “Low-Fat Diet” – especially if you were looking to lose weight.
High-fat foods were considered “fattening”. Healthy diets were equated with a vegetable-based diet low in fat. You were supposed to drink Skim, 1% and 2% milk. Choosing a “low-fat” salad dressing made you happy. Nutritional bars and shakes promised to meet your low-fat needs and support healthy weight.
I personally saw my maternal grandparents switch from a diet high in vegetables grown in their own three-acre garden to a diet full of processed “low-fat” foods from the grocery store. We went from homemade Sunday dinners with the family – to processed dinners in front of a 24-hour news program. I can tell you that their health was never the same after the switch. They were on statins, beta-blockers, diuretics, you name it. Their doctors supported and encouraged the changes. My grandparents did not live up to their potential for a high quality of life in their later years – and their weakened physical states and eventually led to earlier deaths.
While it may sound like a stretch, a part of me honestly feels the “low-fat” diet craze took my grandparents away from me much too soon. It drives a large part of why I write and educate doctors and the public alike.
The evidence to me has always been murky.
A lower “something” diet, includes a higher “something else” diet. For most Americans, a low-fat diet meant higher intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Just this past October 2015, The Lancet published results from a systematic review and meta-analysis of 53 studies comparing low-fat diets with other types of weight loss diets.
When it comes to long-term weight-loss outcomes, the article shared the following conclusions:
- Low-carbohydrate diets outperformed low-fat diets
- High-fat diets outperformed low-Fat Diets
- Low-fat diets only led to weight loss if it was compared to a usual diet. When also compared to a usual diet, high-fat, and low-carb diets still out-performed low-fat diets when it came to measures of long-term weight loss.
The study’s final interpretation read as follows:
When compared with dietary interventions of similar intensity, evidence from RCTs does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss.
You can read the abstract of the study by visiting here. Remember a low-carb diet is not defined strictely as a “no”-carb diet. Very low-carb diets such as Atkins have some problems and mixed outcomes to them as well.
Say goodbye to the low-fat diet fads and misleading product labels. They will still be there – but now you can feel confident ignoring them. The science just does not support the claims any longer.