The truth about 'low fat' and when it's OK

It surprises me that decades after Nathan Pritican developed the ‘Pritican Diet’, we are still obsessing over ‘low fat’, and in many cases still following low fat protocols.

 

Nathan Pritican himself realised that his diet was ineffective and ended up taking his own life after a moderate struggle with leukaemia. The part that surprises me the most is that low fat diets have been linked to everything from failure to thrive in children, right through to depression, chronic mineral deficiencies and various other conditions. The low fat revolution basically cemented itself into western civilisation following the pivotal “lipid hypothesis” which apparently linked saturated fat & cholesterol with coronary heart disease – a claim which other researchers have refuted time & time again due to insignificant evidence. 

Let’s first briefly review the many benefits of fat;

  • Aids the absorption of minerals and the fat soluble vitamins (a,e,d,k)
  • Involved in the production of hormones and the cell membrane.
  • Provides an excellent source of energy (especially in the absence of carbohydrates), particularly the short & medium chained fatty acids.
  • Insulates & protects internal organs
  • Slows the absorption of other macronutrients therefore aiding satiety
  • Certain fats significantly aid immunity

This article isn’t intended to sway your views on fat per se, I’ll do that in another article, although I would like to think that after reading this you may tend to re-think things a little! Fat is a massive topic & one I intend on covering in full for you shortly, although I will agree that a low fat approach is warranted in three (3) particular cases……… Milk, cheese & cream.

There is of course many variations of thought here, and I for one am not a fan of pasteurization or homogenization, so my recommendation of low fat dairy here is with some reserve. … But….

Fat is essentially flavour & the primary reason we generally enjoy the taste of all the wrong foods! So in the case of ‘low fat’, what does this do to the manufacturing process?? I mean, if fat tastes great how do we keep the foods we love ‘addictive’…. Whoops, I mean tasty! It’s an easy equation – see below.

Food – fat (9 cal/g) = boring = no sales (so instead the manufactures use……)

Food – fat (9 cal/g) + 2 x sugar (4 cal/g) = low fat / full calories = flavour = addiction = sales = profit

This demonstrates the reason I don’t recommend anything low fat other than the big three (milk, cheese & cream). These are the exceptions where the fat is removed, and not replaced with sugar. Everything else is almost always tainted with sugar in some form for example… Low fat biscuits, cakes, yoghurts, chips, crackers and ice-cream just to name a few.

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Shannon Brenton
Shannon Brenton

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