Are low-fat diets effective? Personally, I would say no. While this still doesn’t give license for everyone to dust off the deep fryer, it simply means that fat doesn’t play quite so large of a role in harboring diseases as previously thought by researchers.
According to a 10-year-long study of 49,000 postmenopausal women nationwide, low-fat diets had virtually no effect on the incidence of heart disease, colorectal cancer, stroke, or breast cancer as opposed to the higher fat content of a “more standard” American diet. This news has certainly come as a shock for many since the exact opposite was touted. If we, as a society, were to eat fewer fats than the occurrence of heart disease and various cancers would surely plummet.
What has also shocked many is that eating a high-carb, low-fat diet will not raise triglycerides, or elevate the chances of developing diabetes. And even though fat has over double the calories per gram as protein or carbohydrates, eating a low-fat diet will not help those needing to lose weight.
One piece of evidence that does happen to coincide with past assertions is that this same study also illustrated the fact that diets high in saturated fat and transfat do greatly elevate cholesterol levels and raise one’s chances of getting heart disease. Thus, it is still my opinion that the healthiest way to eat is to find balance in your diet.
Next, it would be well-advised not to eat more fats than are generally recommended by doctors and don’t eat fewer fats than is recommended. For active folks, a common estimate for one’s daily fat requirements should equal roughly 20% of one’s total calories.
For the heavier set, I wouldn’t cut any lower than 15%. So, if you were to eat a diet high in saturated fat, then you could potentially develop heart disease due to the elevated cholesterol levels. This is a fairly common occurrence for the strict adherents of the Atkins diet model. While they may lose some weight, they are often left with soaring blood cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, if one were to eat a strict low-fat diet then they could also be increasing their chances for heart disease due to their diet’s lack of essential fatty acids. So, it is indeed important that balance is achieved when nutrition and your health are at stake. If one becomes too lax or too restrictive, then you will be unintentionally sabotaging your heart among other things and that could eventually cost you your life.