4 Reasons a Low-Fat Diet Can Be Bad for Your Health
In the 1980s a movement toward low fat dieting took hold and exploded. Savvy product manufacturers jumped on the band wagon and began offering low-fat versions of their products. Butter and red meat became the enemies of society and soon most anything containing natural fats was replaced by lower fat often chemically processed versions. There were suddenly a dozen new margarine makers, and whole milk, cheese and yogurts were replaced with lower fat versions, often sacrificing taste and texture and making cooking and baking at home more challenging. A low-fat diet was easier to manage if food was purchased pre-made and processed, rather than cooked at home with natural ingredients. A diet of mostly processed foods and lacking in saturated fats hasn’t turned out to be as healthy as people hoped.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
For years nutritionists have been touting the benefits of a low-fat diet on heart health. Indeed, too much of anything is bad for the body and fat is no exception, but it is now believed that a low-fat diet can actually increase risk of heart disease. A certain amount of fats and cholesterol in the blood is necessary. New research finds those who follow strict low-fat diets are withholding essential nutrients from the body. Fats and cholesterol are needed to create and protect leukocytes, or white blood cells responsible for fighting off infection. They help millions of other cells, as well. Cells essential for the repair of damaged wall linings. Without fats and cholesterol in the blood, the body’s arteries and veins can sustain damage leading to heart failure, stroke, and other organ failure by weakening the immune system and slowing the body’s healing process.
Another risk of a diet too low in fat is that good cholesterol, or LDL, is reduced. LDL is needed to remove bad cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver to be processed and eliminated. Without this process, there is an increased risk of heart disease.
Lack of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the human body. A high intake of Omega-3s has been shown to help alleviate depression and slow cancer cell growth, among other things. Adults on long term low-fat diets have been found to have a higher incidence of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Omega-3s and Omega-6s are essential to hormone and chemical production in the brain necessary for stabilizing mood. They have also been found to insulate nerve cells in the brain, allowing for better communication between cells, similar to how someone might use oil to help a hinge work better.
When a diet lacks in some things, it is often too rich in others. Dietary imbalance is unhealthy. If a diet is low in fat, it is often higher in carbohydrates. This can lead to an increase in appetite, and as a result, an increase in weight.
Fat soluble vitamins, A, B, E, and K, cannot be absorbed by the body without a certain amount of fat in the blood. This leads to a deficiency in vitamins essential for normal growth and can create a lower immunity to disease. A deficiency in these vitamins will also create problems with cell repair and blood clotting.
Something from Every Food Group, and All in Moderation
Neglecting one food group can have an adverse affect on health, weight, and the ability to recover from accident and disease. It can also lead to an unhealthy excess in other areas. The best diet is one that includes moderate amounts of food from all food groups.
Peggy Norwood is a home healthcare administrator and guest author at MPHOnline.org, a site with information and guides to getting an online mph.
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