we hear that fat intake has declined over recent years, yet the
population gets more obese, and people conclude that carbs are
to blame, and fat isn't a bad guy. There are a few silly diets
based on this false claim.
ANGELES, July 6, 2003 -- The Journal of the American Dietetic Association
published another in what is becoming a long line of studies debunking
the central premise of lo-carb diet myth. Proponents of plans like
Atkins, Sugar Busters and the Zone have long used the following
logic as the lynchpin of their sales strategy:
a) in the
80's and 90's the government told us to eat less fat to lose weight;
b) we ate less fat;
c) we got fatter; so
d) it's not the fat, it's something else -- the carbs -- that
make you fat.
It's a very
persuasive pitch -- except that it's false.
Much of the
published research on the amount of fat the average American has
consumed during the 80's and 90's looked at fat as a percentage
of total calories. When studies showed the fat percentage going
down from, say, 38% of calories to 34% of calories, researchers
reasoned we were "eating less fat." In truth, research
now shows that we were eating more.
How is it possible?
Because food manufacturers simply added more carbohydrates -- like
sugar -- to their food. This means that while the same amount or
more fat could be present in a given food, the percentage
of fat that comprised total calories went down. So during the past
20 years the average American has actually been eating more
grams of fat in their diet, even if the percentage of fat as total
calories has gone down.
The bottom line
of the new research is that Americans are getting fatter because
they are eating more calories, period. During the past two decades
Americans have increased the amount of fat they are eating, as well
as the amount of carbs and protein. They are eating more, and the
"lower fat" strategy -- looking at fat merely as a percentage
of calories, and not at overall calories -- has been shown to be
a fallacy. Americans never went on a reduced-fat diet; they thought
they had due to slick "low fat" marketing and a corporate-influenced
USDA which permitted companies to use "percentage of fat"
in making "low fat" claims. Americans have been eating
more and more fat -- and everything else -- while mistakenly thinking
they were eating a lower fat diet.
diets are not only based on a nonsense, they are doomed to fail
for at least three reasons: they force you to eat foods which have
been shown in hundreds of studies to increase your risk of cancer
and heart disease; 2) they deprive you of adequate amounts of foods
which contain phytochemicals and macronutrients which can help ward
off many degenerative diseases; and 3) like most diets, they have
a high longterm failure rate -- people have a hard time changing
to a lifelong dietstyle where they don't feel fully satisfied.
research has shown repeatedly that actual lowfat (10 - 20% of calories),
largely unprocessed plant-based dieters can successfully and happily
maintain weightloss over many years. Added to that are the studies
by medical doctors like Ornish,
demonstrating that a lowfat plant-based diet can reverse heart disease,
combat autoimmune diseases and save lives, and it's clear which
way nature is pointing humans for health as well as weight control.
To read an abstract
of this new study showing that fat consumption increased during
the 80's and 90's, rather than decreasing, click
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