Adopting a low-fat lifestyle has many benefits. The most obvious is better health and weight loss. Another great benefit: once you achieve better health and weight loss, you will likely have more energy, feel better physically, and feel better about yourself. What marvelous side effects!
Dietary fat and obesity are factors in many of the leading causes of death in North America, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. High-fat diets have also been linked to high cholesterol, digestive disorders, heartburn, and stress.
Statistics show that one in four Canadians suffers from some form of heart disease. Studies have shown that some children as young as 3 in North America have fatty streaks in their blood vessels. It is suspected that these fatty streaks may lead to an artery-clogging build up by the teen years.
A low-fat diet can prevent heart disease — and a very low-fat diet can actually help reverse heart disease.
This is especially important since surgical treatments are often not permanent. With bypass surgery, approximately 50% of bypassed vessels are clogged again within five years; with angioplasty, 33% of vessels are blocked again within 6 months.
Lifestyle change is needed for permanent improvement.
A low fat, high fiber diet has also been found to protect against cancer. It is estimated that about 35% of all cancers are directly related to what you eat.
We’ve tried the 14-day diet, low-calorie, high-protein, grapefruit, and low sugar diets. Why should low fat be better?
Because a gram of fat contains twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrates. No wonder a high-fat diet contributes to obesity! And once your body has created a fat cell, it never goes away — although it will shrink as it is used for energy.
The human body can only store a limited amount of carbohydrates and proteins, but there is no limit to its ability to store fat. In a recent study, volunteers had to eat a daily diet of 5,000 calories before carbohydrates were turned into fat.
In another recent study, men served a high-fat breakfast were more likely to reach for a mid-morning snack than the lower fat cereal and toast group.
What to Do
These are all good reasons to cut down on fat and load up on good calories and carbohydrates, such as beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
The first step is not to think of a low-fat diet as being a temporary way of eating to lose weight or improve health. “Diet” means “manner of living” and “something provided for use or enjoyment”. You should eat for enjoyment as well as for health and well being.
If we eat healthful, flavorful, satisfying foods that we enjoy, we’ll be able to stick to a “diet”, lose weight, improve health — and we’ll feel better to boot.