Why Low Fat Diets are Killing Us

My husband recently underwent some heart procedures. While major in nature, it was the best situation we could have prayed for that will likely avoid a lot of future problems in his health. During this process, we met with several doctors and surgeons who would advise of a healthy diet, specifically a low-fat to no-fat diet as part of a heart healthy lifestyle. We took this information to heart (pun intended) but everything these doctors were advising in what a heart healthy diet looks like did not add up. The information contradicts with what it actually means to have a heart healthy diet.


The words low-fat and health are on opposite ends of the spectrum. So, how does a heart patient or even anyone concerned with heart health outline a good heart healthy diet?


The answer is not found in low-fat, no-fat diets and lifestyles.


Where Low Fat Came From

The intentions of a low-fat diet are good on the surface. They appear to make sense and seem rational. Back in the late 1980s and 1990s when heart disease and cancers were on the rise, and the emphasis was on living a good life people didn’t want to face trouble in their health. This was all following the hardships of the 1970s with double digit inflation, depressive interest rates and poor job economy, the 1980s gave way to better days and the economic tide had turned. Work changed from manufacturing to computers and technology. People wore bright clothes and big hair. Music was alive again. Despite the good though, obesity was increasing, people were not as active due to the rise of office jobs and our health was suffering from stress, inactivity and a poor diet. Keep in mind this also was the prime time for Coke and Pepsi war to find favor with consumers too.


Leading scientists and doctors at the time determined fat was causing all these problems and not the fact we were less active or eating junk foods filled with sugar. Nor the fact we were increasingly depressed due to changes in lifestyle, despite the colorful clothing. Divorce and health problems rose.


Manufacturers quickly began producing low-fat options and fake sugary products to help people get on the low-fat, no calorie bandwagon. Doctors began advising patients, especially those at risk for heart disease and cardiovascular conditions, to follow a low-fat eating plan. There were even commercials on TV touting how eggs were bad for you because they drove up cholesterol. This would be followed by a Coke or Pepsi commercial but what stuck was the egg message. Again, on the surface this all seemed reasonable. If you want to lose a few pounds, not put so much pressure on your heart than you lower fat. Fat makes you fat, right?


What was not addressed in this time was the increase in sugar found in manufactured products and a decrease in the quality of meats, vegetables and fruits. Advances in food technology now made it possible to speed up the growing process and non-seasonal foods became available year-round. As nice as this was for consumers the resulting quality of nutrients decreased. This was also the time when dairy farms started encountering corporate farming and changes in foods fed to cows changed how milk was produced to increase their rates.


It is true diseases like heart attacks and breast cancer were on the rise during this time. So, eggs, fats, cheese and other staple foods became the blame. There were commercials advising people to only eat egg whites if they had to eat an egg. We were in fear of fat. Richard Simons and Jazzercise appeared on the scene to further promote the message fat was bad and we needed to burn it off and not eat it anymore.


Changing the diets of millions to a low-fat, zero calorie diet with preservatives and chemically based sugars only proved to make matters worse. Heart disease and cancers would continue to take over as the top causes of death. Obesity increased. Depression and suicide increased especially among younger adults exposed to these types of foods in their regular diet. Yet, doctors, advertisers and food producers continued to push the low-fat, zero calorie diet as a way out of this health crisis that was only getting worse.


Today, over 30 years later, heart disease and cancer continue to be our top causes for death in the United States. Products continue to contain these chemically based sweeteners and fat substitutes despite the over 30 year failure of this eating plan. Doctors continue to advise and promote it as a heart healthy lifestyle. If this were true the numbers would say it works because people would not continue to suffer from obesity, heart disease and cancers like we do. We would not be an obese nation killing ourselves with chemicals and prescriptions wondering why we lack energy, cannot sleep at night, are stressed and burned out and our hearts are not beating healthy.


Why Low Fat is Killing Us

The lack of fat and inclusion of fake fats and sugars in their place is causing tremendous damage to our health, including our hearts and brains. Our lifestyles are actually worse off than they were in the 1980s and 1990s as a result. We have further deprived our diets from real foods with the modern invention of fake meats and pink slime meat by-products that exacerbates this situation. The soil where our vegetables and fruits grow is ridden with toxic pesticides and fertilizers to accelerate growth and volume. What is touted as healthy and good for us, especially heart patients, is actually killing us faster!


Without the ability to process chemically made foods, our bodies are starved from a lack of nutrients needed to produce energy. We in turn eat more to fill that void. In the majority of situations, we consume more carbohydrates and simple sugars because of the deep addiction we have to sugar. It gives us a momentarily high relief from the stress of modern living. Feeling depleted of nutrients we then experience a slow down of metabolism, energy and mood resulting in a build up sugars stored as fat in the body. This all leads to a struggle to balance hormones and maintain a healthy weight. With it comes problems with digestion, reproduction, urinary and immunity. It leaves us in the negative for supporting heart health.


When our hormones begin to struggle we find an increase in depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, nervousness and digestive problems. Our body is put into a fight or flight state where our digestive, reproductive and urinary systems are slowed so the body can focus on dealing with the stress it feels. If you ever wondered why you encounter an increase in indigestion and urinary tract infections during stress times in your life, check you hormonal response!


It starts with what we are eating.


The age old saying you are what you eat still means something. Every function of our body relies on food that can be broken down and processed to support cell functions. The cells support tissues, organs and body systems needed to operate every day. When those processes become clouded by chemicals instead of the fats, proteins and nutrients it needs, things no longer work like they should. This is what low-fat has done to our body. It has slowed metabolism and flooded our body with chemicals it cannot process.


Sugar is known to be as addictive as narcotic drugs. It quickly shuts down and rewires our body to metabolize nutrients differently. Our taste buds change and we no longer experience food tastes like we used to and instead crave the sugar and salt based foods. The full feeling generated in our digestive system is also hindered as we are unable to trigger enough of the hormones that tell us to stop eating. Our digestive acids decrease and our digestive systems clog resulting in constipation, bloating and gas. We find increased inflammation and pain in our body too. Fake sugar is worse. Due to the chemical make up of these products, the body chemically alters how it responds to treat it like a poison.


Sugar is the culprit to it all and yet Americans consume well above the daily recommended levels regularly. Even those that attempt healthy eating are victimized through poorly produced foods, processed and manufactured products that contain chemicals our body cannot process. Like any addictive behavior we must work through the withdrawal of it to find a place we can effectively break up with it.


We also fall for the lie that fake sugar is better so we can have it in place of sugar. This only leaves our body starved further and chemically toxic with the inability to eliminate those chemicals. Breaking up with these chemicals is even more important to our health. In some cases addiction to these types of sweeteners is more severe than regular sugar.


What Really Causes Heart Problems

When our diet consists of highly processed foods, simple sugars and lack of nutrients stress is put on our body’s systems. A great deal of the sugar we eat is turned to stored fat waiting to be needed for energy. That call never comes so our body stores more and more of it each time we eat. Our body produces 1 mile of additional blood vessels for each pound we are overweight. This puts tremendous strain on our lymphatic, blood and heart systems.


Oxygen is deprived, metabolism slowed and everything essential slows down and no longer works well. Once our immune system begins to waver under the pressure to resolve these problems, we find symptoms begin to be noticed. Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, skin coloring changes, a lack of energy, decrease in dopamine, and overall decrease in health.


Among all of this our brain is suffering from a lack of necessary fats and hydration to support our body’s functions and systems. Diet sodas do not substitute for the need of water our body and brain requires daily.


When we do not feel well, most of us turn to our practitioners where we are prescribed medications to compensate for these symptoms our brain further struggles to recover and support proper function. The medicines begin to do it for us, until our organs (heart) give up.


How the American Heart Healthy Diet Differs from that of India’s Heart Healthy Diet

Since the American Heart Association is the primary pusher of the low-fat diet as heart healthy, I did some research. As an experiment I looked at other countries versions of the heart healthy diet. Admittedly, I thought I would find similar messaging. The differences were shocking! It did not take me long at all to find stark differences between the diets. In this example, I compared what is known as the Hindu Heart Diet to that of the American Heart Association.


The Hindu heart diet specifically recommended fresh dark leafy green vegetables, grapes, and berries whereas the American diet said to use low sodium and chemically lined canned, frozen or fresh vegetables and fruits. The only oil mentioned in the Hindu diet was olive oil and eating fresh avocados, the American diet listed several kinds of oils, including margarine and canola. Flaxseed was noted in the Hindu diet, but fish noted in the American diet. Both diets contained nuts and beans. The Hindu diet spent a great deal more time describing why walnuts and beans were so important and the American diet simply mentioned them in a brief list among other things.


What I find most interesting is the use of fresh targeted whole foods in the Hindu diet. It sounds much more in line with healing and vitality support. No mention of portion control was mentioned either. The American diet contained many notes about eating smaller portions, focusing on low fat and less sodium, while allowing for the occasional treat of candy or potato chips! This information was found in the Mayo Clinic’s information and other sources I reviewed, which quite frankly shocked me. It is of little wonder our American diet is in shambles, and our cardiovascular health in dire straits compared to other developed nations.


How to get the Good Fats Back in Our Diet

Even if you are not a heart patient, improving our diet can prevent a multitude of health problems. While there are many diets out there, I believe a simple and basic approach is best so we can personalize it to our specific needs and preferences. Here are the foundational steps to consider:


  • Drink water. Aim for 1/2 of your body weight daily. Avoid plastic stored water. Where possible opt for filtered or high quality osmosis water .

  • Reduce caffeine. All kinds. In the majority of coffees there is mold that can be dangerous to our health. Additionally, many of us use a sweetener in the form of sugar or sugar infused milks for our coffees.

  • Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. Avoid canned and processed versions that can contain sugar and salt for longer shelf life.

  • Eat fermented foods such as pickles, olives, pickled beets and more. These types of foods increase your digestive enzymes and improve overall functions that influence immunity, urinary, reproductive and adrenal health. That in turn reduces the flight or flight responses from stress and heart can beat normally again.

  • Sleep. Most Americans are not sleeping enough or well. Intentionally work to improve your sleep to get 7 to 8 hours regularly. Our body heals while we sleep and you need that long for it to rebuild many of the necessary cells to support energy.

  • Supplement. Use a high quality pure natural based multi-vitamin, probiotic, digestive enzyme and basic vitamin C, D and Magnesium. Your body needs these vitamins to support functions and often we do not get enough from our diets.

  • Slow down and chew. Most American meals last 10 minutes. This is not nearly enough time for chewing and digesting foods to allow the digestive system to work well. Spend more time chewing so when you swallow your stomach is not producing unprocessed foods that result in heartburn, upset stomach and other problems.

  • Move. You do not need to work out multiple hours a day but you do need more movement overall. This can be a simple walk around the neighborhood, swim, yoga, or anything else that gets you moving. Make it fun, find something you look forward to doing. Simply get up from your desk and stroll around frequently is a huge improvement.

  • Avoid the processed, bagged, convenient foods. This one is a bit more work but the effort will significantly improve your health. Find what works for you in preparing, planning and enjoying the process of making your meals.

  • Discover your taste buds by experimenting with foods that you may not have tasted in a while or that are new to you.

  • Use Himalayan or Celtic salt instead of table salt.

For Natural Health Support

Improving our diets to support health is needed by most of us. The lies we have been told about what healthy eating looks like has led many of us down roads of obesity and illnesses. If you are interested in finding solutions that work personally for you, let’s chat. I help clients personalize their healthcare with nature. Together we develop the plan and protocols that help you rebuild your health and take control of where it goes next. The choice is entirely yours.


Book your consultation services at dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online


Citations:


Berge, Ann F. Oxford Academic. (2008 February 23) How the Ideology of Low Fat Conquered America. Retrieved, February 19, 2022, from: https://academic.oup.com/jhmas/article/63/2/139/772615?login=false


Frontline. PBS. (2004 April 8) Did the Low-Fat Era Make Us Fat? Retrieved, February 19, 2022, from: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/diet/themes/lowfat.html#:~:text=During%20the%201990s%2C%20the%20low-fat%20craze%20changed%20the,2001%2C%20one-third%20of%20the%20American%20population%20was%20overweight.


Madormo, Carrie. The List. (2016 October 28) The Truth About Low Fat Diets. Retrieved, February 19, 2022, from: https://www.thelist.com/29186/truth-low-fat-diets/


Ohlson, Kristin. Experience Life. (2017 December 1) The Trouble with Artificial Sweeteners. Retrieved, February 23, 2022, from: https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/poor-substitutes/


Purohit, Vikas. Mishra, Sundeep. US National Library of Medicine. (2018 January). The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners – Are They Good for Diabetics? Retrieved, February 23, 2022, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903011/


Uniyal, Parmita. Hindustan Times. (2022 February 4). Here’s a list of foods to maintain heart health. Retrieved, February 12, 2022, from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/heres-a-list-of-foods-to-maintain-heart-health-101643969184035.html


Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic (n.d.) Heart Healthy diet: 8 Steps to prevent heart disease. Retrieved, February 12, 2022, from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All