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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.