Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Low Fat Diets = Poor Health

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
You will be missing out on essential nutrients by choosing "low fat" foods.
You will be doing harm to yourself by eating a low-fat diet and possibly more harm by eating foods that contain synthetic fats.  You will be depriving your unborn baby of essential nutrients with Low-fat foods (LFF).  Put simply LFF contribute to ill-health and contribute to chronic health problems.

Good quality fat is essential to health

Appropriate fats and oils are determined by their freshness, the use you have for them and the amount you use.
  • Choose cold-pressed organic where possible in dark containers.
  • Buy small quantities and use them generously don't save them for best.
  • Rancid oils cause oxidative stress and cell damage to you body. Never use them!
It's not fats that make us gain weight.  Rather, refined sugars, carbs and poor quality fats are to blame.

It is vital to make the distinction between eating a diet that is rich in good quality fat verses one that is laden with poor quality substitutes.

Good fats include 

Avocado, fish, Nuts and Seeds, Lean meats, Eggs, Crustaceans, Fish oils, Evening Primrose oils, Flaxseed oils, Cod liver oils, Wheatgerm oil, Full fat raw milk, Goat and Sheep's milk, Olive oil, Eggs, Almonds, Liver and Soy.  

Why fats are important?

Fat contains essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins plus trace elements that allow our bodies to heal.  Fat is largely responsible for carrying the flavour in food and for creating desirable texture.  Good quality fats are abundant in natural whole foods and are essential to good health.  

From a physiological point of view good fats are vital for correct cell function. All cells in the body have a fatty bi-layer membrane.   This membrane facilitates transport of nutrients and messengers into the cell and allow for wastes to be removed.  A diet which lacks quality fat will also be deficient in essential nutrients.  This can result in poor cell function and disease.

A diet absent in good fats can lead to health problems

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Poor immune function
  • Bone disease like Rickets
  • Eye sight problems 
  • Weight problems
  • Eczema, psoriasis and dandruff  
  • Cancers
  • Insomnia 
  • Nervous tension
  • low birth weight
  • Diarrhoea and digestive illness
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Liver and gallbladder disease,
  • Haematological conditions
  • Accelerated ageing
  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Bleeding disorders  
  • Poor bone health

What fats to use when

Saturated Fats 

Solid at room temperature.
Butter is best for spreading and it is high in butyric acid which is fantastic for digestive health.  Ghee, Coconut oil, Duck, Beef, Chicken, Pork and Lamb fats are excellent for frying, baking and roasting.  These techniques should be minimized in ones cooking regime.

Monounsaturated Fats

Solid below 5C
Extra Virgin Olive oil.  Ideal in dressings and drizzled after cooking.  Olive oil can be used for sauteing at temperatures below 185C


These oils do not solidify at any temperature.
Nut, seed and vegetable oils that are relatively unstable and delicate.  When overheated they make free radicals which cause oxidative stress to the body. Fresh cold pressed choices are essential.  

Cheap vegetable oils are a problem.  Solvents are used in processing and the oils are heavily refined and heated altering their chemical profile making them undesirable for consumption.  This is known as hydrogenation and margarines are by far the biggest culprit. Hydrogenated fats have been implicated in cancer and auto immune diseases. 

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential because our bodies are unable to endogenously make these lipids but are vital for physiological function.  Found in Cod liver and fish oils as well as evening primrose and flaxseed.  They must not be heated.
  • Omega 3
  • Omega 6
  • Omega 9


  • Always buy fresh oils that are stable and in dark containers
  • Buy small quantities and use them generously
  • Choose the right fat for the job
  • Avoid Hydrogenated fats (margarines) and vegetable oil blends
  • Healthy fats contain essential nutrient that your body needs
  • Healthy fat will keep you immune system primed and your brain smart

Bad Fats

These are found in the following places and spaces.  One needs to be a vigilant label reader because manufactures try to hide their ingredients behind numbered codes.                               
  • Most take out food
  • Confectionary and junk foods 
  • Margarines and butter alternatives 
  • Low-fat anything because they have been chemically denatured then infused with synthetic substitutes and additives 
  • Commercial bakery goods and cakes (pretty much everything in the supermarket!)
  • Anything which claims to be 99.9% fat free
As mentioned previously hydrogenated fat has been chemically altered and rendered completely unnatural to our bodies. They are highly unstable products that turn rancid easily causing destruction in the body.  From a health perspective synthetic or poor quality fat compromises the body's innate ability to perform essential tasks.  They scramble chemical messengers, increase inflammation and clog our arteries.

Poor quality fat wont affect you overnight but the cumulative effect is potentially disastrous.  Poor quality fats limits necessary nutrients entering the body.  Overtime this creates deficiencies which compromise metabolic function.  There are many disease states as a result of either blatant deficiency or because of poor dietary choices.  What you put in your body now untimately affects whether your health will suffer or thrive.