The Skinny on Low Fat/Fat Free Foods!
When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with loosing weight, probably like a lot of other teenage girls. My entire diet consumed of low fat/fat free foods, and I was still overweight. Now, I am at a lower weight and consume all full fat foods. I have let go of the "diet craze" and focus on eating real foods. I have heard people say they are worried they will gain weight if they drink whole milk or eat butter. The truth is, you will not be over weight if your diet is rich in real foods, full fat and all. Being over weight stems from consuming pop, high-sugared food, fast-food and processed foods. But lets forget about weight, our health is at risk if we continue to buy low fat/fat free foods. If you can't bring your self to drink whole fat foods, at least consider doing it for your kids. The more processed food is, the less nutritional value. It is stripped of nutrients and fat that is essential for a developing child.
I beg you to read the article below on the importance to eating whole fat foods by Mary G. Enig, PhD, an expert of international in the field of lipid biochemistry.
(On a side note, I would like to say that I am not easily persuaded into doing something. I am not the type of mom who reads one article on the internet and am sold. I have to read, read, and read some more. Then once I am interested in something, I run it by my panel of experts for their approval. I will say, I strongly believe in and support the Weston A. Price Foundation. It has been a source of guidance and education for me. Anyway, I just thought I'd put that out there.) :)
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children two years old and older should eat a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and non-fat dairy products, beans, fish and lean meats. The guidelines also recommend very low amounts of saturated and trans fats. The “experts” are increasingly urging strict adherence to this diet in children. “The idea that heart disease starts in the 50s has been substantially discounted,” says Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado and former president of the American Heart Association. “Saturated fat is always an enemy to the arteries, at any age.”1
I have described some of the harmful consequences of low fat diets for growing children in previous columns (see westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/diet_children.html). The purported rationale for putting children on fat-restricted diets involves preventing future obesity and heart disease. Yet one study indicates that children put on low fat diets actually develop markers for heart disease. Children on lowfat diets whose genes would normally have been producing the desirable light and fluffy form of LDL-cholesterol started to make the dangerous small and dense form of LDL.2
Low fat Diets For Children?
Promoters of lowfat diets have seen to it that whole milk has been virtually eliminated in schools. This new policy is predicated on the assumption that the fat in whole milk will make children become fat. Yet a recent study on children in Sweden revealed that lower fat intake was associated with higher body mass index and greater insulin resistance.3 Children on lowfat diets also consumed more sugar. Since the beverage choice for American children in schools today is either reduced-fat milk or chocolate milk, greater sugar consumption will no doubt be a consequence of the fat-restriction policy.
More cause for alarm comes from another recent study, this one published in Human Reproduction.4 The risk of anovulatory infertility was found to be 27 percent lower in women who ate at least one portion of high-fat dairy food per day compared with women who had one high-fat serving of dairy per week, or even less. Women who ate two or more portions of lowfat dairy foods a day increased their risk of ovulationrelated infertility by 85 percent.
The researchers concluded that women who want to get pregnant should consume high-fat dairy products but, once pregnant, switch back to lowfat foods. The assumption is that ovulation can be restored in adult women by switching from lowfat to full-fat dairy products. But what happens in girls who are denied healthy dairy fats throughout childhood, even, it seems, in the womb? Will they be able to become pregnant by consuming full-fat dairy products for the first time when they are adults? This is a dangerous assumption to make since the vitamins in dairy fats are essential for the development of the reproductive system throughout the growing years.
Some researchers are urging caution. Dr. John Kostyak and a team from Pennsylvania State University recently warned in the online magazine Nutrition Journal that so-called “muesli mothers” are taking adult dietary messages to extremes and inflicting them on their children. “Sufficient fat must be included in the diet for children to support normal growth and development,” says Kostyak. Unfortunately, the fats he recommends are the “good fats,” such as olive oil and sunflower oil. However, some commentators are urging full-fat dairy products for children under five—contradicting US government policy that urges restriction of dairy fats after the age of two.
Diet Foods May Cause Weight Gain
As health officials continue to harp on the dangers of weight gain, parents are increasingly likely to give low-calorie products to their children. But studies with rats provide further evidence of the folly of this policy. Young animals given low-calorie version of foods ended up overeating, whether they were lean or obese; however, older adolescent rats fed diet foods did not show the same tendency to overeat.9 “Diet foods are probably not a good idea for growing youngsters,” said Professor David Pierce, head of the study. But that is exactly what the “experts” recommend—low fat versions of dairy products and meat, and a restriction of animal fats like butter.The committee raised serious concerns about side effects of low fat diets. They found evidence of growth failure, nutritional dwarfing and inhibited progression of puberty in children on fat-restricted diets. They also reported that “lower fat intake was associated with lower levels of calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, vitamin B12, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin.”