Traditional Wellness Wisdom

Deceptions in the food industry: low-fat foods

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Nearly four years ago on my other web site, Agriculture Society, I started a series called Deceptions in the Food Industry where I discussed the fallacies of processed foods, and faulty claims made on labels of many foods you will find in the grocery store.

These articles were quite popular, so I’ve decided to revisit these topics, because they are so important in understanding why processed foods are harming our health.

In this article, I’ll explain why a majority of low-fat foods sold in the store lack the health benefits the label claims make, and can actually cause health issues.

Low-fat products are the darlings of the processed food world. They have been center stage in conventional health recommendations for decades. Doctors, health “experts”, personal trainers, and dietitians alike have touted the benefits of eating low-fat and low-calorie foods.

These experts repeatedly warn us about fat and cholesterol being harmful for our health, and claim that eating these foods will contribute to weight gain, heart disease, stoke, high blood pressure, and cancer.  But what we aren’t told is why fat is essential to health and how toxic many of these products really are.

Here are some facts you may not know about low-fat foods:

  • Many low-fat foods are highly processed and contain artificial ingredients which can lead to health problems including GMOs, additives, preservatives, rancid vegetable oils, soy-by-products, gluten, and others. Removing fat usually means sugar or artificial sweeteners, and other undesirable ingredients are added. Have you ever noticed ingredients such as modified food starch, potassium sorbate, sodium citrate, or propylene glycol monoester? Read the label of this low-fat product which includes them.  Here’s an organic sour cream which includes a stabilizer derived from several sources, and synthetic Vitamin A.
  • Even if the low-fat product comes from an organic source or animals on pasture, which would naturally be a rich source of critical nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2, Omega 3s, CLA, enzymes and cofactors, these elements are virtually non-existent in low-fat foods as the fat has been removed. Fat contains those important nutrients. 
  • Many low-fat foods are pasteurized. Pasteurization denatures fragile proteins and nutrients, rendering them difficult or impossible for our bodies to assimilate. Real nutrients and their naturally-occurring counterparts are essential for digestion and all aspects of health.
  • Low-fat foods don’t aid in weight loss because they have been altered from their natural state. Remember those whole nutrients, co-factors, enzymes, and amino acids contained in full-fat foods? Those are necessary for metabolism and weight control. Your body won’t know what to do with these substances that don’t quite resemble food. Low-fat foods will contribute to weight and health issues much quicker than they’ll slim you down.
  • Some foods that don’t say low-fat on the front of the label reveal otherwise when you read the ingredients.  Good examples include dairy products such as milk, sour cream, and cheese. Check labels on dairy products in the grocery store and you’ll see this to be true. Check the information on these foods and notice the inclusion of fat-free, non-fat and other skim or low-fat milk.
  • Some of the so-called “heart healthy” foods on the market contain polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and others which are unstable when heated and are often already rancid on the shelf. Did you know that “75% of arterial plaque is made up of unsaturated fat, of which 50% is polyunsaturated“? According to Chris Kresser, only 25% is saturated! “The greater the concentration of polyunsaturated fat in the plaque, the more likely it is to rupture. Such ruptures, and the ensuing blood clots that form, are a primary cause of heart attacks.” Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are also high in Omega 6s which contribute to inflammation.

Instead of low-fat, non-fat, and fat-free foods, eat real foods that contain critical fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 for health:

  • Eat real, traditional fats like butter, lard & tallow from healthy animals on pasture, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, and fermented cod liver oil.
  • Choose dairy products that are preferably raw, and whole-fat like milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and cream cheese from healthy cows on pasture without preservatives, additives, hormones, genetically-modified feed, or antibiotics.
  • Look for meats and poultry from grass-fed animals, and leave the fat on. Fat from healthy animals on pasture contains the correct ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3s, enzymes and nutrients your body can recognize, absorb, and use for health. Organ meats, fat, bones, and skin are also recommended, as these contain even more nutrients necessary for health, and add flavor to the foods you prepare and eat.

Health benefits of fats and fat-soluble vitamins:

  • Foods with fat contain more nutrients than those without, particularly fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 which are necessary to absorb other nutrients in the foods you eat.
  • Are essential for brain health
  • Enhance our immune system performance
  • Support eyes and moistens mucous membranes and skin
  • Are critical to cell and skin health
  • Strengthen our digestive tract and protect against harmful microorganisms found there
  • Provide an easily absorbed source of energy for the body, which will keep you full longer and provide the staying power to keep you going
  • Are essential to nervous system, brain, and cardiovascular function
  • Vital to blood, pancreas, and bone-building and maintenance. Vitamin K deficiency has been linked to diabetes and other auto-immune disorders

Dr. Weston A. Price who studied traditional diets of people living all over the world discovered that all populations who ate animal fats and animal products containing fat and cholesterol had superior health and were largely free from disease and illness.

Recommended traditional animal fats via Tendergrass Farms and Amazon:

I highly recommend these products. These companies offer pasture-raised animal foods produced with the high standards in animal husbandry, welfare and farming practices which emphasize nutrient-density and sustainability.

Grassfed beef Poultry Pork Ghee & Other Lard/Tallow Products
Ribeye steak Whole chicken Pork chops Pure Indian Foods organic grassfed ghee
Chuck roast Chicken drumsticks Pork ribs Ancient Organics organic grassfed ghee
Rump roast Chicken thighs Pork bacon  Purity Farms organic grassfed ghee
NY strip steak Chicken livers Pork roast  Fatworks pastured beef tallow, GMO-free
Flat iron steak Chicken necks  great for broth! Pork fat  Fatworks pastured lard, GMO-free
Ground beef Chicken feet  great for broth! Pork bratwurst  Traditional fat combination pack, lard, tallow and grassfed ghee
Beef liver  Chicken wings  Pork franks  Proper Foods for Life, pastured pure leaf lard, GMO-free
Soup bones  great for broths, soups, stews! Chicken breast   Pork breakfast sausage  Bayan Botanicals organic grassfed ghee


Recommended reading via Amazon:

Know Your Fats by Mary G. Enig, PhD.

The Great Cholesterol Con:- The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It  by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

More information on saturated fats and cholesterol:

The importance of dietary fats

Does dietary fat increase blood cholesterol? An informal review of observational studies  Whole Health Source, Stephan Guyenet

The definitive guide to saturated fat – Mark’s Daily Apple


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