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Big fat lies: the truth will set you (and your diet) free

Posted in Nutrition 101

In the next of our Fat: 101 series, we bust some of the biggest myths you’ve heard about “evil” fat and set the facts straight.

The hangover from the ‘Fat is Evil’ myth is still affecting us. Fat in food was the ultimate villain in the later part of the 20th century. Studies in the 1960s linked saturated fat to raising ‘bad’ cholesterol in our blood – ultimately leading to heart disease.1 Numerous studies have now all but proven this is not the case.2 The message is starting to get out there, fat, even saturated fat, is not bad. Fat is essential to our health. The refined carbs we used to replace it with are causing far more issues.3 Let’s go a bit further in debunking a few crazy fat myths for you.

1. Low-fat diets don’t work.

The weirdest part of the low-fat craze is that the idea wasn’t ever tested. The American public became the test group when a low fat diet was recommended in 1977.3 It has since been the subject of intense debate, but the results show there are no benefits to a low fat diet.4-5 They do not affect long term weight loss or reduce the risk of disease.6-7

2. Over-processed seed oils are not a health food.

Over-processed seed and vegetable oils are bad news. We started eating them only about a hundred years ago. Because they are low in saturated fat they gained a false reputation as a health food. But studies show they may cause inflammation, and increase your risk of heart disease.8 This could be because they are unnaturally increasing Omega-6 in our diets.9 Oh, and some of them are high in toxic trans-fat.10

3. You can eat more eggs.

Why did we ever start believing that eggs were bad for us? Eggs contain fat, and some cholesterol. However, this has been shown to have nothing to do with increasing heart disease. In fact, eggs raise our good cholesterol (HDL).11-12 Eggs may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet– loaded with vitamins, minerals and a bunch of nutrients that help us function.13 And remember the yolks are where all that good stuff is, hold your order on that egg-white omelet!

4. Nothing is better than real butter.

Along with the hate on saturated fat, butter had become a baddie. Margarines are based on vegetable oils –again due to processing there may be trans-fat. The studies show margarine is definitely not healthier than butter.14 In fact, high-fat dairy products do not increase your risk of heart disease and even improve other risk factors.15-16 And if it’s from grass-fed cows there are even further benefits from dairy fat. 17

More on fats:

Fats 101 - Forget everything you’ve ever heard about low fat diets.
Buttery Goodness - Why butter is making a comeback.
The Seedy Truth - Why ‘healthy’ seed oils are doing you more harm than good.

Contributing editors: Diana Archer-Mills, Sarah Wakeman BSc. Biology PGDip. Food science, Kris Gunnars.

Heading up our nutrition project is Dr. Jackie Mills (B Phys Ed, MBCh B, Dip Obstetrics), a specialist in nutritional medicine, an obstetrician and general medical practitioner. Jackie completed her post-graduate studies in nutrition at the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and has practiced nutritional medicine for 25 years. As Les Mills’ Chief Creative Officer, Jackie is responsible for the development of all LES MILLS™ exercise programs.

As well as nutrition education, Les Mills also creates nutrition products. In line with our philosophies we offer a simple, closer-to-source protein with no added sugars. Check out LES MILLS™ Good Protein here.

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