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Full Fat foods vs Low Fat. A forever ongoing debate as to which one is healthier and better for you.

Often when I see the words “Low Fat” or “99% fat free” etc, I wonder what it is that makes them this way. How do they take the fat out of the food? Usually, they have to add more salt, sugar and additives to make it low fat. In fact, low fat alternatives really are low in fat, but they are quite often higher in other bad stuff than the regular version.

Many people think low in fat means it’s a perfect food for their diet, that they wont put on weight. However a diet low in refined carbohydrates but high in healthy fats is the best way to prevent weight gain and aid weight loss.

In fact, research conducted by the FDA at Cornell University showed that these low-fat labels lead all consumers to overeat. Not only because of the way that this tricks people into believing that they can eat more of this kind of food for the same amount of calories, but also because including fats in your daily diet will slow down absorption so that we can last longer between meals. Opting for the lower fat version won’t produce this effect and you will be hungry again soon after.

In some low fat products such as yoghurt, you will often find added sugars, or stabilisers like tapioca starch or rice starch to help thicken the product., so the carbohydrate content can be higher than a regular full fat version.

Added sugars are not good for anyone, but especially not for children. You might recall recently that the recommended average daily sugar intake for children was lowered to 25g (Approximately 100 calories), based on recommendation from the American Heart Association.

The ongoing problem of childhood and adult obesity has largely been attributed to an excessive intake of sugar in our diets. However, many studies have also linked excessive sugar intake to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, difficulty concentrating and rapid tooth decay.

Sugar is quickly transformed to glucose in the body, and when taken in large amounts, can cause neurons in the brain to alter their firing rate and manifest disruptive behaviour in children. In fact, studies have also found sugar to be as addictive as cocaine or heroin.

Excessive intake of sugar can weaken our immune systems by creating an imbalance in the digestive tract between good and bad bacteria. This system protects us from infection, but excess sugar will stop if from functioning properly. It actually assists the uncontrolled growth of bacteria and fungi, in particular the fungus that causes thrush!

In many cases, it’s a better option to check the nutritional information on packaging and weigh up the differences in sugar and salt, than the levels of fat. Fat metabolises in your body and leaves less room for carbohydrates. Looking at it from a fat loss perspective, the more fat that you eat will optimise your ability to lose weight. This is because insulin is produced at higher levels when you intake more carbs, and is in charge of nutrient partitioning. When your insulin levels are low, your body is more readily able to access fat stores and use them as a source of energy.

Maybe next time, picking up that full fat option will be better, and you can educate your children about why you are picking the full fat option.

By teaching your children healthy eating habits, and modelling these behaviours in yourself, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Also, the eating habits your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.

Have you talked to your kids about their fat intake? Share with us below.

Image source Shutterstock.

  • I believe that full fat is more natural.

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  • I buy UHT milk because I use very little unless I have visitors. Because of a medical condition I was advised to use Skim or Semi Skim. Beware that some that are labelled Lite have the same amount of fat in them but have less salt.
    A lot of foods labelled low fat are are highter in carbohydrates (they convert to sugar) or salt.
    What isn’t mentioned in this article is the fact that there is good and bad fats.

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  • interesting article…always thought it was better to have low/no fat.

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  • This has actually been something thats been of strong interest to me lately. My diabetic friend has had to start using insulin and so needs to balance their sugars and carbs and its been discovered that certain foods he thought were good are not,.

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  • I only buy full fat yoghurts for my family. They taste better and are better for us instead of getting all the extra sugar.

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  • Full fat is better in the long run as it sustains your appetite and no fat or low fat always invariably has added sugars which the body does not need!

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  • This was a really informative article. When I was on Weight Watchers we were encouraged to look at all low-fat options. It’s what I do, but in the past years my weight has increased. I may look at reverting back to full fat in some instances. My teen son is studying subjects at school that look at food and how they effect your body so he’s really into sharing that info at the moment and understanding it better.

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  • Very interesting, I usually look for low fat will have to rethink this

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  • companies could reduce sugar etc but then either the alternatives cause cancer or no-one buys the product because it won’t taste as good. eat as clean and natural as possible and reduce sugar right there.

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  • full fat all the way – everything in moderation, and exercise!

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  • Thanks for your article,l do prefer low-fat and always have!

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  • A very interesting article. I never buy the low fat versions of food. After reading this article, I’m surely not going to change my mind. :-)

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  • Yes we keep an eye on fats, sugars and salts, and additives


    • me too read and read some more.

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  • I enjoy the taste of full fat rather than low fat. My problem is portion control.

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  • Amen, totally agree with this article !! And yes, we talk about what is healthy and good for our bodies and not with our kids.

    Reply

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