We are more than ever bewildered by the basic question of which food to eat. Most medical professionals are out there to advise people on what to eat in the wake of the global obesity crisis – which is getting worse every day. Health misconceptions are interesting since people are aware of the effect of their diet on their bodies. Many dietary theories are proven or tested by the prevalence of diet-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity. Many people believe that these misconceptions are real without knowing that they are further endangering their own wellbeing, which they are seeking to change. Of these dietary misconceptions, certain ingredients get bad press than others. Many people think that consuming fats increases fat in the body, while other thinks that some foods heaps in burning fats and improving weight lose. These diet misconceptions have become a motivation to evaluate the most common diet myth that ‘low-fat diets are healthy’.
The diet myth commonly encountered is that low-fat foods are healthy for human body. Many people are unaware that low-fat diets are profoundly stuffed detrimental misconceptions. This myth is widely accepted in our society that low-fat diets are good for lowering the level of cholesterol in the body. It has not been exactly known why people are still clinging on this food myth. This low-fat diet myth was actually met at home since my parents were trying to avoid foods with too much fat citing health concerns. The myth did not stop at choosing low-fat diets, but to a point of preferring ‘low-cholesterol’ cooking oil to cooking fat. However, this myth was everywhere in the society that low-fat foods were healthier, as they contained low calories. No one could actually think that these were just myths. Fortunately, I became skeptic about this diet myth upon seeing the studies that obesity crisis is continuing to worsen despite consumption of low-fat diets. In this respect, I have laid out an effective research strategy to educate myself regarding this myth. First, I would find relevant and credible sources of information to educate myself on the skepticism regarding the common diet myth that low-fat foods are good for our bodies. Second, I would categorize the sources based on the origin of this myth and how to it has evolved in the society, the facts, and the truth engulfing this myth.
This diet myth has evolved and become accepted in the society in an interesting way (Ludwig 1). Ludwig wrote an article to enlighten the readers of the misconceptions about low-fat diets by refuting the associated myth. He argues that this diet myth has its origin in the 1990s when the government of the day, including all main professional nutrition associations, recommended that all people beyond infancy period to consume low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet, in spite of the lack of high-credible scientific evidence of these recommendations. Following this recommendation, many food industries have been replacing fat in the diet with sugar and starch and labeling it as “low-fat’. Bobrow has another version of origin of this diet myth (1). He argues that in 1970s, doctors were aghast when Robert Aktins proposed a weight loss diet plan with high-protein and high-fat contents. However, by 1961, countries with higher rates of heart diseases were consuming high-fat diets from animal sources, but these countries were selectively used in the study to support such hypothesis and omitted other countries with different findings.
The low-fat diets are not healthy as people have been thinking for a long time, as confirmed by many studies. One of the studies was written by Tobias et al. (969), which tried to investigate whether low-fat diets were healthier than carbohydrates. The study confirmed my skepticism on the truth in the claim that low-fat diets are healthier. According to Tobias et al., the foods that are labeled as “low-fat” are actually making people fatter. The study found that the weight loss was more effective on higher-fat diet than low-fat diet. Bobrow (1) has the same ideas that low-fat diets are healthy for out body. He starts by arguing that our body does not necessarily reflect what we consume. The idea was meant to revoke out thinking that if we consume high-fat foods our body would become fat. Robert completely detached my deeply held thinking regarding cholesterol. He argued that the dietary cholesterol, however much it may be, does not generally increase our body cholesterol because most of cholesterol of the body is independently secreted in the liver. The same ironical perspective is true about fat.
Additionally, there have been misconceptions that saturated fat foods increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease, more so atherosclerosis. De Oliveira Otton et al. conducted a study involving 5209 participants over ten-year period to investigate whether high-fat diets (dairy products) led to higher incidence of atherosclerosis (398). The study found that the intake of highly saturated fat diet (dairy) was attributed to low risk of atherosclerosis disease. Berkey et al. investigated how reduced-fat milk impacted their weight status (544). Their study found that the low-fat milk was attributed to the weight gain, which the high-fat milk was not. These findings further disapproved this diet myth since it is completely opposite of what society has long held that low-fat diet is healthy.
In conclusion, the major diet myth ever encountered, which many people have taken as truth, is that low-fat diet is healthy in terms of weight management. The diet myth came as a result of studies conducted on few selected nations in several decades ago that was aimed at confirming the hypothesis (diet myth). Many food companies have gone extra mile to label sugary and starchy products as “low-fat” – one of the causes of a global obesity crisis. However, credible studies have revealed that low-fat diets are not healthy as they contribute to increase in weight and risk of cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis), contrary to the common knowledge. Thus, there is no doubt that this diet myth is disapproved beyond any reasonable doubt. Totally busted!
Berkey, Catherine S., Helaine R. H. Rockett, and Walter C. Willett. “Milk, Dairy Fat, Dietary Calcium, and Weight Gain: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescents.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, vol. 159, no. 6, 2005, pp. 543-550.
Bobrow, Robert S. “Why Low-Fat Diets Make You Fat (And Unhealthy)”. The Huffington Post, 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-s-bobrow-md/why-low-fat-diets-make-you-fat-and-unhealthy_b_8506608.html. Accessed 17 Feb. 2017.
de Oliveira Otto, Marcia C., Dariush Mozaffarian, Daan Kromhout, Alain G. Bertoni, Christopher T. Sibley, David R Jacobs, Jr, and Jennifer A. Nettleton “Dietary Intake of Saturated Fat by Food Source and Incident Cardiovascular Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 96, no. 2, 2012, pp. 397-404.
Ludwig, David. “Doctor: Low-Fat Diets Stuffed with Misconceptions”. CNN, 2016, edition.cnn.com/2016/10/05/opinions/debate-low-fat-diet-ludwig/. Accessed 17 Feb. 2017.
Tobias, Deirdre K., Mu Chen, JoAnn E. Manson, David S. Ludwig, Walter Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Effect of Low-Fat Diet Interventions versus Other Diet Interventions on Long-Term Weight Change in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, vol. 3, no. 12, 2015, pp. 968-979.