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Myth-busting Monday

November 14, 2011

Welcome all for the first article of Myth-busting Monday by CakeNutrition! Every Monday we dissect a new health and nutrition myth to reveal the fact or fiction behind them. Have a myth you want me to investigate? Submit them to or post them as a comment!

The Myth: Low-Fat Diets are Best for Weight Loss and Health

Low-fat diets have been around for a long time and most people have tried them here or there. Also more recently, the low-fat concept has become integrated into our daily lives. Just take a walk through the grocery store and you will find shelves lined with foods labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” In terms of weight management, reducing your fat intake is a great way to cut calories because fat has over twice the amount that’s in protein or carbohydrates. But it appears that simply cutting your fat intake may not be optimal in terms of health or even weight loss.

A low fat diet is considered consuming less than 20% of your calories from fat – that’s 45-55g a day for a 2,000-2,500 calorie diet. However, intake this low has shown to have potential negative effects like decreasing testosterone in men! (1) Beyond that, Nordmann and colleagues reviewed 6 different scientific studies involving over 2,600 participants and showed that a Mediterranean diet – which focuses on healthy fat intake between 25-35% of total calories – may be more beneficial. In fact, the healthy fat diets yielded greater weight loss and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels compared to low fat diets. (2) It seems that substituting healthy fats for unhealthy fats in the diet is more beneficial than just reducing fat intake all together. Need another avenue to decrease calories? Try cutting saturated fat and carbohydrates for increased weight loss.

Piece of Cake . . . Nutrition

Add healthy fats and reduce calories in your diet by trying these simple substitutions:

– Almonds/walnuts instead of chips and dip

– Olive oil instead of butter or margarine

– Fish instead of red meat

– Use soy, almond, or reduced fat milk instead of 2% or whole

Thanks for reading! Check out my twitter @cakenutrition tomorrow where I will be tweeting everything I eat throughout the day and every Tuesday forward.

1. Wang, Christina et al. “Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 90.6 (2005): 3550-3559. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

2. Nordmann, Alain J et al. “Meta-analysis comparing Mediterranean to low-fat diets for modification of cardiovascular risk factors.” The American Journal of Medicine 124.9 (2011): 841-851.e2. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

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