When trying to lose weight, one of the first things that we are told to do is to cut out high-fat food. Public health campaigns and articles promote this idea, and as a result many people will avoid foods with high-fat content. Supermarkets make this easy, giving us a ‘low-fat’ alternative to nearly every product.
But in reality, many of the products marketed as ‘low in fat’ or ‘light’ contain the same number of calories and have more sugar than the high-fat option. This is a huge problem! We are fooled into picking the unhealthy option under the pretence that we are eating healthier foods!
A recent study showed that people regularly under-estimate the amount of calories in low-fat foods and over-estimate the calories in high-fat foods by a whopping 35%. How unfair is it that even when we consciously try to improve our diets, the mislabelling by food companies is stopping us.
If I am going out of my way to choose the healthy option, I want it to actually be the healthy option!
Actually, we should not be completely avoiding foods high in fat, as fat is a necessary part of our diet. Our brains are made up of a mainly fats, so our dietary fat intake influences our mental state. Evidence even suggests that increased fat consumption can prevent disorders of cognitive function.
It is important to state that these studies are mainly talking about good fats. Monounsaturated fats have been associated with enhanced memory, learning and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. So despite what we are lead to believe, fats are not all bad. By all means exclude saturated fats, but it is encouraged to increase intake of healthier fats such as eggs, avocado, olive oil. Plus, natural fats are totally delicious and can turn a boring meal into a taste sensation. I have spent so much time this week experimenting with avocados that the man at vegetable market has been saving me the biggest and ripest ones each day…I think it’s safe to say we have bonded.