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The low-fat diet is over-rated for many reasons…a case in point is how it is attributed to the successful management of obesity, the metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes.
I recently attended a webinar on the topic of type-2 diabetes and it’s subsequent management with lifestyle intervention. I was very disappointed when the party line of a low-fat diet was recommended to manage type-2 diabetes, prevent obesity and overweight. The research simply no longer supports this notion!
If you apply the principle of reverse engineering to this, the answer becomes quite obvious. Our global society is not developing this metabolic disease because they are consuming too much fat or total calories. Our global village is developing this syndrome because people are consuming the wrong types of calories and are almost completely inactive.
Humans did not simply develop the type of metabolic machinery to handle the quantities of refined carbohydrates that people injest on a daily basis. The resultant effects upon insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and fat gain are a testiment to the types of diets people are regularly consuming.
Some recent evidence regarding low-fat diets and weight gain are, once again suggesting that this is not really the direction we should be going to manage this epidemic.
New research published in the Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology Journal has shown that a non-calorie restricted diet high in vegetable fats including olive oil and nuts (the Mediterranean diet) did not lead to any significant degree of weight gain compared with a standard low-fat diet in the study participants.
The results of this study clearly dispute the notion that a low-calorie, low-fat diet is the optimum manner to manage this chronic condition which was reached global pandemic categorization. The current study looked at participants from 11 hospitals (7447 participants) in Spain from 2003-2010. There were three groups ramdomized to either: unresicted calorie diet high in olive oil, unrestricted calorie diet high in nuts or a low fat diet where all dietary fat was prohibited.
All participants were at high risk for cardiovascular disease, had type-2 diabetes and over 90% were classified as being obese. After 5 years…..this is what was found.
Total fat intake had been reduced in the low-fat group (40-37%), fat intake increased modestly in the mediterranean diets as but the total cabohydrate and protein intake had dropped. Participants in all three groups lost weight, with the olive oil group losing the most weight. What is also interesting was the waist circumference (a measure of insulin resistance) increased in the low-fat group relative to the other two groups who consumed higher amounts of fat and were not calorically-restricted.
According to one noted nutritional expert:
“The fat content of foods and diets is simply not a useful metric to judge long-term harms or benefits. Energy density and total caloric contents can be similarly misleading. Rather, modern scientific evidence supports an emphasis on eating more calories from fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, fish, yoghurt, phenolic-rich vegetable oils, and minimally processed whole grains; and fewer calories from highly processed foods rich in starch, sugar, salt, or trans-fat. We ignore this evidence– including these results from the PREDIMED trial–at our own peril.”
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project