A large population of people believe that the way to losing weight and gaining good health is through eating low-fat and/or fat-free foods. Ironically, while we Americans are eating less fat, we Americans are getting fatter! Interestingly enough, the 2006 Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial showed that women on low-fat diets didn’t lose any more weight than women who followed their usual diets.

Low-fat and fat-free foods are very convenient – and they just sound so healthy! Grocery shelves are lined with food labels hyping low-fat cakes, cookies, desserts, etc. Understand that because the manufacturer advertises that their product is low-fat or fat-free, it does not mean that it is healthy! What these foods lack in fat means most times, the product provides most of the calories from sugar and high-calorie refined carbohydrates and very little, if any, vitamins and minerals. Foods that contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat will send you on the roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. In addition, the extra sugar you eat in these "fat free" foods is converted to triglycerides – a type of fat in your blood - which ultimately raise your risk of cardiovascular disease. Not so great for an attempt at a "healthy choice." Triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and later released for energy between meals. However, if your intake of calories is more than you burn, you may have high triglycerides! If you want to lower your triglycerides, substitute green leafy vegetables, which have a low-glycemic index, for sugars and grains – and there are no toxic effects. One last note on triglycerides: extensive research suggests that a low-fat diet will produce a result opposite to the desired effect – triglyceride levels will actually INCREASE!

Fats are vital to help in the body’s functions, but you need to keep in mind as you buy foods, that the fats to stay away from are the saturated fats and the trans fats. You don’t need to eat saturated fat because our bodies can produce all the saturated fat that we need when we consume enough of the good fats. Trans fats were developed to keep food from spoiling, but they raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases your risk of coronary heart disease, as well as they lower HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

The best fats are monounsaturated fats which come primarily from plants oils; i.e. canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil. Other great sources are found in avocados, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are also considered a “good” fat and can be found in sunflower, corn, soybean and flaxseed oils, and also in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds and fish. This fat family includes the Omega-3 group of fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, and your body doesn’t manufacture these.

To make sure you are truly buying the foods that are healthy for you, check the nutrition label before you buy. If you don’t, you might be getting more than you bargained for!

Symtrimics is an educational program. It is not intended as medical care, medical evaluation or medical treatment. For medical care, please consult your physician.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Kelly Sennholz is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Symtrimics LLC, a Physician Prescribed Wellness Program. She has been instrumental in creating excellent health for thousands of patients and transforming medical practices to true sources of health. Symtrimics allows doctors to once again feel satisfaction in their medical practice and real relationships with their patients. Go to www.symtrimics.com to learn more about the 5 Symtrimics programs and to be referred to a wellness physician.