low-fat or no-fat diet

It may sound sensible on the surface. You want to achieve some fat loss, so you eat a "low fat" or "no fat" diet. This kind of eating regimen has been promoted for decades as the answer for achieving free-flowing arteries and a body that is slim and trim. Food companies have jumped on the bandwagon and produced thousands of products that are lower in fat than their regular counterparts. You can even see items that never had fat in them in the first place like jelly beans or salsa with large-print labels screaming "Non-Fat!"

Remember the brand of cookies called Snack Wells? They were labeled low fat, and it's true that they did have less fat than many kinds of cookies. But they had hardly less calories, because they were full of sugar. Unsuspecting dieters consumed them in large amounts, and were often stunned to see that they experienced no fat loss and even gained weight, even though they were eating less fat.

Despite the fact that doctors have been recommending low fat diets for more than twenty years and the media hype has been almost hysterical, the average weight of people in the US has continued to rise, rather than shrink. There has not been a noticeable drop in the number of folks diagnosed with heart disease during this time period, either, so what is going on?

Attempting to eat a very low-fat or no-fat diet, as a way to achieve fat loss, does not work for several reasons.

1)Our bodies need some kinds of beneficial fats to function smoothly.

2)The fat in our food keeps us feeling full and satisfied, and therefore acts as a natural appetite control.

3)Leaving out fat also means leaving out a lot of protein and substituting with foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Farmers have known for years that they can make their livestock fat by feeding them lots of grain and restricting their exercise. The same is true for humans, as it turns out. So, it is very likely that a low fat diet will not result in fat loss and it may even encourage weight gain.

Let's look at some of the advantages our bodies get from dietary fat for a moment. Many studies have been done in recent years in the US and Europe which indicate that particular fatty acids are vital to good health. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, (EFA's) for example, are crucial for maintaining the nervous system, producing healthy skin and hair, promoting cellular growth and keeping the immune system strong. The brain is 70% fat, and the fats in a person's diet also affect hormone levels. EFA's have even been shown to reduce the number of heart arrhythmias that folks experience. These are the very dangerous variations in heart rate that can cause people to die suddenly from a heart attack. So you can see that people who eliminate most or all of the fat from their diets are running the risk of robbing themselves of some great benefits.

What About Cholesterol?

We have all heard about the dangers of having a high cholesterol level. If you are trying to combat this problem by eliminating the fat from your diet, however, you may run into problems because diets that contain a lot of carbohydrates can actually reduce the HDL or "good" cholesterol in the blood and contribute to an increase in the dangerous fats known as triglycerides. That's why many physicians are now stressing the importance of getting enough EFA's and other types of unsaturated fats to maintain these important body functions.

Researchers have discovered that people who eat a 1200 calorie diet that is composed of less than 30 percent fat have much more trouble sticking to their eating plan than those who eat the same amount of calories with a higher percentage of fat. While human beings are very complicated, and the reasons behind such findings can be hard to pinpoint, it is believed that this happens because dietary fat helps us determine when we are full. Anyone who feels satisfied after a meal is much less likely to snack during the hours that follow, and a reasonable amount of fat contributes to that full feeling.

It is also true that fat digests more slowly than carbohydrates, so we are prone to fewer hunger pangs after we have consumed some fat, than if the meal was made up mostly of carbs. If you have heard the old adage that Chinese food makes you hungry again a short time after you finish eating it, it could be because many Asian dishes are composed of high-carbohydrate ingredients. They are quickly burned as fuel, and leave you wanting more.

Deprivation Often Leads to Slow Weight Loss

Because our bodies are so wonderfully made, they can sense a reduction in our fat and calorie intake almost as soon as we start a new diet. Most people will report that they lose weight for a short period of time when they start a weight-reduction plan, no matter what plan they follow. But the amount of weight that is lost usually begins to slow and sometimes stop altogether as the diet continues.

This is most likely because our bodies see a reduction in calories as a signal that we are entering a famine. Therefore, every calorie is held tightly as a defense against starvation. While this mechanism undoubtedly worked well for ancient people who could not depend on a steady supply of food, it does not help those of us in modern societies who are interested in fat loss.

We need to "trick" our bodies into continuing to burn the food we eat at a steady rate. That's where an eating plan like Fat Loss 4 Idiots can really help. Rather than depriving yourself of fat in your diet, you should check out this method of encouraging fat loss by eating foods that are sure to keep your metabolism humming and your weight dropping.

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