7 year study proves: Eat fat to lose weight

Do you remember the days when you thought fat-free frozen yogurt, egg beaters, margarine and other “low-fat” or “cholesterol-free” foods were health foods? Don’t worry… you weren’t alone.

But hopefully your low-fat dieting, calorie-counting days are long gone — because these diets are based on outdated science.

Sure, doctors have been pushing diets like these since the late seventies as the only remedy to obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol.

But the latest research proves that these diets are basically pointless when it comes to losing weight and staying healthy.

For example…

Researchers from the University of Barcelona in Spain have been studying low-fat, low calorie diets for years, and they’ve found that these diets promote an unhealthy fear of the healthy fats you really should be eating, and at the same time, provide very little benefit.

According to their research, people who suffered through a low-fat diet over a seven year period experienced a greater increase in waist circumference than people enjoying a diet higher in fat. Researchers also found that people eating a high-fat diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet.

Of course, you can’t just eat any high-fat diet and expect to experience these type of benefits. The key to a diet including high-fat foods that is actually good for you is knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats.

“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,” said lead author of the study Dr. Ramon Estruch.

You may have noticed that this sounds a lot like the Mediterranean diet — because that’s exactly what it is…

According to researchers, the Mediterranean diet is the healthy fat diet that truly puts you on the path to better health and a smaller waist.

Researchers compared low-fat, low-calorie diets to two versions of the Mediterranean diet. One version was an unrestricted calorie Mediterranean diet that was rich in olive oil, and the other version was an unrestricted calorie Mediterranean diet that was rich in nuts.

Those who ate the olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet experienced the most weight loss, while those who at the nut-rich Mediterranean diet had the lowest waist circumference as the end of seven years.

And of course, both versions of the Mediterranean diet provided more benefits than the low-fat diet…

So now that there’s more proof that low-fat diets don’t work, the question remains: Will this put an end to the illogical fear of healthy, high-fat foods that causes people to turn to extremely processed low-fat and fat-free alternatives instead?

Researchers and nutrition experts from across the globe hope so.

“We must abandon the myth that lower-fat, lower-calorie products lead to less weight gain,” said Professor Dariush Mozaffarian from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, who commented on the study. “This illusion leads to paradoxical policies that focus on total calories, rather than food quality, on restaurant menus; ban whole milk but allow sugar-sweetened fat-free milk; compel food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants to remove healthy vegetable-derived fats from meals and products while heavily marketing fat-reduced products of dubious health value; and mislead consumers to select foods based on total fat and calorie contents rather than actual health effects.”

  1. Estruch, M. A. Martínez-González, D.Corella, J. Salas-Salvadó, et al. “Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference: a prespecified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomised controlled trial.” — The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.