Low-Fat, Full-Fat, Fat-Free – What’s Good?


We have been bombarded with information telling us that low-fat is the best and that full-fat or even minimally fat food is dangerous for health! The truth, in fact is that the right kind of fat is actually a lot healthier than the so-called low-fat food! Now what is this right kind of fat and where can we get it from? The good fats are those that are present in cheese, ghee, milk, nuts. These help in improving HDL (good cholesterol), improving body's fat burning capacity, helping keep skin wrinkle free, lubricating the joints to name a few benefits.

What is the difference between a low-fat food and a full-fat food?

When we eat "low-fat or zero-fat” foods we miss noticing the fact that these foods also contain refined carbohydrates and sugar which, as we all know is nothing but empty calories which does the body no good, gives no benefit of nutrients. This leads to a calorie deficit which leads to a sugar craving. Additionally, the excess sodium present in these foods ends up making you feel bloated, add to it the artificial chemicals and emulsifiers that become an extra burden for the liver. As a result, the liver stops its main role of fat burning and concentrates on various other things. In order to have a glowing, healthy skin, we need to have a well‐functioning cardiovascular and hormonal system. So, to burn that stubborn fat, you need to choose what you eat wisely.

What should you avoid and what should you eat?

We need the essential acids like omega 3 and omega 6 which you can find in ghee, coconut oil, sesame oil, cottage cheese. It has been noted that consuming fat actually decreases the rate of conversion of the food to fat.

Well, none of us would believe if someone came and told us fats are actually healthy. Yes we do need fat for our daily activities, for hormone production, for good skin etc. But we all want to believe that low-fat is the best, eating food low in fat will not make us gain weight. But we see that many people on such diets are actually hungry and starving all the time! Let me tell you a true story - my brother who gained about 20 kgs when he moved to the US for his higher studies (at this time he ate junk n more junk like pizza n fries), lost 5 kgs in a month with minimal change in diet. All he did was drink full-fat milk, eat fresh food and some exercise. Can you believe it?


Well, you can note that you will actually be more energetic if you are having food to your fill. You will have lesser craving for sweet and junk (snacks) and your digestion will improve drastically.

Point to ponder: Just for comparison, it was found that on comparing full fat and low fat products of the same food, the calorie content does not differ much between the two. This does not justify the higher consumption of such food items.

Have you ever wondered, that even after eating just minimally, keeping those fats out of your diet, exercising regularly you still aren’t able to knock off those extra kilos you gained over time?

One reason why people are scared of fat is that their calorie value is higher when compared to carbohydrates and proteins. So, automatically, when someone says low-fat people are inclined to think it is lesser on the calorie which unfortunately is untrue.

But we also need to note another important point. If the food we consumed was to be used only for energy, we can make changes but the functions of the basic macronutrients are not just energy, they have other functions as well, important ones at that. Fats are essential for building and repairing tissues that the body is made up of.

So, how do we get out of this mess?

 First and foremost, READ the nutrition and content info on the product.

See how much the calorie count for that product is. As mentioned, avoid the food if it says low fat or zero fat or skimmed.

Be aware of serving sizes, there are many websites available to help you understand appropriate serving sizes

Limit the amount of food you are eating and try not to overeat. E.g., scoop out some ice-cream into a small bowl and settle down to eat rather than sitting down in front of the TV with the entire tub of ice cream.

Eating full-fat food items keep you satiated much longer; it was found in a research that the ingredients used by manufacturers to make these low-fat foods actually can induce more hunger and thus letting you overeat! So you see, this is what we have been telling all this while! Fat is good, eat it but limit the portion sizes. Exercise well and be committed to your diet/exercise plan, you will reach the goal faster than you would have thought!


Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University

Thank Your Body with Robin Konie


Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.


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