If you have watched a TV commercial for any food product, or set foot in any grocery store in the last 6 decades, I’m sure you’ve noticed how many products are advertized as being “low fat,” “reduced fat,” or “fat free.” The aim of these claims is to make the product look healthier. The implication is that eating fat causes people to become fat.

But if you’ve paid any attention to the alarming health statistics, you know our country has been getting fatter and fatter, despite the increased sales of “low fat” foods. Why is this? Because eating fat DOES NOT make you fat. Eating fat, healthy fat, is good for your brain, nerves, digestive system and your skin and hair.

Food is only composed of three basic components, known as macronutrients. They are fat, protein and carbohydrate. Any time a food manufacturer makes a version of a food with less fat, there has to be more of something else. Since protein is the most expensive kind of food, you had better believe that every “low fat” food is correspondingly higher in carbohydrate. And here’s the kicker: eating carbohydrates makes you fat. Of course, I’m simplifying things here, but if you are concerned about how your diet impacts your waistline, a basic tenant would be that refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and sugar are the most fattening things you can eat.

When I select a kind of cheese, yogurt, or meat, I always get the whole fat version. The lower fat version will have less flavor, and despite what the label implies, it will make you fatter!

The following excellent blog post describes 10 reasons you want healthy fats in your diet, and #4 does a great job of describing the importance (yes, you read that correctly, the importance) of cholesterol to your health. It even provides a link to the Berkeley-based acupuncturist Chris Kresser and his free excellent newsletter.

10 Reasons Why Low Fat is NOT High Nutrition