The Low-Fat Is A Lie: Why Low-Fat Cheeses, Ice Cream And Cookies Are Arguably Worse For You Than The Real Thing
There is a psychological secret about humans that some restaurant owners have figured out: we claim we want more choices in everything, but this isn’t really true. If we are offered too many choices, our brains seize up and we become paralyzed, “debilitated by choice,” in the words of Professor Sheena Iyengar, a researcher who has studied choice for two decades.
You could make a pretty solid argument that the modern grocery store in the western world has the makings of debilitating choice-palace, then, especially in this hyper-health-conscious age.
Given all the options in everything from ketchup to tea to crackers, how can the discerning shopper really know what is the healthiest choice and what is mere bogus advertising gimmickry?
One place we can start clarifying is the low-fat section, especially when it comes to low-fat cheese.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has concluded that basically, low-fat cheese is a waste of time and money. The study showed that eating regular fat cheese versus the low-fat variety has no significant effect on your levels of LDL or bad cholesterol.
In fact, the study clearly points people toward making the full-fat choice: regular cheese is actually better for your HDL or good cholesterol than the non-fat kind.
We have been so overwhelmed with the now dated notion that fat is the culprit behind heart disease and a host of other diseases that these lingering prejudices simply hang on long past their proper expiration date.
Indeed when the researchers from the University of Copenhagen undertook the low-fat/regular fat cheese study, they no doubt expected some sort of correlation between higher fat cheese eating and increased risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which mean increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
What they found however was quite the opposite: when it comes to LDL or bad cholesterol there was no difference over the course of the 12-week study.
Another myth worth debunking when it comes to full-fat versus no or low fat choices is sweets. It may sound like you’re doing yourself and your waistline a favor when you switch from full fat ice cream to low fat frozen yogurt in advance of swimsuit season. however, the trade-off is quite unpleasant in reality: just one cup of fat-free frozen yogurt contains about 40 grams of sugar.
As a result, you can easily end up eating more calories, as the added sugar fires up your appetite, and the feeling of satiety doesn’t stick with you as long as a slower digesting, full-fat cup of ice cream would.
This isn’t to say that saturated fats are problem free. But when you buy something that is a low-fat or no-fat version of something, read the labels carefully side by side. You are very likely to find a ton of sugar in the less fatty version.
And for god’s sake, go enjoy some real cheese, courtesy of those Danish researchers!