Effectiveness of the low-fat diet

July 05, 2021

Something very common when we go on a diet is to reduce the intake of fat in our diet to reduce energy intake, but does it work?

First of all, what is fat and why reduce its caloric intake in my diet?

Fats are nutrients that are present in food and are used by the body to produce nerve tissue and hormones. We could say that fats are fuel for the body. However, if the fat we take in is not burned as energy or used to build components of the body, it accumulates and the well-known adipose (fat) cells appear. The logic of our body is to store fat in case food becomes scarce in the future.

And if it is so fattening and we don’t want it, why do we like it so much? Grilling fills food with flavor and texture, and makes it appealing to all the senses. We should not fall too much in the deception of these, because a diet high in fats can cause serious health problems.

Types of fats: are there healthy fats?

Eating enough healthy fats is essential for growth and development, especially for children. To include fat in your diet in a conscious and healthy way, it is necessary to know the different types of fats in food:

Unsaturated fats: We can find them in plants and fish. They are considered neutral fats and even beneficial for the heart. We are talking about monounsaturated fats, mainly present in olive oil and avocados; polyunsaturated fats, present in vegetable oils; and Omega 3 fatty acids, present in fish such as tuna and salmon.
Saturated fats: We can find them in meat and other animal products, such as margarine, butter, cheese and milk. Excessive intake of saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol and thus increase the risk of heart disease.
Trans fats: These are present in snack foods, baked goods and commercially fried foods. Trans fats or trans fatty acids are produced when vegetable oils are hydrogenated, and can increase cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fats are very easy to identify, as manufacturers must include a food label where they are specified.
types of fats.

So, should I eat a low-fat diet?

Well, it depends. It is true that high-fat diets are the cause and origin of many cases of obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or hypertension. This is why the medical recommendations during the last decades for people with excess weight has been a low-fat diet, in which these do not exceed 30% of the total calories consumed.

However, in recent years many experts have raised their voices against the generalization of this type of diet, why? Simple, there is a genetic predisposition that low-fat diets do not work the same for all body types.

Genetic predisposition and effectiveness of the low-fat diet.

As a general rule and according to the World Health Organization, in a balanced and healthy diet it is recommended to reduce total fat intake to less than 30% of daily caloric intake. In addition, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of saturated fats to less than 10% of daily caloric intake and to replace these fats with unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).

A low-fat diet restricts fat intake to 20% while increasing protein intake from 20-25% to 40%, and decreasing the proportion of carbohydrates (whose general recommendation is 55-60%).

But did you know that there is a genetic predisposition that measures your sensitivity to fat and low-fat diets? Yes, numerous large-scale weight loss studies have found that people with variations in genes associated with fat sensitivity (such as FTO, PPARG, PPM1K) respond better to a low-fat diet.

If you want to know your sensitivity to fats and low-fat diets, you only need to take a genetic test to analyze your DNA in depth and to focus your diet on those foods and diets that best suit your metabolism. The Cross DNA team offers you a complete study.

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