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Does low-fat actually mean less healthy?

Since the 1970s, there has been an argument that low-fat diets are better for your health.

Updated: December 6, 2020
low-fat diet
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: August 12, 2020

Low-Fat Diet | However, a new review finds that there is no evidence to support that conclusion.

Zoe Harcombe, researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of the West of Scotland, and her colleagues reported in the journal OpenHeart that the conclusion in 1977 that low-fat diets translate to fewer cases of heart disease or can save lives had no evidentiary support.

“The bottom line is that there wasn’t evidence for those guidelines to be introduced,” said Harcombe. “One of the most important things that should have underpinned the guidelines is sound nutritional knowledge, and that was distinctly lacking.” 

Since the conclusion in 1977, the United States communicated the first guidelines on dietary fat and has since stuck to the idea that eating less fat is healthier. There was evidence gathered that when the guidelines were set and backed by health experts, physicians were supposed to communicate that cutting 30 percent of your daily total caloric intake and cutting saturated fat would help improve your health. 

However, Harcombe says that the statistic was never tested or proven. The American Heart Association has gradually revised its guidelines over the years as more evidence found in studies contradicted this low-fat equals healthier idea. Harcombe argues that the focus on fat and the decrease in consuming it has caused the health of Americans to decrease as we replace fats with carbohydrates, which may do more harm to the heart than cholesterol from red meat and dairy. 

Read more about “Where Dietary-Fat Guidelines Went Wrong” in Time Magazine. 





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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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