Trans Fats and Low Fat Diets

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Trans Fats are a form of unsaturated fat, but because of their different molecular arrangement they have a very different biological effect.  There is  no evidence of trans fats contributing to positive health and have been linked to several negative health effects.  These effects include diabetes and heart disease, and they can occur with a very small amount of consumption. (Derbyshire)  I personally avoid consuming any trans fats.

Much of the research heretofore presented suggests that greater consumption of fat may be healthy.  I believe that fats have been unfairly treated and that consuming a large quantity of calories from fat is not dangerous.  However, there have been a variety of low fat diets that have purported to have certain health benefits.  There is some evidence to suggest that a severe restriction in the amount of fat consumed can contribute to lowered weight and body fat.  This is with a reduction to approximately 7% of calories coming from fats (Lichtenstein and Van Horn 936).  These diets are very difficult for people to maintain, and furthermore may have other ramifications for health.  Replacing fat in the diet is often done with carbohydrates and this increased consumption of carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance which can contribute to diabetes and other metabolic disorders.  Low fat diets can easily lead to much greater problems than any health problems that fats may contribute to.  Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that people who consume reduced fat items will end up consuming more calories at the next meal (Lichtenstein and Van Horn 937).

Furthermore, when on a low fat diet there is an incredible need to be extraordinarily conscious about your food decisions in order to ensure that appropriate nutrients are consumed.  The obsession with required to maintain one of these diets borders on mental illness, and in some cases can even be considered Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.  Additionally there are many questions about potential problems including “compromised absorption of fat soluble vitamins, impact of increased dietary fiber on the absorption of other micronutrients, and potential risk for iatrogenic malnutrition” (Lichtenstein and Van Horn 937).  These diets that are designed for health may actually contribute to significant health problems.  For a long time low-fat diets were thought to help with certain types of cancer, however, now it appears that reduction of fat in women did not reduce incidence of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and their weights were the same (Low-Fat Diet Not a Cure-All).  So not only does reducing your consumption of fat have potentially harmful effects, it also does not have beneficial effects.  Diets low in fat have been advocated for without adequate support.

References:

Derbyshire, Emma. “Trans fats: implications for health.” Nursing Standard 27.3 (2012): 51-56.

—. Low-Fat Diet Not a Cure-All. n.d. Harvard School of Public Health. Web. 30 April 2015.

Lichtenstein, Alice H and Linda Van Horn. “Very Low Fat Diets.” Circulation (1998): 935-939. Web.

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