This past Sunday, the Hello Doctor Show focussed on sleep, how to bake delicious treats with less sugar, how to beat bad breath and treat a cut, and Dr Mol busted some popular myths about fat-free/low-fat foods.
Are fat-free foods a good choice?
Your body needs fat to help it absorb and use protein properly. So all the egg whites in the world won’t help you out if you’re not eating them with some of the fats in the yolk to access that protein properly. Fats are actually a fantastic source of constant and smooth-burning energy, and they also slow food absorption, which helps with energy regulation as well.
So, if fats are so good for us, why are there so many fat-free food choices? Probably because fat contains double the calories per gram that carbs and proteins contain. However, just because a food is fat-free it doesn’t mean it is low in calories. Remember, when manufacturers remove the fat from a product, they need to replace it with something that will provide both flavour and texture. So what do they use? You guessed it, either salt or sugar!
Fat-free products, in most cases, end up providing more calories than the original product. What’s more, fat suppresses the hormone that makes us feel hungry, and at the same time triggers enzymes that make us feel full. To illustrate the point: in the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with about half (45%) of their calories. At that time, about 13% of adults were obese and less than 1% had type 2 diabetes. Today, Americans take in less fat, only a third of their calories, and yet 34% of adults are obese and 11% have diabetes.
One more thing…
Dietary guidelines seem to change each month, and you’d be forgiven for wanting to stop listening to them all and simply do your own thing. And you wouldn’t be alone in this thinking either. A recent survey found that over half the people surveyed were so confused by changing dietary advice that they believe it’s easier to figure out their income taxes than what they should eat. In truth, the core message of healthy eating hasn’t changed: the basic principles remain – eat a balanced diet, more of the good stuff (including fat) and less of the bad stuff. The news might change every day, but this message won’t!
Remember, if you’ve got any health related questions you want reliable answers to – get the FREE Hello Doctor App now, you can chat to a doctor right away.
See you next Sunday, on SABC2 at 14.30pm!