Food for Thought: Why Low-Fat Diets Can Make You Sick

| 4/26/2010 4:10:22 PM


Stephanie Small
Stephanie Small is founder of Three Sisters Nutrition, a phone-based practice helping women improve their relationship with food, and blogs for holistic weight loss site 9 Weight Loss.

Remember how trendy low-fat was in the 1970s and 80s? When I was growing up, my house featured fat-free everything. As a teen, I scorned cheese (unless it was on pizza), never ate nuts, and rarely indulged in a full-fat ice cream. Once I started cooking for myself, I used fat-free spray on the pan whenever I sautéed veggies. Needless to say, my dinners didn't taste too good!

And I didn't feel well. I needed glasses by the third grade. By high school my skin was a wreck and my moods were unstable. A diet low in fat and high in refined carbs and sugar meant my energy and health suffered.

Looking back, I wonder if my rampant sugar addiction was due at least in part to the fact that I simply wasn't getting enough fat. Not only does the stuff satiate you, but it's incredibly nourishing as well.

These days, I am a pro-fat crusader. Some of my clients are leery of this important macronutrient. They're still buying into the old myth that "eating fat makes you fat." It doesn't. Sugar makes you fat. High fructose corn syrup makes you fat. Refined carbs make you fat. Stress makes you fat, and lack of sleep and exercise make you fat. But fat, the macronutrient, has been unfairly demonized, and I'm here to redeem it.