Conventional nutritional wisdom is often a major source of misinformation for people who are yet to experience the benefits of a more primal nutritional approach. Despite clear advancements in nutritional science, some of the old myths just won’t seem to die. Of all of the misconceptions caused by conventional nutritional wisdom, though, the most alarming is the idea that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet will lead to weight-loss, better health outcomes and disease-prevention.
Several decades ago, populations all over the world were advised to adopt a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, rich in plenty of “healthy grains.” Now for anyone who’s made the switch to a more Primal lifestyle, “healthy grains” should definitely start ringing some alarm bells (did someone say oxymoron?), but the reality of the situation is that grains and other carbohydrates make up a massive part of the Standard Australian Diet (SAD).
The entire “low-fat” concept was developed with good intentions; Governments all over the world wanted people to start eating a diet that would help them maintain a healthy lifestyle and would address the increasing rate of heart disease in many Western countries. The only problem was, not a single study at the time had demonstrated that a low-fat diet could help prevent heart disease or in any way lead to optimal health outcomes. So with absolutely no hard evidence of any health benefits, people all over the world were told to drastically cut down their intake of fat and increase their consumption of grains and other carbohydrate-heavy food.
And what happened as a result? Well, the obesity epidemic happened. Since we were given the advice to drop our fat intake and increase our consumption of grains and other carbs, the number of unhealthy, overweight people has increased dramatically and the rate of heart disease certainly hasn’t fallen. But this should hardly be surprising considering there was no scientific basis for demonising fat and encouraging carb consumption.
Since then, many high quality studies have been conducted to properly observe the effects of a low-fat, high-carb diet. Most notably, the American National Institute of Health funded the Women’s Health Initiative, which was the largest randomised controlled trial ever conducted on diet. Throughout the study, which involved tens of thousands of women being tested over 7.5 years, it was found that a low-fat, high-carb diet does not cause weight loss or reduce the risk of heart disease.
So what’s the bottom line? The fact of the matter is that there’s no evidence to suggest low fat diets lead to better health outcomes and they are completely ineffective for weight-loss and disease-prevention.
This blog was written by Paleo Expert Matt Kennelly, Author of HUNT & GATHER