Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are Low-Fat Products Okay for Fertility, Pregnancy, & Children?

I am really interested in "catch phrases" and their effects.  For example, saying "The benefits of breastfeeding include...(insert whatever superpower you want your child to embody)" implies that breastfeeding is not the norm of society, but if you do it you will reap certain benefits. When in fact, breastfeeding should be the accepted normal way of feeding infants/toddlers.  

Other examples: "artery-clogging saturated fat," "healthy low-fat recipes," "heart-healthy." All of these imply that saturated fat is unhealthy.  And many women, pregnant women, and moms avoid them like the plague, and make their children do the same, all the while partaking in carbohydrate-laden juices and snack foods.

Do you know that these phrases are simply not proven to be true? (Sources below)
Do you know that fruits, vegetables, oats and barley, beans and legumes, natural fats, other food-based phytonutrients, and stress reduction are more powerful at keeping your heart and your whole body pumping?
Do you know that excess carbohydrates is more likely to give you heart disease, diabetes, gestational diabetes, and make it super easy to gain weight?
Do you know that on it's own, non-fat yogurt with added carbohydrates (fruit-flavored) is worse for you than whole milk non flavored yogurt with added real fruit? Besides for the fact that the non-fat version will keep you satisfied for about, oh, a half an hour.

Probably not, because then how would food manufacturers sell you their fat-reduced, carbohydrate heavy products? Food products with health claims sell more! So much more, that manufacturers make up their own symbols, like the hearty healthy symbol found on orange juice.  I can think of many greater health inducing foods than orange juice.

Most people who visit our house are shocked to find out we only have whole milk and whole yogurt (no flavors!) in the house.  The reason for that is two-fold:
1. Leaving the product in its whole state keeps the ratio of carbohydrates:fat in check.  Read more about carbohydrates in this post.
2. We don't drink that much milk.  We limit our dairy intake to no more than 2-3 servings per day.  Notice, I did not say at least. And if you eat calcium containing vegetables, you may be able to forgo dairy altogether. That leaves room for all the other healthy food we should be eating (lentils, beans, greens, peppers, broccoli, onions, garlic...).  That means if my son had yogurt and cheese in school for snacks/lunch, I will only serve milk ONCE at home if that.. And if we are having dairy in our main course, I'll serve water or flavored seltzer.  

Spend some time with these related articles on low-fat products or food-based natural fat, and be prepared to change the way you think about fat:

Low fat yogurt intake during pregnancy may heighten child allergy risk
(Presented at the European Respiratory Society poster session)

Fat, Carbs, and the Science of Conception

1 comment:

  1. I am your newest follower! I look forward to your posts. I write a blog for RDs on FREE CE credits and Child Nutrition (making homemade baby food, picky eating and family recipes). I hope you check them out!

    Best, Clancy