Dietary fat reduction has numerous appeals not the least of which is that
billions of human beings eat this way normally and live long healthy lives. Low
fat diets are generally percieved as "normal" by people in that they allow for
judicious consumption of nearly every traditional food source. Fat reduction is
an underlying principle of nearly every major commercial weight reduction
program, most notably, Weight Watchers, whose "point system" approach to
eating is effectively a sensible low-fat diet.
Fat reduction is effective for weight loss for several reasons. First, because fat
is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, its reduction allows people to eat more
and get "less"(calories). Second, fat has the lowest thermogenic effect of the
three macronutrients so that dietary fat can rahter easily become stored body
fat.

Beyond their effectiveness, low fat diets are highly palatable and accessible to
vegetarians and generally tend to lower total and LDL ('bad") cholesterol levels
in blood (although they also lower HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Americans Eat Too Much Fat:

Nearly all experts in human health agree that the North American diet is too
high in fat and that this excess contributes to obesity and heart disease.
Despite this, Americans show little "appetite" for serious reductions in total fat
although they have reduced intake of saturated fat and trans-fats.

"Good" and "Bad" Fat:

Saturated and trans-fats increase blood cholesterol levels, unsaturated and
polyunsaturated fats lower them (or at least fail to raise them). For this reason
they have earned the nicknames "bad" and "good" fat respectively.

According to advocates of low-fat diets for weight loss, and for all the reasons
cited at the top of this page, all Fats are "Bad" fats as regards weight loss
when those fats are consumed to excess. Unfortunately, this is an
oversimplification.

Essential Fatty Acids:

Humans cannot synthesize all the different kinds of fats needed for life and
therefore, it is possible by eating a diet too low in fat, for people to develop a
defficiency of essential fatty acids. Serious long-term essential fatty acid
defficiency is not uncommon in people with a disease that causes poor fat
absorbtion or in people who have had bariatric intestinal bypass surgery, but is
fairly rare in the general population. Still, it is inadvisable for people to
deliberately consume too little fat. While there is no clear agreement on how
little fat intake is too low, most experts reccomend no less that twenty grams
daily of total dietary fat.

Low Fat Diets
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