“When you go to the grocery store, you find that the cheapest calories are the ones that are going to make you the fattest”

Michael Pollan – In Defense of Food

On the back of our recent article on fats in nutrition,  it only seems logical to dispel a commonly held myth amongst the population that ‘low-fat foods are healthy’. On the face of it, the label ‘low fat’ may seem like a good choice, though this is not necessarily the case. 

One of the problems with this myth is that many people think fats are unhealthy, clog arteries and make you fat. The next problem is that low-fat foods are often replaced with sugar and carbohydrates, and it is not necessarily a great swap to put sugar in for fat. Together the idea of low-fat foods being healthy is a wider problem about what people know about fats, so this myth-busting article is going to have to extend to targeting various misconceptions about fats. 

Poor Food Choices

There are many poor food products in supermarkets that are branded as low fat, and because of this, they are seemingly healthy enough to buy. However, just reducing the fat content does not make something healthy. For example, Muller Light fat-free yoghurts still contain 6g of sugar per 100g, despite having less than 1g of fat, this is still not a great choice. There are many fat-free snacks available too, however, these are not really much better without the fat!

Avoiding Fat Altogether

Some people may try to avoid fat altogether because of misunderstanding and misconceptions which surround fat. 

This is detrimental to your health, skipping fats poses problems for hormonal balance, uptake of vitamins, cardiovascular health, and insulin sensitivity. 

There is all the more reason to add in nuts, seeds, olive oil, butter, avocado, oily fish and so forth since these contain the very thing we need more of which are omega-3’s, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. 

What Does The Research and Science Say?

The recommendations that are given by the government to society on food and nutrition is obviously guided by what research says is best for human health. This is where the problem has been, there is evidence for both consuming fat and reducing fat intake which has led to confusion. Initially, fats were said to be bad and the guidance was to reduce intake of all fats. Then saturated fats were thought to have a negative impact on health, this has turned out to be untrue and actually saturated fats are great in moderate amounts (3). 

As the research has evolved more understanding emerged about dietary fats, and now, generally speaking, the scientific consensus is now that saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are fine to consume, but trans fats are best avoided (2).

Interestingly, many foods that do have fats in (excluding trans fat), also contain an array of other nutrients your body needs. For instance, egg yolks have been previously stigmatised, but in fact, they contain plenty of amino acids, choline, and omega-3’s, which is a wealth of nutrients your body loves. 


Ultimately, you can’t go far wrong by eating natural produce (produce that has grown, flown, swam, lived, etc…). Fats should naturally be a part of your diet, and choosing low-fat foods does not provide any benefits to your diet. For further reading on Nutrition 


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Further Reading

  1. A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion
  2. Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance
  3. A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion