Low fat? It’s actually making you fat

So I was at Uni the other day and just casually talking to one of my closest friends about diets over coffee. How we keep in shape and such, when we stumbled along the topic of nutritional contents of foods.

Now talking about this stuff with people is my passion, absolutely love it. And I’m always surprised at how little the majority knows about nutritional contents of food when they’ve been bombarded by millions of health messages each day.

Well here’s the comparison, she asked why she had stayed at this persistant weight when we both go to the gym, probably 5-7 days a week. We do high intensity cardiac workouts for around an hour before heading home.

So excersise wasn’t the issue here. I turned instead to her diet,

She eats well but has a knack for going for ‘low fat’, high protein foods.

See  things such as; tuna, rice crackers, low fat yoghurt and emphasises minimal carbs.

Compared to myself; 

I eat a whole range of carbs (possibly 5+ serves daily), proteins (only fish and legume based), a few serves of diary and an emphasis on vegetables.

The crucial difference?

  • She has BMI of 25
  • I have one of 20

Sure, she’s still considered ‘healthy’ for her weight and height. She is still regarded on the outer parameters of ‘healthy’.

Now the literature, if you’re familiar with the Atkins diet for instance will tell you about all these trials of people substituting low fat and carb for high protein , emphasising weight loss.

And you’re probably moreso familiar with the seemingly endless meatheads that seem to amass on the bench press machines at the gym like barnacles attached to a ship hull.

Another obvious highlight is, it seems they are never far from those ghastly fluroscently coloured liquids known as ‘protein shakes’.

Do you notice a crucial difference here though?

On the whole;

  • MEN want to GAIN WEIGHT
  • WOMEN want to LOSE it
  • And BOTH genders are integrating  high protein into  these diets hoping that it will achieve their goals.

More often than not, which of the sexes is it that we see with the visible results?

  • MEN.

Fair and simple, muscle mass weighs more than fat. We all know that.

I bet you didn’t know that you only need 15-25% of your dietry energy intake  to be sourced from protein.

15%-25% that’s actually tiny. And that 25% is only relative to those of us doing insane amounts of excersise and a high need for protein for muscle repair. Most of us should be aiming for  the15% mark.

Women in fact need LESS protein then men. to work out how much protein you need daily

If you’re a female;

  • .75(amount of protein in grams) multiplied by (your weight in kilograms)

So for instance;

I am 62 kgs

  • . 75 * 62kg

= 42.5g

I only need 43GRAMS of protein a day.

Do you know how much 43grams is worth weight wise?

  • Half a bar of soap
  • The size of a standard chocolate bar
  • 5 mushrooms.

And do you know the best part?

When you eat an excess, (that’s anything over 43g for me)


This is because your body has this thing called the amino acid pool, contrary to belief, exess proteins are NOT stored as muscle, they’re broken down like any macronutrient and released to provide energy.

And your body can only absorb so much. It’s like sugar, you only need 120g of glucose daily to maintain brain function. You can get that from 2 slices of bread.

Which beings me to my next point, how about low fat?

Hah.If you believe low fat what’s going to change your life around, check again.  I BET MY LIFE THAT YOU CAN GO PICKUP ANY LOW FAT (not including artificially sweetened) MANUFACTURED FOOD….SUCH AS NATURAL YOGHURT.

  4. GASP

IF you did it correctly the sugar content should be significantly higher in the ‘low fat’ example.

Another consideration,

‘Low fat’ has only been a recent integration into our lives. 70 years ago, there was NO such thing as fat free milk or reduced fat margarine. And you’d think that being absolutely bombarded by the incursion of these items into our society would atleast FORCE people to lose weight.

So why hasn’t it?

It’s really simple,


Why is fat given such a bad Rep??? It’s ESSENTIAL for life! Ever heard of vitamin D?

Yeah you need FAT to break that down so you can absorb it properly!

Vitamin A?

As a kid you were probably bombarded by your parents telling you;

Eat your carrots Sarah! So you can see in the dark!

Guess what, you need FAT  to absorb those beta caritinoids to make you get those benefits!

EVERY SINGLE CELL that makes up who you are has a membrane, a covering of sorts; to keep things protected inside.


Now sugar, what can you POSSIBLY achieve with sugar.


Nothing else. No nutrients, no vitamins, no breakdown of anything.

And what happens if you eat too much energy?

It gets stored, AS FAT.

So why don’t I just eat heaps of sugar Anna? Because logically that will just turn into fat anyway, and my body can absorb all those things right?


A lot of dietry sourced fat, such as omega-3, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids CANT be synthesised through ‘sugary fats’ as I call them.

Classic example, marshmallows.

 Commonly labelled ‘low fat‘, whilst that may be true, look at the sugar content.

I guarentee. YOU WILL DIE QUICKER eating a diet of marshmallows, then  a diet based purely of avocados.

So keep it in mind next time you’re browsing through your local supermarket.

Do I want to live a low life?

Look no further than Low fat. 

——- Anna Freeman, student Dietitian ——