Today, fat is demonized as a horrible component of food that we should avoid at all costs. Commercials today show skinny girls eating low-fat and zero-fat products, thus making the link in our minds between beauty and low-fat. If you eat high-fat products, you must need a motorized cart to push you around at Walmart, right?
Is this association really deserving and true, though? I’m not so sure. I decided to look at the list of ingredients between two different types of yogurts I just happened to find in my fridge and see if anything was hiding in that low-fat yogurt.
Liberté Méditerranée Moka (8.5% M.F.)
- Coffee preparation
- Active bacterial culture (acidophilus, bifidus, L. casei cultures)
- Skim milk powder
- Milk protein concentrate
Yoplait Source Vanilla Tango selection (0% M.F.)
- Skim Milk
- Fruits (mandarins, oranges)
- Active bacterial culture
- Milk and whey proteins
- Modified corn starch
- Natural and artificial flavours
- Locust bean gum
- Concentrated lemon juice
- Potassium sorbate
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Vitamin D3
The flavours are different so the ingredients aren’t exactly the same. However, see how the high-fat yogurt actually contains less additives than the low-fat one? While there are a lot of good things in the low-fat yogurt as well, there are some other things I’m not so crazy about. Modified corn starch? Artificial flavours? Sucralose? No thanks.
I’m also not sure why yogurt needs to have locust bean gum put in it. The first time I saw that I went “WTF?” I guess without any fat the stuff would be as runny as water without some gum to hold everything together.
Personally, I am just not as satisfied with the low-fat yogurt. I don’t think it’s horrible; in fact, it tastes fine. The Méditerranée is just so much creamier though, and it leaves me feeling fulfilled in my stomach.
Is fat bad for you, or good? Is sucralose safe, or not? Even the nutritional experts can’t agree on these points. While it is true that consuming too many calories will lead to weight gain, regardless of where those calories come from, fat is nonetheless an important and dense energy source, and one that our bodies are naturally equipped to burn efficiently, if given the right incentives to do so.
Many modern findings are supporting the fact that many of our modern health problems are due to the fact that we eat too many overly-refined foods and processed carbs, not because we eat too much fat. Too much fat can hurt due to intake of too many calories, and it’s true that there are good fats and bad fats, but things like refined grains and sugars, corn starch, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) (where animals are pumped full of, you guessed it, more grains and corn, among other things) have been increasingly shown to be linked to detrimental health outcomes.
Nutrition is an ever-changing field, so the consensus of one year will be the discredited theories of the next. I have personally seen health benefits from switching to a more primal or paleolithic type of diet, and while I don’t go hardcore and reject all modern foods (sure, I eat pizzas every now and then, and I eat at restaurants though I go for delicious yet primal meals, like duck), I do try and eat less refined grain/sugar products, and this alone has made a difference in my mood and well-being.
I’m someone who is susceptible to brain fog, and the doctors are at a complete loss as to why. For me, brain fog is essentially a type of persistent headache that does not hurt, but leaves one’s head clouded nonetheless. I have seen a general practitioner and a neurologist, and after doing an MRI scan, they basically told me to just live with it as it’s probably all in my head, anyways.
After doing my own research and reading (since these doctors were unable and unwilling to help), I now believe that it’s connected to the chemical and nutritional balance within my own body. Modern diets really aren’t ideal in more than a few ways, and symptoms such as brain fog can arise as a result. Proper nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy body, and yogurt can play a key part of that.
While I think that Liberté Méditerranée tastes much better than the alternatives, and while it contains less additives (no sucralose, for one!) it’s still a commercially-processed product so I’m not sure how ideal it is. I do feel better after eating it, so I wonder if a natural yogurt would be even better.
- Gut and psychology syndrome
- Restoring Intenstinal Flora (Gut Sense)
- FAGE Total Authentic Greek Yogurt
Here are a few choice excerpts from the above:
“Cultured grade A non fat milk is a euphemism for dry milk dissolved in water. Dry milk is produced by spray-drying skim milk at extremely high temperatures. This process causes oxidation of remaining lipids, which, in turn, are implicated in atherosclerosis and cancers.”
“Sucralose (E 955), a.k.a. Splenda®—an artificial sweetener. It has been reported to cause migraines, DNA damage, and thymus degeneration. The thymus produces T-cells, which play a central role in adaptive immunity.”
“Finally, if you are experiencing bloating, flatulence, or abdominal discomfort after eating processed yogurt or ice cream, you are likely being affected by soluble fiber fillers, such as inulin, guar gum, agar, or pectin. To exclude junk food like Activia from your diet, just read the labels. By law, it’s all printed there.”
So, reader, what is your take on low-fat versus high-fat foods? Do you avoid the high-fat stuff out of guilt? While I mentioned that the ads for low-fat foods are advertised by skinny girls, many guys go for them as well (probably without telling their guy friends) as they don’t want to walk down the beach with a big belly! Are they really making the right choice, though? Some people (like me) don’t care about the weight gain/weight loss, and avoid artificially low-fat foods for entirely different reasons.
Do you eat anything you want so long as it tastes good? Few topics inspire as diverse a range of opinions as food and nutrition, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.