Fat: Weighing Our Options

Fat comes in many forms in food. There’s good fat, bad fat, hydrogenated fat, mono saturated fat, etc. Fat constitutes a big part of our diet, it is through which we get our vital nutrients and nourishment. Its role however has evolved in many ways over the last century. From being something that’s good and essential to our well being, it’s now looked at as a hindrance, something we must avoid to maintain better health.

One of the biggest changes has occurred in the way we consume fat. From consuming in the form of full fat milk, cheese and lard we now primarily consume in processed forms. A rise in the ill effects of over consumption of fat has given birth to a host of diet, low fat alternatives in the packaged foods industry. Chips, sodas, cakes, biscuits, etc. now all come in low fat versions. Ironically these condiments are not designed to reduce your intake of fat. They are designed to trick you into eating more, because of their low fat labelling, and in turn persuading you to switch from an avocado (high fat) on toast to low-fat mayo on toast.

A key, but commonly overlooked, aspect of obesity is that weight gain can be caused by the slightest increase in consumption,especially if it continues in regular intervals every day. When we opt for low fat snacks and meals we believe we can afford to cheat, or eat more, because of the fewer calories. However, when we don’t see fat, on an average, a human being will consume about 10 percent or 100 extra calories in a day. This over time leads to weight gain.

Food companies constantly work on increasing consumption. More food eaten is more food sold. The better they get at hiding the excess fat in their foods, the more likely we are to consume. Unfortunately fruits and vegetables don’t come with nutrition labels, cooking takes time and effort and self control with food is an uphill task. In our shift towards sedentary lifestyles and growing dependence on convenience over health, fat has taken a beating. In our bid to avoid it we have created more sources of it, especially the bad kind.

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