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In the last 20 years, the average Americans has reduced his fat intake from 41 percent of calories to fewer than 32 percent. Yet, the percentage of overweight people increased from 25.4 percent to 33.3 percent. Many doctors still recommend low-fat diets to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and body fat, so manufacturers produce low-fat products that often have the same number of calories as their fattier counterparts.

People buy foods that taste good and fat helps to make food taste good. So, most low-fat foods contain lots of sugar, flour and egg white and some people think that they can eat a box of 12 non-fat cookies that contains 600 calories, the same as for high fat cookies. Low fat, high-carbohydrate cookies that are low in fiber do not fill you up, so you eat too much. You body converts all extra calories to fat, and the extra calories from low-fat products end up as body fat.

A low-fat diet, high in calories, make you fat. The only way to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and body fat is to take in fewer calories, and the only way that you are going to reduce calories without feeling hungry is to increase your intake of the foods that are not dense sources of calories. Increase WHOLE grains, beans, vegetables and fruits; and reduce bakery products, meat, chicken and diary products made from whole milk.

AF Heini, RL Weinsier. Divergent trends in obesity and fat intake patterns: The American paradox. American Journal of Medicine. 1997(March);102(3):259-264. In the adult US population the prevalence of overweight rose from 25.4% from 1976 to 1980 to 33.3% from 1988 to 1991, a 31% increase. During the same period, average fat intake, adjusted for total calories, dropped from 41.0% to 36.6%, an 11% decrease. Average total daily calorie intake also tended to decrease, from 1,854 kcal to 1,785 kcal (-4%). Men and women had similar trends. Concurrently, there was a dramatic rise in the percentage of the US population consuming low-calorie products, from 19% of the population in 1978 to 76% in 1991. From 1986 to 1991 the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle represented almost 60% of the US population, with no change over time.

Checked 5/3/07

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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