Mini-Pledge Week 6: No Low-Fat, Lite or Nonfat Food Products

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Yes, you read that right. Next week’s mini-pledge is to avoid all low-fat, lite/light, and nonfat food products. And if my prediction is correct there are quite a few of you who need some explanation on why low-fat products are not considered to be “real food” or – yes, I am going to say it – ”healthy.” When I first learned that the whole low-fat campaign was pretty much a hoax I was absolutely shocked as well. For years I was right there on that bandwagon bingeing on everything from low-fat Snackwells cookies to fat-free flavored yogurt to low-fat ice cream. And as it turns out, according to Michael Pollan, “We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products.”

So here is next week’s pledge that officially starts on Monday:

Mini-Pledge Week 6: April 18 – April 24 – Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Here’s a direct quote from Pollan’s book Food Rules that explains it all:

The forty-year-old campaign to create low-fat and nonfat versions of traditional foods has been a failure: We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products. Why? Because removing the fat from foods doesn’t necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbohydrates can also make you fat, and many low- and nonfat foods boost the sugars to make up for the loss of flavor … You’re better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on “lite” food products packed with sugars and salt.

Another New York Times bestselling author, Mark Bittman, agrees in his book Food Matters. He says, “The low-fat craze caused millions, maybe tens of millions, of Americans actually to gain weight, because they were reaching for ‘low-fat’ but high-calorie carbs.” And right on cue directly from Pollan’s In Defense of Food:

At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, Hold on just a minute. Are you really saying the whole low-fat deal was bogus? But my supermarket is still packed with low-fat this and no-cholesterol that! My doctor is still on me about my cholesterol and telling me to switch to low-fat everything. I was flabbergasted at the news too, because no one in charge – not in government, not in the public health community – has dared to come out and announce: Um, you know everything we’ve been telling you for the last thirty years about the links between dietary fat and heart disease? And fat and cancer? And fat and fat? Well, this just in: It now appears that none of it was true. We sincerely regret the error.

So let’s put the low-fat craze behind us and move forward by embracing the right portions of real food and real food only. No more faked low-fat products where according to Pollan, “fats in things like sour cream and yogurt [are] replaced with hydrogenated oils” and “the cream in ‘whipped cream’ and ‘coffee creamer’ [are] replaced with corn starch.” And just to be clear this pledge applies to all reduced fat products including milk. When the fat is removed from dairy products like milk some of the beneficial nutrients are lost with the fat as well. We just recently switched to whole milk ourselves, and I was honestly a little scared. I drank skim milk up until last year after all! But along with reducing our overall consumption of milk it has actually been a surprisingly smooth transition for us. And after learning the shocking truth behind what we’ve been told for so many years…I’ve never looked at another low-fat product the same again.

To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and kids in your household that will participate, and also share if you will do it for one day or for the entire week. Put it in writing and make it official!

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253 comments to Mini-Pledge Week 6: No Low-Fat, Lite or Nonfat Food Products

  • Terri

    I take the pledge! It’ll be easy for me because right now I’m doing the 28-day Fast Metabolism Diet and eating only fresh whole natural foods and no artificial sweeteners or added sugar (or dairy). I’m halfway through and feeling so much better. I love your blog and am glad you are spreading the word about real, healthy foods. I’ve spent years eating low fat/high carb or artificially sweetened foods and I’ve gotten heavier and heavier. Now I’m getting back to the “old” way of eating.

  • Emily

    It is a real eye opening when we think that we are following the best advice on what we eat and feed our children and then find out that there truly are food politics making these decisions. Nestlé also wrote a book Food Politics that is revealing of the food industry. even the Food Pyramid is politically influenced! the food industry had stockholders too and they watch the bottom line and the more food that is sold ,regardless of if it is good for the body , is good for the investors.

  • Noelle

    Starting tomorrow! I had already switched my milk but yogurt has been harder. 1 adult :)

  • Cindy Hornickel

    I just started following your Blog a month or so ago and it has helped me so much with transitioning over to a real foods diet! We already ate a lot of fruits and veggies and love to juice. But even more so now with your wonderful recipes, dinners and getting easier to make from scratch and preparing lunches is a lot of fun. My husband will be happy to know that we are going to switch back to whole milk, he loves to drink it and I always felt that it was worse for him because of all the talk out there. I cannot drink it as much as him because it does upset my stomach, but we just were introduced to Almond milk and I really do like it in my smoothies. Do you have any advice for finding the right Almond Milk that I can use when I cannot drink the regular Whole Milk? I only drink milk in moderation so I should be fine but I just thought I would ask. I also just wanted to say thank you for your inspiration to start this blog and share it with us all. My husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years and we are 23 and 24 years old. 2 years ago my husband found out that he has Crohn’s disease, an auto immune disease that attacks the digestive system. I felt hopeless at times feeding him because his body could not break down good foods like fruits and vegetables. Honestly when he is in a flare up state it does not matter what you feed him and he will feel terrible. After a big scare in February where he was in the hospital for 3 days and had to have a blood transfusion I started thinking more about feeding him more organic foods. I knew that I would need to do it on a budget and we are finally able to start doing it more and more. We started with buying all of our fruits and veggies organic and have moved to buying others things like our bread and dairy organic. I love to cook and have always tried to cook with whole food ingredients and from scratch, but even more so now with your recipes I have truly been able to do that. So once again thank you!! (Sorry for the long post! I am just so excited about this!)

  • [...] got fatter? This is the reason. Lisa Leake does a great job breaking down this topic here and here. This is a tough one as we’ve grown accustom to the way low-fat cow’s milk tastes and [...]

  • [...] strawberries, local goat cheese, toasted almonds and homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The kids had whole milk and the adults had water and white [...]

  • [...] a simple maple syrup/vanilla extra combo. 2. Whole milk / full fat – Unfortunately (fortunately?) low-fat products are just more processed, which is exactly why we avoid them. 3. Organic – Unlike fruit and veggies you can’t peel or [...]

  • Terrie

    Just another reason to drink whole milk rather than 2% or lower fats
    Interesting research on the ratio of Omegas 6 and 3 in organic whole milk compared to other milk.

  • Kristen

    Count me in for 1 adult. I’ve been focusing on one min-challenge per week, and it’s been a good awareness exercise!

  • [...] rectangular shaped block of cream cheese (the low fat version is not [...]

  • Marjorie Nienhius

    I was overweight in my late 20′s and decided to join a weight loss group. There were weekly meetings and as expected they pushed the use of their products. I ate according to the points allotted and in less than a year lost 100 lbs. Two months after I lost the 100 lbs I had to have my gallbladder removed. In the years following I have been able to eat less and less processed food. I have also since had half of my thyroid removed and cysts on my ovaries removed. ALL of these problems are due to the processed foods in my diet. The fat free, light and low fat versions of foods are literally ripping my body apart. I am posting to publicly pledge my family and I will only eat the freshest most natural foods I can possibly find. Thank you for creating this fabulous blog and helping people every where.

  • Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one
    is getting more from this site, and your views are good in favor
    of new visitors.

  • What about a product that says reduced fat? Which one is better…reduced fat or low fat? I ask because the only organic yogurt my local store sells is either reduced fat or low fat and I’m always confused as to which one to buy so I grab the non-organic one with full fat. So which one would you choose? I thought about even asking if they can start carrying the full fat organic kind but wasen’t sure if they would

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Christy. We don’t recommend products that have had the fat removed and there is likely very little difference between reduced fat of low fat. I would ask the store if they can carry full fat organic. Most stores will accommodate. ~Amy

  • Stacey

    This is a great way to change a little at a time!! 2 adults 2 children in it for a week – and for life!

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