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12 PM Group 7 Does fat free mean healthy?Updated automatically every 5 minutes

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Garrett Boag

Dean Cannon

Cody Simon

Does fat free mean healthy?

Answer: No

Origin and Prevalence

According to an interview of Garry Taubes on pbs.org, obesity epidemic started around 1976. Recent National Health Examination surveys started to show a rise in obesity, and thus the war on fat was started. Companies started to take out fat and label their products as fat free or low fat, but obesity rated kept going up. Soon many people started to ask, Is fat free really healthy? The real truth lies twenty years earlier. An article published by the nytimes states that, the origin of people believing that fat is the number one cause of disease is a result of sugar companies in the 1960s hiring scientist to do fake studys and sway the public's opinion on the dangers of fat. These studies labeled all fats as the cause for diabetes, and heart disease which up to this point were considered a rare disease; therefore, the reason why people were panicking.

There were three harvard scientist paid an equivalent of 50,000 dollars by today's standard. Other instances are a case of Coca-Cola paying the equivalency of millions of dollars between now and the 1960s. This has had a ripple effect because as obesity rates climbed in the usa more people turned to a "healthy" lifestyle of eating foods that were low in saturated fats but still contained loads of sugar, the worst part is that many health officials were recommending these kind of diets, so when people were trying to combat obesity they were actually increasing their risk and the rates continued to rise. During these studies of the 1960 all people were being lead to believe that sugar is empty calories and the worst effect that sugar can have it tooth decay. With the knowledge we have today now we must ask is fat really unhealthy or have we been completely missguided by public funding and false studies.

Issues and Analysis

A lot of "healthy" foods nowadays have the labels: fat free, low fat, reduced fat, or less fat. But what do these titles really mean? It can be hard to believe, but these labels aren't as straightforward as they seem.

  • Fat free means that the product has less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.
  • Low fat means 3 grams of fat or less.
  • Reduced fat means that it contains 50% (or less) of the fat found in the original product.
  • Less fat means 25% or less fat than the compared food.

So while the "no fat" foods sound healthy, you're still getting a small amount of fat that can start to add up if you eat a lot of fat free foods. The worst part is while they take out some fat, they add sugar and salt to make it taste better as evidenced by an article written by the telegraph.

With the idea that companies can claim "fat free" with under .5 grams trans fat, you don't take into account any other aspect of the food. You still have sodium, sugar, and plenty of fake ingredients that are even harder to break down and process in your body. The "fat free" or "reduced fat" label is nothing more than some flashy eye candy. According to webmd.com, calling a food low fat means less than .3 grams of fat per serving while reduced fat lies at less than 25 percent fat. Some products use these fake sweeteners to further help themselves slide off the label and into the small space tucked up under. When dealing with the choices at the supermarket on your next trip try treating the label like a contract and read the fine print.

The biggest issue that shows when evaluating if "fat free is healthy?" is that we are not all food scientists or even educated in food science, so these companies are able to take advantage of our window shopping style grocery stores by trying to catch peoples eyes with words they potentially don't understand, but still sound "good for you." When you don't know much about food yourself it can be hard to know who to trust when you are reading articles from every point of view and every contributor has a daunting amount of qualification. It would seem like you should just roll over and accept that fat free is healthy, but the the media whether it's on a a television, radio, or cereal box they are all trying to persuade you to purchase the product through any means necessary including finding all the grey areas in the FDA's guidelines.

According to almost every website I checked, but more reputably as before webmd.com cutting out all fat from your diet is not a healthy way of living. Foods including fish, avocados, and nuts all hold healthy fats and sugars that help your body function as it should. Your body does not react well to synthetic materials and will most likely cause problems. Saying you should be "fat free to be healthy" is true if you replace fat with trans-fat.


Fat free doesn't always mean healthy. With companies being able to label foods with 0.5 grams of fat per serving as fat free, it's no truly free of all fat. To make up of the lost flavor from removing some of the fat, they add artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that are even worse for you than fat.

Citation page

Edward Malnick, Jasper Copping and Matthew Payton. Low fat foods stuffed with 'harmful' levels of sugar. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10668189/Low-fat-foods-stuffed-with-harmful-levels-of-sugar.html. Published March 7, 2014. Accessed February 12, 2018.

PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/diet/themes/lowfat.html. Accessed February 12, 2018.

O'connor A. How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html. Published September 12, 2016. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Healthy Fat' Foods for Your Diet in Pictures. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-healthy-fat-foods. Accessed February 12, 2018.

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