Low Fat/High Fat Confusion

MitMot

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hello, complete newbie here, diagnosed yesterday. My head is in a bit of a spin as I try to get to grips with everything but thankfully (at the moment at least) I don't have the worry of Insulin, only tablets and diet.

The one question I have is with regards to low fat or high fat foods. Even before diagnosis I was trying to cut down on carbs and I found that a small portion of full fat Greek Yoghurt for breakfast was really filling and satisfying, whereas I could eat double the amount of a low fat version and not feel sated at all.

I've seen many mentions throughout this forum about enjoying full fat foods which is great but my GP has advised a low carb and low fat diet so now I am very confused :D. Is there an official line on this?

Years ago my dad was also advised low fat when he was diagnosed. I guess its a very individual thing too and I'll need to experiment and monitor for a while but would be interested to know what advice you received from your health care professional.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hi and welcome.

It is interesting that you have noticed such a significant difference between the effect that the low and full fat versions of just one product have had on you and I think it illustrates a point very well. Fat is satisfying. It takes longer to digest and provides slow release energy. The low fat versions don't achieve that but also contain more carbohydrates which cause your BG to rise. The body produces insulin to counteract that but then your BG drops and you feel hungry again. This may be the reason why we currently have a diabetes and obesity epidemic despite being advised to and choosing low fat foods for the best part of our lifetimes.
The low fat advice came from research done 70 years ago and there is a growing school of thought that the data it was based on was flawed and therefore the advice is flawed. However the official line is unfortunately still low fat. Partly because there is no official research proving it is wrong and partly because there is a huge and lucrative food industry based on low fat foods. There are some eminent scientists looking at the subject I believe but it is difficult to push against a lifetime of low fat mantra. Imagine if you were a doctor or nurse or dietician who had spent all their life telling people to follow a low fat diet and even if you start to suspect that it might be wrong, the whole establishment still supports that line so you would be on a very sticky wicket advising contrary to that, particularly as fat was believed to be the cause of Cardio Vascular Disease (the dodgy conclusion of that research 70 years ago) and Diabetics are potentially more prone to that.

The big difficulty is that we need energy in the form of calories to fuel us. Ok some people have plenty of stored fat (obesity) which they can burn whilst they follow a low fat and low carb diet, but eventually once a normal BMI is achieved those calories need to be eaten and if we as diabetics cannot cope with carbohydrates then we need to get them from some other source and the only options are protein and fat. Eating a lot more protein may put a strain on other organs but fat is calorie dense so by increasing fat and protein we can sustain ourselves and it is an enjoyable way to eat and as you found, you actually don't feel the need to eat as much because you feel satisfied, which means that you don't over eat and put the weight back on as often happens with a low fat diet.

I certainly eat a lot more fat now than I have in my whole life. My weight is stable at a normal BMI, I eat less in total but I enjoy what I eat and most of the time I get by on one or two meals a day and don't feel hungry and my stomach is flat and I have a waist, whereas eating low fat and high carb my waistline had been steadily increasing for years and I suffered cravings and was eating far more than I needed to.

You need to make your own mind up about whether to follow the official line and eat low fat or try low carb higher fat and see how you get on. I am not a rebel at heart so I was very hard for me to go against official advice on this but I really feel it was the correct thing to do for me.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
They are still more than a bit obsessed with low fat when in truth, 99% of people don't eat a high fat diet anyway and never did.

Many years ago we were chatting to an elderly lady is a hospital waiting room and she happened to comment that if you asked her, none of these nice things we get told we shouldn't eat would actually kill us, nor would stopping them make us live longer. However - it would certainly seem like longer because we were more miserable!
 

MitMot

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
It is interesting that you have noticed such a significant difference between the effect that the low and full fat versions of just one product have had on you and I think it illustrates a point very well.

Thank you for your detailed reply rebrascora it has been helpful to make the correlation between low fat and continued hunger so good to know I am not going completely mad :D - it remains to be seen what effect it has on my blood sugar though so I will keep an eye on that. Thanks again.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Eating fat has very little effect on blood sugar except to slow the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down which can be a benefit in come respects but if you are eating very low carb then it makes no difference. Approx 10% of fat can be broken down into glucose and 40% of protein if I remember rightly, as compared to 100% of carbohydrate, so you would have to eat quite a lot of fat to have a significant impact on your BG and that in itself can be self limiting because you start to feel very full and possibly sick if you eat too much fat because it is rich.... it is just not like eating carbs where the more you eat, the more you want.
 
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