HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What's wrong with "full-fat"??

I was reading somethings and became curious, what's wrong with "fat"? Why is everything non-fat or low-fat these days? I went to the supermarket the other day and 90% of the yogurt there was non-fat or low-fat and only a few were full-fat. Even most baked goods are low-fat, etc. I know I sound really ignorant.. but is "fat" really that bad?? Would drinking full-fat milk instead of low-fat milk really kill me faster? Obviously if your health condition requires low-fat diet, it's a must. But the overwhelming prevalence of the non-fat items in the market really puzzles me. It seems disproportional to the actual number of people who are affected by fat-related health conditions.. As long as one is not consuming pork belly every night and always eats in moderation even when eating pork belly, there shouldn't be a big problem, or am I just kidding myself? If not health-related, is it because we live in a diet-culture? Is consuming full-fat milk a sure way to be obese??

Please enlighten me. I know some people say non-fat tastes just like full-fat or even better, but I'm yet to find this to be true and I'm irked every time I go to the market and have to squint and search to find full-fat products.. Maybe I missed some important study on the horrors of fat.. if so please tell me..

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Maybe you've heard of the obesity epidemic? Unless you have a specific health condition, the fat itself isn't the problem, it's the calories. A gram of fat has more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate (9 vs. 4), so "full fat" foods are going to use up a lot of your caloric allotment for the day. In addition, the fat in most of the food you mentioned is saturated fat, which contributes to high cholesterol levels.

    Basically, I can't afford to eat "ordinary" servings of full-fat foods on a regular basis if I want to be a healthy weight. But I have to eat something, and so it's nice to have the option of eating low-fat versions of many foods, some of which have important nutrients (like calcium in dairy products) and then save the full-fat versions for "splurges." If you don't have to watch your calories or your cholesterol, you're very young, very lucky (or both).

    I grew up drinking nonfat milk, and I actually prefer it -- I find milk with fat too be too "sticky" to be refreshing or thirst quenching.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I admit I will buy lower-fat verions of items (sour cream, 2% milk, yogurt...though mainly b/c that's the most frequently available). Some things are ok with lower fat content...though I never buy nonfat. Also, the lower the fat content the higher the sugar content. I never shy away from really cheeses, butter, nuts, avocadoes, etc. I believe full fat satisfies you more and therefore results in eating less of the product. Lower-fat items can lead you to feeling deprived of flavor and you also tend to eat more since it is "low-fat" and end up consuming the same amount of calories anyway. I just say eat in moderation and eat naturally...the amount of fat is really not all that important.

    2. I'm taking a middle-of-the-road view on this. I agree that there are some excesses in the low-fat department, to the point where we're ruining perfectly wonderful foods (like cheese).

      That said, we're a society of convenience and our lives just aren't active enough to justify eating full-fat stuff all the time like our ancestors did. And let's face it, a lot of restaurants (not just fast-food ones) add unnecessary fat to food - I mean, do we really need a cream-bacon-cheese sauce on anything??

      The compromise: I'll eat low-fat or non-fat as a default, as long as it doesn't kill the flavour of the food. In most cases, it doesn't. I limit, but don't exclude, natural fats like nuts and avocados. Once in a while, I splurge on something fried or rich.

      1 Reply
      1. re: piccola

        Yeah, cheese is definitely something I'll eat "full-fat" or not at all (unless it's a type of cheese that's naturally low fat). Most low-fat cheese is awful, both the taste and the texture.

      2. There are people who avoid saturated fats for health reasons--family history of heart disease, diabetes management, etc. For these folks, fat free versions of dairy products can be a godsend, allowing them to at least have something rather than cutting a whole food group out of their diets. Some doctors say that once you're past childhood, there's no reason to drink full fat milk anymore. Some say even kids beyond the age of five shouldn't be drinking that much saturated fat.

        Fat has nine calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates have four calories (and alcohol seven, but that's another subject!) Some people avoid full fat products where alternatives are available to save calories. Some people have trouble digesting certain fats, like the saturated kind, and get, er, symptoms if they eat the full fat version.

        I eat full fat versions of some things (cheese, sour cream) but prefer lowfat milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. I think a lot of my preference has to do with the quantity. I don't eat a lot of cheese or sour cream, as they're sort of like condiments, well not condiments, but maybe you get the idea. I really prefer a whole cup of yogurt to those 6 oz. or smaller cups, even if it's the full fat kind. It's just more satisfying to have eight ounces, but I also mostly eat plain, so maybe that's part of why, too.

        1. I refuse to eat any low- and no-fat products, opting only for full-fat versions. I do not feel confident that the chemicals that are added to compensate for the reduced fat are safer than the fat themself, or that they result in weight loss: when I cut artificial flavours and preservatives out of my diet, I lost an extraordinary amount of weight (75 lbs) in a year without doing a significant amount of exercise.

          I think the prevalence of low- and no-fat products are indicative of the fact that a huge chunk (puns not intended) of North American society is unable to exercise moderation and self-control in portion size or dedicate the time to physical activity.

          I am frequently frustrated by how hard it is to find full-fat versions of food, especially dairy. I try to stick to organic markets, where they don't usually have the option of relying on chemicals to make up for the taste loss, and it seems much easier to find things there.

          5 Replies
          1. re: vorpal

            Dairy products don't necessarily have any "chemicals added to compensate for the reduced fat" -- they just remove the fat using mechanical means. People have been removing the fat from milk for various reasons and purposes probably as long as they've been milking animals. Of course, if you're talking about commercial quality products with additives, that's another issue, but that has more to do with the producer putting out a poor-quality product than it does with whether its nonfat or not -- full-fat yogurts can have just as many additives.

            While I applaud your healthy eating regime, let's make a distinction between things like Snackwells and nonfat milk.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              True, people have been removing fat from things like milk for ages, but when you're talking about foods like sour cream, if you compare the ingredient lists between no-fat and full-fat versions, the no-fat versions ALWAYS contain additives like various gums, carrageenan, modified milk ingredients, etc. At least, I've never seen a no-fat product without these, no matter the quality. (I have seen low-fat without, but it's rare.) The full-fat versions sometimes do contain them, but also frequently don't. There must be a reason for this, and while I'm not knowledgeable to make definite assertions, I've heard (and strongly suspect) that these are for texture and taste purposes.

              1. re: vorpal

                Low-fat or fat-free milk is one thing - it doesn't change the essential quality of the milk (the thing that makes it milk...) but fat-free sour cream?! Fat-free cream cheese? Please... there is no way on earth that either of those products could be made outside of a laboratory (and they taste AWFUL) I'd rather just not use the stuff at all, than use fake food.

                1. re: Kajikit

                  You hit the nail on the head: it's all about whether lower fat versions change the essential nature of a food. I think that oftentimes, it's like vegetarian food: I like meat, but, I detest vegetarian food that pretends to be meat. On the other hand, I love lots of veggie foods (i.e. S. Indian) that are secure in their vegetarian form and don't attempt to be anything else.

                2. re: vorpal

                  You should take a glance at the label on Fage non-fat yogurt if you have yet to see a non-fat product without additives. I won't eat non-fat cheese or sour cream, but I'll definitely eat things like the non-fat Fage.

            2. There's nothing wrong with fat, basically. Its the amount one consumes. The lower fat varieties are for those who want to consume quantities of something larger than the "full fat" varieties would allow in the same quantity and still maintain weight or health.

              I think thats basically it. With the exception of low fat milk and lowfat sour cream (only the Daisy brand, though, as most of the others have all kinds of stuff added) I don't bother with them.

              All food and all intake is really about portion sizes, frequency and exercise. By which I mean that you can eat a small amount of just about anything. You just can't eat a large amount or even a "normal sized amount" (whatever that means anymore) of everything. There's no one right answer for everyone, but those are the basic elements people have to pay attention to.

              1. I have to agree with most of the above. There are good reasons for low fat, but some of the substitutes are scary. For example, mayonnaise. Regular Hellman's has eggs, oil, water, lemon, and a preservative. Light Hellman's has an extra ten ingredients, including HFCS and unpronouncable chemical combos. I'll stick with full fat, thanks.

                People switched from butter to margarine in the hopes of being healthier. Now we find that we had the wrong info and the natural stuff is better in our bodies. As to milk, I only use it for cereal and soups so low fat is fine. Low fat sourcream has the wrong consistency. Low fat cheese is disgusting.

                1. I prefer to choose what level (and sometimes what kind) of fat, just as I choose what spices and what amount of them are in my foods.

                  Unbelievably fatty foods, like pork belly and bacon, can be unctuously wonderful if the entire meal doesn't leave you feeling like Jabba the Hutt.

                  "Diet margarine" ... "veggie burgers" ... forget it, I'll go for butter and meat every time. But I can cook many dishes with a lot less fat, for so many reasons: either the dish doesn't suffer from the 'lightening treatment,' or I want a contrast with something else that's fatty, and thereby gain a tool instead of necessarily losing quality.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wayne keyser

                    I think your inclusion of "veggie burgers" is spurious here. Veggie burgers are a veggie option, not a low- or non-fat one. I've had excellent "veggie burgers" full of goodies like ground cashews and they weren't low fat- they were, however, delicious.

                    OP, I am with you 100%. If you are going to consume dairy, make it full-fat, and do it in moderation. I've been using whole milk for, literally, the first time in my life (and it's not the fat in milk that adults, some of them, outgrow- it's the lactose) over the last few months as I've discovered the pure joy of the proper cappuccino. This is a shot of espresso and 3-4 oz of steamed milk (PROPERLY steamed milk) in a 5-oz cup. I have one of these a day and then, if I'm working at home, a 3-oz espresso macchiato in the afternoon. Total whole milk consumption: about 5 oz a day. Since my partner and I have discovered reliable sources for Astro and Liberty full-fat yogurt, as well as that gift of Allah known as labna (another full-fat product), we don't allow reduced-fat yogurt (aside from Activia, but never the non-fat version) in our kitchen. We've gone from trying to eat fat-free to embracing it, in cooking and baking and those perfect cappuccinos. BUT these things are in moderation and we try to consume rationally. In the midst of this dietary suicide, I've lost 12 lbs since last summer and have not even tried. My BP and especialy my lipid numbers are great (and lipids are especially improved since I've made a point of eating FATTY fish at least twice a week) This is not about Atkins but it is about not presuming a naive quick fix. Fat makes you fat, so you can eat 2,000 calories of nonfat cookies? Fat makes you fat, so a 800-calorie smoothie from Jugo Juice (or Jamba for you Americans) is okay?

                    I'm increasingly convinced and increasingly strident about two things: One is that fat is not the enemy. Fat is good, it's necessary, it's a gift. Second is that whatever this "obesity epidemic" is, it's promoted by the same interests who are trying to force feed us because their existence depends on obesity.

                    Coda: why does nobody ever mention the fact that "obesity" and MORTALITY, as measured in population terms, are not correlated? Smoking rates are; alcoholism rates are; even unemployment rates are all clearly related to mortality: Smoking goes down; mortality goes down. Drinking goes down; mortality goes down. Unemployment goes down; mortality goes down. "Obesity" goes UP and UP, ever since the concept was invented, and mortality goes DOWN. Obesity is NOT correlated with any population-level health parameters except for public disgust levels and public I-hate-seeing-fat-people indicators. Anybody want to refute this?

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      A person who is grossly overweight has a shorter life expectancy. He/she is more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, breathing disorders, etc. Here's one study from the New England Journal of Medicine. You'll find thousands more with a simple search:


                      1. re: mojoeater

                        All true, but low fat and sugar free foods often lull people into thinking they can eat without consequences. And one is often less satiated after eating low fat food that ought not be low fat, so one continues eating. These factors may contribute more to the obesity epidemic than ameliorate it.

                  2. there SHOULD be more full fat yoghurts, because to compensate the low fat versions add tons of sugar, which actually means more calories in the low fat versions of yoghurt. Check it out next time. Right now I'm eating Erivan yoghurt, a full 8oz serving (1 cup) has 9g of fat but only 150 calories. A small serving of non-fat yoghurt, like those individual cups that are sold can have around 220 calories.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: fara

                      Caveat - only when speaking of flavored yogurts. Fage Total Non-Fat and Lowfat plain yogurt have nothing at all added. Personally, I'd rather have the plain yogurt and add my own fruit and other condiments and control the flavor, fat, etc.

                      And not all flavored for that matter. Stonyfield flavored lowfat/nonfat do not have that high a calorie count either.

                      1. re: sivyaleah

                        Yogurt with additives is yogurt with additives, whether it is full fat or not. Eating low-fat or non-fat yogurt doesn't have to mean eating yogurt with additives, it means buying a brand that doesn't use them. I agree that a lot of commercial yogurts are full of crap, but usually the full-fat versions of the same brand also have crap. And the stuff that replaces the fat (usually carageenan, gelatin, tapioca starch and nonfat milk solids, which are all naturally occurring substances), is actually not that bad, especially compared to the various sweeteners used.

                        I really wish that people wouldn't tell me what to eat, whether it's to eat less fat or to eat more.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          >>I really wish that people wouldn't tell me what to eat, whether it's to eat less fat or to eat more.

                          Amen to that. It all makes food so much less enjoyable.

                          1. re: cimui

                            That's the crux of it, I think. More choices = good. It's when the food police kicks in that it becomes bad.

                            1. re: piccola

                              who here is acting as food police?

                              1. re: fara

                                No one here so far. But it's done all over the place, on both the full-fat and the no-fat sides of the debate.

                            2. re: cimui

                              I agree but I guess I'm saying that every time I go to a supermarket, I'm being told loud and clear that I should only eat low-fat or non-fat. I want to eat full-fat but always have to dig through stuff to find it!

                              1. re: koreankorean

                                I agree with you, I have to be extra carefull when getting cream cheese, and other items to make sure I dont by mistake pick up the flavorless / terrible tasting low fat, or non fat version. It seems the low fat / non fat versions outnumber the real product these days. I guess marketing works on the masses.

                                1. re: koreankorean

                                  It's a problem for me, too. Milk is easy but it's hard to find full fat yogurt. I don't think of it as being told what to eat as much as the stores are stocking what's in demand. I mean, they're not telling us to eat boxes of overly sugared cereal and that's what's mostly on the shelves.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    In my area, the full-fat yogurt/sour cream/cottage cheese/etc. has equal shelf space. (In fact, it's sometimes hard to find Fage 0%, because they stock mostly 5% and full-fat.)

                                    What I have trouble finding is *plain* yogurt...

                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                A hearty Amen! to that.
                                I find most of the people are living in a world of self delusion.
                                I was heartbroken to find that one cup of Fage full fat Yoghurt has a whopping 300 calories!

                            3. re: fara

                              Ohh that sounds delicious. Where do they sell these? I haven't seen them at my neighborhood Pathmark. Wholefoods??

                              1. re: koreankorean

                                Fage Total? It's a Greek yogurt. Nearly all large supermarkets carry it now - I can get it at A&P, Shop-Rite, Kings, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc. Even small corner groceries in NYC have it now. There is one which comes with a small side of honey in it too. They come in full fat (like 24 grams of fat!!!), and various lower fat version ranging from about 5% all the way down to non-fat. They do not have that loose quality regular yogurt is known for. It's very firm in comparison, and slightly tangy. Really wonderful stuff and makes a great substitute for sour cream in dips.

                                One of my fav breakfasts is the 1% or 2% with some homemade granolo, fresh berries and a drizzle of good honey. Good eating!

                                1. re: koreankorean

                                  i assume you mean Erivan since you were replying to me? whole foods usually carries it.

                                  1. re: fara

                                    yes, I did. thanks for sivyaleah though (I tried fage but didn't like the chalky after-taste). I'll try this Erivan next time I go to Wholefoods.

                              2. Saturated fats can cause coronary artery disease. Calories aside, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats aren't bad for people. There are good fats like omega 3 fatty acids that are healthy for us. Unless you have a weight problem the ones that are bad for you, regardless of weight, are saturated and trans fats.

                                1. That's really interesting about different types of fat. I do know that transfat must be bad (why else would kfc ban it?). I do notice that I have trouble digesting some kinds of fatty foods more than others. For example, I can eat unlimited amounts of pork belly (when it's just pork belly and no other added ingredient) and feel fine, but fried chicken (not home-fried) is hard. In fact, when I deep-fry anything at HOME, I can digest it fine, but eating deep-fried stuff outside is not always fine. Is this related to the kind of fat restaurants use? Is transfat harder to digest? Is the good type of fat easier on one's body (easier to digest etc)? Is my body telling me something?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: koreankorean

                                    Many restaurants fry in trans fats which might be why it makes you sick (or it could be the preservatives they use to keep it even longer). I find that trans fats leaves this oily coating in my mouth. Maybe your body is telling you to stick to more natural oils since partially hydrogenated oils are man made and worst for your body than natural fats.

                                  2. I agree with Ruth and Piccola that it really depends on the food. I like full fat things (esp. yogurt) when I'm hungry and/or don't want to eat a lot volume-wise (i.e. when I need to fit into a tight dress :). In situations like that, full fat everything is just fine by me. On the other hand, for regular drinking, I find skim milk to be the yummiest, as well. Whole milk is good for oatmeal and cereal.

                                    The things I must have full fat for the taste: Ice cream, mousse and cheese.

                                    The things I like better low fat: meat (fish and poultry over red meat most of the time), granola bars, snack foods. I love brown rice cakes, fruit, soy crisps, Luna bars and that sort of thing as a snack. I don't really enjoy munching on oily chips or chocolate or cookies or that sort of thing. I prefer almonds and pistachios to, say, macadamia nuts or walnuts. I much prefer lightly smoked and salted chicken or turkey deli meats to ham or bratwurst or prosciutto or bacon, etc....

                                    I don't have a problem with low fat food being on the market. It gives all of us the freedom to pick and choose what we like.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: cimui

                                      They've managed to make low-fat icecream really REALLY good now with the slow-churning process... you can't even tell the difference in most brands. I was surprised at how good it tastes. I don't deliberately choose to buy it over the regular kind, but I'll eat it happily if it's there...
                                      On the other hand, DH accidentally bought some low-fat mayonnaisse awhile ago, and we opened it because we didn't have any of the regular kind left in the house. It was GUMMY! (UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                        Agreed! UGH!!!!!!!!!!

                                        I really can't say that I like the low fat ice creams I've tried, unfortunately. I guess I'm kind of a snot about my ice cream. Gelato however, is naturally lower fat than ice cream, I think--and there are some fantastic renditions out there. Oooh, and Whole Fruit bars rock da bomb. Esp. the strawberry ones. I think they're either low fat or fat free. (See, e.g., what you said about essential nature of foods, above. Really good point!)

                                        1. re: cimui

                                          Just last week I bought Haagen Vaas low-fat dulce de leche, and their regular creme brulee, and aside from the difference in flavour that were meant to be there, I really could NOT tell them apart in quality - if you'd given me a blind test it would have been impossible to tell which was the low-fat version... I gave it to DH and he didn't even mutter. That's what I mean by good quality...

                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                            HD lower fat ice cream has much more sugar and a much higher carb count, a whopping 37 grams per 1/2 cup serving. Hardly a health food.

                                            1. re: Fleur

                                              Well, it's still ice cream. Ice cream is never really a health food.

                                              1. re: piccola

                                                one thing I noticed is that lower the fat content for yogurt, lower the calcium content. a full-fat plain yogurt typically has 30 - 35% daily value of calcium. a non-fat yogurt I saw the other day only had 10% calcium..

                                                1. re: koreankorean

                                                  But that's not true across the board, kk. I think one has to read labels with almost any yogurt, whatever the fat content. For example, Wallaby nonfat plain yogurt provides 50% of the RDA for calcium in a one cup serving. I haven't yet found another yogurt that provides that much calcium in a single serving. It's too bad I don't like the way it tastes!

                                              2. re: Fleur

                                                If you're looking for 'health food' you shouldn't be looking in the icecream cabinet, whatever the ads say! I didn't buy it because it was 'low fat', I bought it because I'm hooked on dulce de leche and it was on sale... and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.

                                      2. Really depends on what you are talking about.

                                        Most foods I prefer the regular, or "full-fat", version.

                                        But there are some that I actually think are better in "lite" or "fat-free" iterations, including:


                                        frozen yogurt

                                        Wheat Thins

                                        deli meats like turkey and chicken breast

                                        Baked Lays potato chips


                                        Granola cereal

                                        1. I like fat. All the flavour in food is in the fat. Pork fat is delicious. Beef needs to be somewhat fatty to taste good. Milk without the fat is not very palatable. I had an aunt who would only eat the fat on a pork roast with a good dab of sweet mustard. She died at the age of 89. Give me the crackling from the roast pork and the schmaltz from a goose spread on a piece of bread! Without the fat in food nothing really schmeks.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hagar4316

                                            Yes, fat carries flavor, but not "all the flavor in food is in the fat." Take fresh herbs--a little volatile oil, but very little, and plenty of flavor. It's entirely possible to cook flavorful food without much fat. Skim milk from cows who eat grass is actually entirely palatable. There are plenty of lean cuts of beef which are delicious, without being as fatty as ribeye. I'm not one to believe that fat is bad, but let's be reasonable and accurate here. There's a big difference between the health effects of different fats. Some are best moderated by the majority of the population. I'm not advocating we eschew traditional foods like the ones you mention, but it pays to be moderate.

                                          2. NOTHING is wrong with full fat. When dairy is processed for fat removal it loses nutrition. Natural milk fat is very good for you. The catch is that homogenized dairy is terrible for you. So the trick is to find milk that is full fat and non-homegenized. Yogurt should be full fat. It's a simple equation, the further a food gets from its natural state, the worse it is for you.

                                            In regard to the obesity epidemic, don't you thyink it's interesting that we have more low-fat products availble today and yet the population is fatter than ever? Low fat and fat free foods are processed and synthetic and full of chemicals and additives. That is what is making America overweight, not healthy natural fats found naturally in foods.

                                            Both of my parents (and cousins, aunts, uncles) were raised on working farms. They lived off the land. They ate eggs daily, drank full fat raw milk daily, ate steaks form their own livestock...along with tons of fresh fruits and veggies that they grew. You've never seen leaner people. AND everyone had low cholesterol, no heart problems, and all of the unles actively lived well into their 90's. What my family members never ate, however were processed foods.

                                            So I say go for the full fat dairy. It's more natural and it tastes much better!

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: OrganicLife

                                              What is the science backing up your claim that "homogenized dairy is terrible for you?"

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Homogenization breaks the fat particles down so small that they corrode your arteries, almost like little shards of glass. They scrape at the walls of your arteries making them rough and coarse. These snags allow things such as plaque and cholesterol to stick to them, thus making it easier to form a blockage.

                                                Additionally, real raw whole milk is a substance full of living enzymes and antibodies that are supremely beneficial for good health. (Raw milk safety myths are for another post) When milk is pasteurized, the antibdies and enzymes are killed and the milk becomes a non-living substance. Homogenization is a process that is 100% unnecessary and further subjects the milk to heat and processing. The end product is a far cry from milk really is with much of the nutrition destroyed.

                                                Do some web searches on homgenized dairy. It's kind of a nasty process.

                                                    1. re: OrganicLife

                                                      None of these are peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Some MD back in the 60's hypothesized that homogenization might be harmful. No research has proven this to be true. That said, I used to live with a family who kept a Jersey cow. We would all skim the fat off to put on cereal, cook with, make ice cream, etc. The skimmed milk usually got tossed. Suffered no ill effects, and I've never had better ice cream!

                                              2. re: OrganicLife

                                                While I won't pass up natural full fat milk fresh from a dairy, there are health concerns with saturated fats. Living off the land is different than sitting in an office all day long which most people do these days. My in-laws are all super thin people and all they eat are processed foods but I wouldn't conclude that processed foods are fine. Moderation is key.


                                              3. I avoid all low fat offerings at the super market, & in my life in general, they dont taste anything like their non low fat alternatives. I drink whole milk, and cannot stand watered down skim milk. I eat regular cheeses, and do not like the taste of low fat cheeses, and they do not work as well in recipies as regular cheeses. I also will only eat regular sour cream, and not its low fat alternative. I also only use butter, no margarine will ever be in my house. Lastly Light beers are also something I will not touch. Once again taste being the issue.

                                                My school of thought is I eat to enjoy things, why eat something without taste, and possibly full of chemicals, and artificial flavors that are found in many low fat offerings, all in the attempt to try to make them taste good.

                                                For the record I am not obese, or anything close to it. I weigh within 10 lbs of when I graduated high school back in 1988. I owe that to knowing when to push away from the table, physical jobs in my early 20's, currently walking 2+ miles 3-4 days a week, and mowing an acre lot weekly with a push mower.

                                                1. i too think the low fat/nonfat path leads you to obesity, not from it. low meat fat perhaps will make you leaner, but in general eschewing fat will only make you more hungry. try loading up on olive oil and getting rid of any nonfat processed food. you'll lose weight in no time.
                                                  i jut got back from vacation in the middle east. my exercise level was way down, we did almost no walking except for one day, mostly we were in the car or sitting somewhere. we eate hummus (of various kinds), labneh, falafel, (all with lots of olive oil) and lots of pita bread. once or twice a small schwarma, other than that no meat. i lost 1lb, insignificant, but I expected to gain under those conditions. only reinforces the idea that a fresh diet, with plenty of olive oil and low meat is the most slimming. doesn't this work for most people?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: fara

                                                    I don't think anyone is advocating low-fat processed foods. I don't advocate processed foods, period. But, to use your example, the amount of fat you use to make hummus can vary tremendously. Many foods contain more fat than necessary, simply because it's an easy way to boost flavor (ask any restaurateur about the extra fat they use).

                                                    I'm not anti-fat, I'm anti unnecessary fat. The natural diet for humans is naturally low fat -- game meat has less fat than modern grain-finished meat; oils and butter were traditionally much more expensive, making fried foods luxury items. Most of the world lives on rice and vegetables, which is a very low-fat diet.

                                                    Our modern foods have too much fat, and too many fatty foods that should be eaten sparingly are ubiquitous.

                                                    As for what is "slimming" -- almost any "diet" will "work." Calories in less than calories burned is not rocket science. The problem is that in the first world, there's simply too much food around; it's not so much that people make bad food choices (although they do), it's that they make unconscious food choices, i.e., they aren't really choosing at all. If overweight people start keeping a food journal -- not diet, just write down everything they eat, and how much -- most of them will lose weight, simply because they become more conscious of what they're eating: that soda at the staff meeting, those cookies on the reception desk, the leftover food on their kids' dinner plates, etc. There's a Starbucks, have a frappucchino -- it's not "food" so don't count the calories. I lost four pounds on a 2.5 week vacation in Italy. A good part of that was all the walking, but a good part of it was simply that I wasn't sitting at a desk, bored and unconsciously snacking, and I bet the same was true on that vacation in the Middle East.

                                                    When I was a kid (a generation ago), people didn't eat all the time: you ate three meals a day and maybe a snack in the afternoon. Now people always seem to have food in front of them, and a lot of it is food that gets its appeal because it's loaded with all that flavorful fat.

                                                  2. I believe marketing has a bit of effect on this new craze on diet food.
                                                    They make you believe low fat version is healthier when it usually has more artificial ingredients than full fat version. I usually end up eating more when the product says, low fat, to make up the flavor. I will just have a normal portion of normal food.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                      Marketing, and evil advertisers should not be blamed.

                                                      It is time for everyone to grow up, step up to the plate and take responsibility for the choices we make for ourselves and our families.

                                                    2. I personally try to buy non-fat or low fat versions of products. I have been trying to change my eating habits since January 2006 and have lost 70 pounds. I have been drinking non-fat milk since I was a child and genuinely dislike whole milk. I eat Fage 0% yogurt and add my own flavor. I also use it in lieu of sour cream, heavy cream and cream cheese. Fat free evaporated milk makes a good sub for cream. Of course I do watch my overall caloric intake. I read the labels of the food I am purchasing and look at the whole picture - Is there HFCS added to make up for lost flavor? (if so it goes back on the shelf) How many calories? How much protein? How much fiber?

                                                      I think Americans in general do not know what to eat. A food is not good for you simply because it is low fat. We must learn to look at the whole picture. The diet industry will have you eating no fat one minute and no carbs the next. We do need fat and carbs but we need the right types of each. We also must limit the amount the amount of calories over all

                                                      1. I like Best Foods Light & Daisy Light but the full fat of course tastes better. I'm used to 1% milk (it also gets colder) but whole milk is a rich treat I reserve only for my Christmas party. (to go with homemade baked goods)

                                                        Also, ipsedixit, you are so right about low-fat wheat thins! They are much crunchier and browner than regular. Much better.