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Rethinking Fat: How Misguided Dietary Recommendations Contributed to the Diabetes Epidemic

Food, Medicines, and Lies The Health Talk series by Dr. Prritii

dr priti nanda sibal

For decades, we've been inundated with messages vilifying fat and promoting low-fat or fat-free diets as the pathway to health and longevity. However, as a Functional Medicine advocate, I've observed the detrimental effects of these dietary recommendations on public health, particularly in contributing to the diabetes epidemic. In this blog, we'll explore how the demonization of fat has led us astray and how embracing fat with a critical lens can pave the way for a healthier future.

The Low-Fat Era

The low-fat movement gained momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, fueled by recommendations from health authorities and medical professionals. Dietary guidelines encouraged the consumption of low-fat or fat-free foods while demonizing sources of dietary fat, such as butter, oils, and full-fat dairy products. However, despite these efforts, rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes continued to soar.

The Role of Dietary Fat in Diabetes

Contrary to popular belief, dietary fat is not the enemy when it comes to diabetes prevention and management. In fact, research has shown that certain types of fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish, can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

The Problem with Low-Fat Foods

Many low-fat or fat-free foods are highly processed and loaded with added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and artificial additives to compensate for the lack of fat. These products often have a higher glycemic index, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels and increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The Truth About Dietary Fat

Fat is an essential macronutrient vital for various physiological functions, including hormone production, brain health, and nutrient absorption. Instead of demonizing fat, we should focus on identifying sources of healthy fats and incorporating them into our diets in moderation.

Embracing Functional Medicine Principles

Functional Medicine takes a holistic approach to health, recognizing the interconnectedness of body systems and the importance of individualized care. When it comes to dietary fat and diabetes prevention, Functional Medicine emphasizes:

Quality Over Quantity: Focus on consuming whole, minimally processed foods rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

Balancing Macronutrients: Strive for a balanced diet that includes a mix of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins to support overall health and blood sugar regulation.

Mindful Eating: Practice mindful eating habits, paying attention to hunger and satiety cues and choosing foods that nourish your body and support your health goals.


The misguided recommendations promoting low-fat and fat-free diets have contributed to the diabetes epidemic by promoting highly processed, sugary foods that disrupt blood sugar control and promote insulin resistance. By embracing fat with a critical lens and incorporating Functional Medicine principles into our dietary choices, we can reclaim our health and reverse the tide of diabetes. Let's shift our focus from fear of fat to embracing the right fats in the right amounts for optimal health and well-being.

Dr. Priti's Quote:

"Fat is your friend – don't repel it, but ask, 'Why are you fat?'"


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