Is Low-fat Diet Really Bad For You?

Vivian Chang

Article Summary

In the article posted through Boston Magazine, Philip Hilts discusses the trend of low-fat diets and the devastation it has brought to our society. On January 5, 2016, he examines the work of David Ludwig and his efforts in mainstreaming his new theory on food. Ludwig is a physician that specializes in treating obesity at Boston Children’s Hospital and is also a professor that teaches nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Ludwig has experimented with different types of diets consumed by people that are overweight or obese. In one of his experiement, he observed 21 overweight young adults that were put on three different diets over a period of 3 months: a low-fat high-carb diet, a low-carb high-fat diet, or a diet that was equal in carbs and fats. He found that the low-fat high-carb diet had a negative effect and led the participants burning less calories than those on the high-fat low-carb diet. Therefore, Ludwig recommends eating foods that move slower during digestion and limiting processed carbohydrates. In conclusion, our society has cut out fat in our diets in an effort to lose weight, but have replaced it with highly processed, refined foods. Ludwig stresses the importance of the quality of the food rather than worrying about the calories.

Article Critique

Philip Hilts is a journalist that was the former director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT. According to his website,, he has written six books and was a prize-winning health and science reporter for two magazines, The New York Times and The Washington Post (Philip J Hilts, n.d.). According to the About Boston section of the magazine’s website,, it is among one of the highest percentage of newsstand copies sold in the United States in comparison to any kind of magazines. Based on the City and Regional Magazine Association, it has been named as the one of the three best city magazines in the nation (About Boston, 2006). Both the source and author’s credentials make them seem credible. Overall, the article was well-written and thought-provoking. Hilts main focus was bringing attention to the work of Dr. Ludwig and his perception of low-fat diet’s correlation with obesity. He uses two different experiments that Ludwig had preformed to manifest that a high-fat diet does not necessarily lead to high-fat bodies. Hilts didn’t just use Ludwig’s work to verify his points, but he also used statistics. He had presented statistics of the percentage of obesity and fat consumption in the 1960s compared to now. The main contents of Hilt’s article was based on Ludwig’s work. Ludwig is also credible because he teaches nutrition at Harvard and has performed numerous studies regarding the subject. However, the article can be misleading since it’s focus was on Ludwig and his recently published book. He credits the doctor and his colleagues as instrumental parts of the changes occurring in the food industry regarding fat intakes. Several writers, authors, and physicians have found that low-fat diets and refined carbohydrates is a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic, not just Dr. Ludwig. Some of which include, Gary Taubes, who wrote a book about why we get fat.