A low-fat diet is a dietary modification that minimises fat content in your meals. It works on the principle of cutting down all kinds of fat, regardless of their type, be it dairy fat, animal fat, or other saturated fat. The primary objective of a low-fat diet is to reduce fat storage in the body. It aims at helping you lose weight. But is it healthy? Does it offer all the essential nutrients and minerals that your body requires to function?
Many people believe that exercising enough can help cut down on fat. Although physical activities help, reducing fat also depends on your body composition. It is a combination of a balanced diet and physical activities that help you stay fit and reduce excess fat from your body. For example, if you are obese or come under the high BMI category, you must do more than just exercise. Hence, a balanced diet and necessary dietary modifications are vital.
This article will help you understand the mechanism of a low-fat diet and foods that you can eat and should avoid. Like any other diet, a low-fat diet has its pros and cons that you need to check before switching your diet. Your dietary changes should always be based on your body type and needs.
Low-Fat Diet: An Introduction
A low-fat diet is a dietary pattern that reduces fat intake from your meals. Ideally, a low-fat diet reduces your fat consumption to a great extent. The simple rule of following a low-fat diet is to opt for less than 30% or around 15-20% of calories from fats. The degree to which you want to keep it depends on your condition and needs. Since the world of social media and marketing gimmicks tend to spread a lot of misinformation and mockery based on various diets, it is always best to consult a registered dietician before making any dietary modification.
The foods you eat bring in calories to your system. Your body uses these calories to generate energy that you can use to perform basic metabolic activities. The excess calories that your body fails to burn through physical and metabolic activities convert into fat that gets stored in your body. Excess body fat can lead to several cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.
The low-fat diet works on a simple rule of preventing and minimising fat consumption through your meals. Studies suggest lowering your average diet’s fat content decreases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. But before you mindlessly decide on making any dietary modification, it is essential to understand that your body needs all nutrients in moderation to function correctly. Being conscious and focusing on being healthy is good. But being obsessed with the measurements of the body is not correct.
Low-Fat Diet: Foods That You Can Eat
A low-fat diet does not mean that you have to restrict yourself from eating many foods. It does not shrink your options. Instead, there are a lot of food items that you can eat on a low-fat diet. Here is a list of the most acceptable foods on a low-fat diet.
Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta
- Whole wheat bread, oatmeal
- Puffed rice, puffed wheat
- Whole wheat, brown/red rice and whole grain pasta
- Seasonal whole fruits
- Soft melon
Milk and Dairy Products
- Fat-free milk
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Cottage cheese (low-fat)
- Fresh and well-cooked vegetables
- Raw vegetables and vegetables with seeds
- Sauerkraut, winter squash, and mushrooms
- Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, baked beans, corn, and garlic
- Eggs without added oil
- Lean meat like skinless chicken and turkey
- Fat-free salad dressing with lemon, plain gravies
- Dry fruits like apricots, raisins, etc.
- Herbs and spices, broth and soups made with recommended foods
- Green tea, lemon tea, herbal tea, etc.
- Fat-free puddings, fruit custard, sorbet
Low-Fat Diet: Foods to Avoid
When following any dietary modifications, you must know the foods you should avoid. Here is a list of foods you should avoid following a low-fat diet.
Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta
- White bread, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers
- Any packed chips or cookies
- Fast food products and pasta sauces
- Canned fruits
- Fried fruit products
Milk and Dairy Products
- High-fat milk
- Flavoured yoghurt
- Full-fat milk custard
- Ice cream
- Fried vegetables
- French fries or fried potato in any form
- Beef, lamb, ham, veal, pork
- Eggs cooked in extra oil or butter
- Butter, oils, mayonnaise, sour cream
- White sugar, jelly, and packaged syrup
- Coffee or tea containing sugar and full-fat milk, carbonated beverages or soda
- Cakes and cookies or hard candies
- Gelatin, high sugar puddings, ice cream, popsicles
The HealthifyMe Note
A low-fat diet operates on the principle of reducing all types of fat, whether dairy fat, animal fat, or other saturated fat. The basic rule of a low-fat diet is to opt for 30% or less (around 15-20%) of calorie intake from fats. The remaining ingredients should be fat-free. Moreover, avoiding fast food like pizza, burgers, or other unhealthy items is essential. It is vital to understand that no matter how convenient it might be to grab a burger on the way to work, it is very harmful to your body. It works like a slow poison that silently affects your health. Therefore, making healthy choices and following a healthy lifestyle are recommended.
Tips to Prepare a Low-Fat Diet
Here are a few points you should consider before planning your low-fat diet.
- Make sure you stay away from packaged food items. There are a lot of food products that use high-fat content in the process of making the product. Try to read the contents carefully if you want to buy something packaged.
- Avoid fast food consumption even if your aim isn’t weight loss. If you still have urges, you can eat it in a controlled portion once or twice a month.
- Eat on small plates. It is scientifically proven that we feel fuller when we eat on a small plate as it keeps a check on the amount of food we eat.
- Try to incorporate more fibre-rich products. Fibre helps in digestion and gives the feeling of a full stomach. It makes you limit the amount of food you eat and provides digestive help.
- Plan the diet so you can follow it for an extended period. Many times people plan a rigorous low-fat meal. However, it becomes difficult for their body, and eventually, they give up. So instead, plan a meal according to your daily food plan. All you need to do is eliminate the food products containing fat. It will help you follow the diet for the required period and eventually might show you the desired results.
A Reference Low-Fat Diet Plan
If you are unsure what to include in the diet, it is always best to take a nutritionist’s advice. A sample 7-day diet plan that might help you plan your diet by looking at all the food products you can use during your low-fat diet plan.
Breakfast – Whole Wheat Bread Sandwich with roasted/grilled chicken and veggies, green tea
Lunch – Cooked quinoa with Veggies, Lentil Soup
Dinner – Steamed broccoli and roasted black chicken
Breakfast – Whole grain bread vegetable sandwich, boiled eggs with pumpkin seeds
Lunch – Mashed sweet potato, roasted fish, Cucumber Lettuce Salad
Dinner – Steamed beans, Low-Fat yoghurt with Carrot, cucumber sticks
Breakfast – Water poached eggs and whole-wheat toast
Lunch – Mashed potatoes, pasta with low-fat sauce, Vegetable Salad with no fat lemon herbs dressing
Dinner – Baked chicken thigh, boiled carrots, and lentils.
Breakfast – Oats with low-fat milk and berries
Lunch – Whole grain wrap with chicken breast and cooked mushrooms
Dinner – Whole wheat pasta with baked cottage cheese (low-fat)
Breakfast – Millet/oats flour pancakes, blueberries, ripe banana, yoghurt
Lunch – Whole grain noodles, peeled cooked carrots, sauteed asparagus tips
Dinner – Multigrain Tortilla Veggies wrap, Clear Chicken Soup
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs, mashed sweet potato, skim milk
Lunch – Sweet potato and red/black rice vegetable soup, sauteed asparagus
Dinner – Extra-lean ground turkey and white bean chilli, low-fat cornbread, green salad
Breakfast – Apple, No fat savoury egg muffin, low-fat yoghurt berry smoothie
Lunch -Cucumber salad, a multigrain bread tofu sandwich
Dinner – Multigrain Tuna wrap, steam vegetables with salt and pepper
Pros and Cons
Choose the best diet for you according to your body requirements. Before switching to any particular diet, it is best to consult health experts first.
Many people have used a low-fat diet to maintain their bodies or lose some pounds. The sole reason is that in a weight loss journey, the prime factor is to lose our body fat. On the other hand, if we start consuming fat, we will not get relevant results.
It Helps in Reducing Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels harm our body in many ways. Cutting down fat also assists in supporting heart health by lowering cholesterol levels.
Improving Diabetic Conditions
Diabetes patients must limit or avoid fat products. Furthermore, a low-fat diet is suggested for people having high blood pressure, heart disease, or other severe cases like cancer.
Helps in Surgery
Some surgeries require you to lose some weight. It makes the surgery process smooth and hassle-free. Many people opt for a low-fat diet in their pre-surgery stage.
Provides Nutrient-Rich Products
The fat-free products are generally fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, other products like low-fat milk, cottage cheese, lean meat, and eggs are all low in fats. These healthy food options make your meal nutritious and beneficial for the body.
May Increase Intake of Refined Carbohydrates
Choosing a low-fat diet increases the intake of carbs or refined carbohydrates. However, refined carbohydrates need to be limited. If there is an excess in the body, it might lead to the risk of metabolic disorders and hypertriglyceridemia.
May Lead To Macronutrient Imbalances
Intake of good fat in the right amount is also vital. If the amount of fat gets completely removed, it may lead to macronutrient imbalances. In addition, beneficial fatty acids like omega-3 get limited since this diet restricts fat entirely.
It May Not Be Helpful For Long-Term Weight Loss
A low-fat diet works wonders for short-term weight loss. But if you want to maintain a particular body for a long time, you will not be able to do it with a low-fat diet. In that case, you must adopt a balanced diet with necessary modifications.
The HealthifyMe Note
A low-fat diet only helps lose weight for a short time. Since it limits fat consumption, the energy gets obtained from carbohydrate and protein sources. Proteins assist in weight loss, and carbohydrates boost mood. Still, since fat consumption is restricted, our body lacks good fats such as omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient like fat-soluble vitamins. The low-fat diet is a type of fad diet. Since fad diets provide fast results, it gets followed by people. However, these fad diets are not beneficial in the long term. One needs to make better diet choices and adopt a balanced diet with appropriate changes to achieve long-term benefits.
A low-fat diet is a type of diet where the fat content gets minimised. It demands avoiding all types of fat, whether dairy fat, animal fat, or other saturated fat. Also, avoid white bread, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers, and any packaged chips or cookies.
The low-fat diet is a kind of fad diet that provides short-term results. However, for satisfactory long-term results, you must follow a balanced diet with modifications suitable to your body. The HealthifyMe team’s nutritionists will provide you with a well-crafted diet plan to meet your goals in a healthy approach.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods should be avoided on a low-fat diet?
A. It is imperative to avoid all kinds of fat-inclusive products. Avoid food products like white bread, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers, and any packed chips or cookies. It is also essential to understand that fast food products have a large amount of fat. Therefore, you need to avoid any kind of fast food. Moreover, individuals must minimise the intake of meat. Meat contains animal fat which is very harmful to the body.
Q. Can you eat eggs on a low-fat diet?
A. Yes, individuals can eat eggs on a low-fat diet. However, it is best to eat boiled eggs. Also, you need to ensure that you do not incorporate additional fat into your eggs. If you are making scrambled eggs or using them in a dish, you must be careful about the type and amount of oil you use.
Q. Is a low-fat diet better for weight loss?
A. Yes, a low-fat diet is helpful in weight loss. The chief concept of weight loss is to reduce the fat stored in our bodies. In that case, it is best not to consume any additional fat. For weight loss, incorporate many fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Q. What is a good low-fat breakfast?
A. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. Therefore it needs to be completely nutrient-rich. A low-fat breakfast includes boiled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruits, vegetable juice or fat-free milk.
Q. Are potatoes low-fat?
A. Yes, potatoes are naturally fat-free and cholesterol-free. However, it depends on how you choose to consume the product. Boiling the potato and eating it by adding a pinch of salt and pepper will provide various nutrients and is not detrimental to weight loss. According to the USDA, 100 grams of potato contains 0.08 grams of fat.
Q. How can I reduce my stomach fat?
A. Low-fat diet is very effective for reducing stomach fat. Avoid fat-containing products and eat reasonable amounts of fibrous food products. Fibre helps in digestion and gives the feeling of a full stomach. It makes you limit the amount of food you eat and provides digestive help.
Q. Is oatmeal low-fat?
A. Yes, oatmeal is a low-fat product. It is only 6.52 grams of fat per 100 grams. You can have it as a part of your breakfast or dinner. It also helps in reducing the risk of heart disease and colorectal cancer. It can also help lower blood pressure and aid in digestion. Oatmeal can be part of a healthy low-fat diet.
Q. Which meat is low-fat?
A. Lean meat has a low-fat content. It includes skinless chicken and turkey. However, it is crucial to understand that we cannot cook these in high fat.
Q. Are bananas good for a low-fat diet?
A. Yes, bananas are suitable for a low-fat diet. According to USDA, 100 grams of banana contains 0.33 grams of fat. Therefore, you can incorporate it into your low-fat diet as a breakfast option. However, do not eat packaged banana chips that have been fried or have added fat.
Q. Is peanut butter low-fat?
A. No, peanut butter is not a low-fat product. It has a high-fat content. According to USDA, 100 grams of natural peanut butter contains 50 grams of fat. Therefore, we cannot include it in a low-fat diet.