What is a low-fat diet? Advantages, disadvantages and 5 allowed foods
We think that there isn’t a single, universal strategy for leading a healthy lifestyle. Individualized meal planning that incorporates everyone is necessary for success. Before beginning a new diet, especially if you have a medical problem, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist. In this post, you will learn more about the low-fat diet and how to use it.
What is a low-fat diet?
Regardless of the type of fat consumed, a low-fat diet greatly reduces the amount of fat consumed. Dieters probably hope to lose weight, maintain their weight, or achieve other goals like better heart health.
Foods like fruits and vegetables that are consumed as part of a low-fat diet may already be naturally low-fat or fat-free. The diet may also contain processed items like low-fat cookies or low-fat ice cream that are designed to be lower in fat than their conventional counterparts.
What do the experts say?
When calories are limited, low-fat diets have been demonstrated to help people lose weight. Extremely low-fat diets, however, lead to vitamin and mineral shortages. For general health and longevity, it is recommended to consume a more balanced diet that includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
1. Salubrity of fats
When consumed in moderation, saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature, are not harmful, but consuming too much of them might cause illness. The USDA’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise consuming no more than 10% of your daily calories from saturated fat.
The recommended amount of saturated fat for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet is 22 grams or less, or 200 calories.
According to some scientists, saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol. Given this relationship, saturated fats must contribute to the risk of heart disease.
Contrary to what some studies have shown, saturated fat does not increase cholesterol levels or cause heart disease. For instance, dairy products’ saturated fat may potentially have a preventive impact.
Reduced consumption of saturated fats may not have any positive effects on heart health, according to research. Large LDL particles, which have nothing to do with cardiovascular disease risk, may be reduced by cutting back on saturated fat.
It is important to minimize your intake of saturated fat if you have high cholesterol or if your doctor has instructed you to do so.
Remember that 22 grams of saturated fat is a substantial quantity and that it should be reasonably easy to ingest, whether you follow a low-fat diet or a nutritionally balanced diet.
2: Added fat
Trans fats are also solid at room temperature. Trans fats increase the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease because they can lower HDL cholesterol while raising LDL cholesterol. Trans-fat consumption should be extremely low or practically nonexistent.
Consuming trans fats in moderation—no more than 1% of daily calories—is advised by the American Heart Association. For a person who consumes 2,000 calories per day, 2 grams of trans fat equate to 18 calories.
Hydrogen is routinely added to oils to artificially create trans fats by increasing the number of double bonds and the stability of the lipids. There are trace levels of natural trans fats, which are thought to be less harmful to health, in some animal sources.
3: unrefined fat
Mono- and polyunsaturated fats can be found in a variety of plant and animal foods, including nuts, seeds, seafood, avocados, and olive oil.
Both kinds are “good” fats since they have positive health effects like decreasing LDL cholesterol levels and are liquid at room temperature.
Additionally, people who eat more unsaturated fats have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disorders.
Experts advise focusing on raising healthy, unsaturated fats and minimizing trans fats while limiting saturated fats rather than adopting a low-fat diet.
Your health is significantly more dependent on the type of fat you consume than it is on the quantity.
A daily menu
There is no need to adhere to any particular timetable or meal plan when eating a low-fat diet. You can keep eating three meals a day if that’s how you choose to eat. This is not an exhaustive meal plan, and as you stick to the diet, you might discover more dishes that are effective for you.
- Day 1: Berry-infused oatmeal, black coffee, and six almonds Red pepper, cucumber, and tomato are chopped veggies added to a green leaf salad with a teaspoon of olive oil, a lemon, and cooked cod on top. Steamed green beans, a baked potato with salsa, and boneless, skinless chicken breast that has been roasted with fresh herbs and a teaspoon of vegetable oil
- Day 2: Steamed spinach, a whole egg and two egg whites, and whole grain bread with jam. vegetable broth-based soup with salt, together with a salad dressed in low-fat vinaigrette, brown rice, grilled asparagus, grilled mushrooms, and skinless, roasted turkey breast. Cheese with berries and low fat
- Day 3: Mixed berries, a low-fat mozzarella cheese slice, and two egg whites on a toasted English muffin make up an egg white sandwich. Chicken salad is made with grilled chicken breasts, celery, herbs, and a low-fat salad dressing. low-fat tortilla with apples and green veggies grilled rib steak, pilaf rice, and grilled mushrooms, peppers, and onions; carrots, celery, and grape tomatoes with hummus.
- Day 4: Grapefruit, whole grains, low-fat milk, and black coffee low-fat salad dressing on a mixed salad and a lean turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mustard; steamed broccoli, chicken breast, side salad, and spaghetti with marinara sauce; raspberry and fat-free chocolate pudding in a cup.
- Day 5: Orange, dry wholemeal bread, turkey bacon, scrambled egg whites, and black coffee Skinless turkey breast, baked sweet potato, steamed green beans, a cup of low-fat yogurt, and an apple; canned tuna combined with mustard and fat-free yogurt on a bed of mixed veggies, a whole grain roll, and an apple
- Day 6: Greek yogurt without added fat, honey, grapes, low-fat granola, and black coffee wholesome grains with chicken breast, hummus, mustard, cucumber, and grapes; popcorn without any flavoring; lean turkey and red pepper white beans; low-fat cornbread; side salad with low-fat dressing.
- Day 7: Orange juice, a low-fat muffin, blueberry yogurt, and black coffee Toss cod with lemon, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and brown rice. Lentil, carrot, and hummus soup; whole grain roll Grapefruit that has been grilled with nonfat vanilla yogurt
It’s all you can eat.
A low-fat diet can be followed in any way. Many well-known and widely-used diet programs are low-fat diets, although they do it in diverse ways. For instance, some regimens include low-fat frozen meals or fat-free meal replacement smoothies.
Some people advocate preparing and cooking food devoid of fats like butter or cooking oils. Although some low-fat diets decrease or remove foods that contain essential nutrients that encourage enjoyment and fullness, low-fat diets can be healthy.
1: Fruits and vegetables
With the exception of avocados and olives, these foods typically contain little fat. Eating fruits and vegetables of all hues is generally advised in order to acquire a variety of beneficial nutrients on a low-fat diet.
- the vegetables
2: dairy products with less fat
The majority of dairy products with full-fat content are lower in fat, and some low-fat options also contain calcium and protein.
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- low-fat cheese
- skimmed milk
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat sour cream
3: grains, beans, and pulses
For those following a low-fat diet, cereals, legumes, and seeds are excellent sources of protein and supply carbohydrates for energy. On this diet, meat consumption may be restricted, so it’s crucial to obtain protein from other sources.
- Whole grains
- pulses (lentils and peas)
- Whole-grain bread products
4 healthy proteins
Low-fat protein options abound. Select one of these choices.
- Skinless chicken
- White fish (cod, halibut)
- Lean pieces of beef (flank steak, filet mignon)
- Lean cuts of pork (pork fillet, very low-fat minced meat)
- egg white
5 sugar-free treats
There are numerous sweets that are low in fat or fat-free, but it should be remembered that they probably include a lot of sugar. contains savory foods like syrup or unique candies like licorice or hard candies. Although these foods are permitted on a low-fat diet, they typically contain a lot of sugar and are deficient in important vitamins and minerals.
What is off-limits?
Generally speaking, low-fat diets restrict your intake of fat to 30 percent or fewer of your daily calorie total. Some low-fat diets strictly restrict fat, allowing fewer than 15% of calories from fat. Although the following items are not legally forbidden, a low-fat diet is likely to severely restrict them in order to stay under calorie restrictions.
1: dairy items with added fat
These foods have a lot of fat in them.
- high-fat cheese
- full-fat milk
- Fatty sour cream
- full-fat yogurt
Popular baked foods are typically created with high-fat ingredients like eggs, oil, and butter. In a low-fat diet, these foods are typically fully or largely avoided.
- bar chocolate
3: Nuts and seeds
The majority of nuts and seeds contain healthy fats; however, because of their higher fat content, they are typically avoided. To obtain all of these foods’ essential fatty acids while following a low-fat diet, you should only eat a tiny portion of them.
- Chia seeds
- Flax seed
- Sunflower seeds
4: Olives and avocados
These fruits belong in a low-fat diet because they are frequently high in fat. For some people following this diet, 21 grams of fat from avocados, for instance, may be a sufficient amount of this nutrient.
5: Fatty meats
A low-fat diet typically eliminates or limits meats that are high in fat.
- Processed meats and cold foods
- Mince Meat
- streaky steak
Vegetable oils offer heart-healthy fats, and some of them even do so. However, a low-fat diet makes little or no use of them. When cooking at home, some dieters substitute cooking spray for oil to reduce their calorie intake.
- canola oil
- olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- coconut oil
Tips on how to prepare a low-fat diet
You choose foods with less fat or consume fewer fatty foods when you adopt a low-fat diet. Meals are typically not outright forbidden, but you might need to eat less of the higher-fat meals to follow the diet plan. For instance, chocolate enthusiasts can still indulge in their favorite treat, but only in portions that are consistent with their goals for daily fat intake.
You pick foods for a low-fat diet based on how much fat they contain. Usually, but not always, low-calorie foods are low-fat foods. In many processed foods, starch, sugar, or other substances are used in place of fat, yet they still contain calories.
For instance, some low-fat salad dressings substitute sugar or thickener for the oil, which lowers the fat amount but raises the sugar and occasionally the calorie content.
Even though some fat-free coffee creamers contain oil like their full-fat counterparts do, the amount of fat in a serving is sufficiently low to be considered fat-free.
Generally speaking, natural, low-fat, or fat-free meals (that have not undergone extensive processing) have more nutrients. For instance, many fruits and vegetables naturally contain little fat and calories.
These foods will make you feel satisfied and make you forget about dieting if your objective is to lose weight.
However, some well-known low-fat diets dramatically cut back on fat consumption. For instance, the Ornish Diet advises that you should only consume fat, which is present naturally in grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes, for no more than 10% of your daily calories. Soy products and limited quantities of nuts and seeds are available.
Make a fat intake calculation.
Micronutrients and calories must often be counted when following a low-fat diet. In order to ensure that you consume no more than 30% of your daily calories from fat, you must determine your overall calorie intake and check your fat grams.
Total daily grams of fat equal (total daily calories times 0.3) / 9 calories for every gram of fat.
On a low-fat diet, 600 of your daily 2,000 calories could come from fat. You can eat 66.7 grams of fat each day because each gram of fat has 9 calories.
A daily calorie intake of 1,800 calories allows for 540 calories from fat, or 60 grams.
A person who consumes 1500 calories per day can eat 50 grams of fat, or 450 calories from fat.
Recognize gram counts and labeling.
Using a smartphone app may be beneficial if you like to track your macronutrients or count calories. Apps like LoseIt! and MyFitnessPal There are thousands of food items in its database.
To view the item’s calories and fat grams right away, either manually enter a precise piece of the food or scan the product barcode.
You can monitor your nutrition and fat intake by keeping a simple meal journal. To determine your daily fat intake, use the Nutrition Facts label on the product you consume (or USDA data).
On the label, fat will be listed before calories. The label will probably include grams of total fat in addition to Additionally, it offers data on trans fat and saturated fat grams.
Study the many forms of fat.
The majority of low-fat diets do not differentiate between various forms of fat. The majority of low-fat diets don’t offer this.
To maintain a healthy low-fat diet, you must be aware of the various kinds of fats and choose those that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids and other polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Scientists and nutritionists have learned more about fat and its effects on the body since low-fat diets initially gained popularity. Monounsaturated fats, which may be found in olives, almonds, and avocados, and polyunsaturated fats, which can be found in seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts, are referred to as “good fats” since they contain vital elements.
It can assist in lowering blood cholesterol levels, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
On the other hand, trans fats and saturated fats (which are not present in processed meals) are harmful to the heart. The American Heart Association asserts that consuming meals high in saturated fat increases blood cholesterol levels, which can elevate your chance of developing heart disease and stroke.
Although the USDA advises keeping saturated fat consumption to no more than 10% of daily calories, the AHA advises keeping it to no more than 5% to 6% of total calories.
Model of a shopping list
In most grocery stores, you’ll find a wide variety of low-fat meals, both processed and naturally low-fat. Try to spend more time in the outside aisles of the store, such as the produce department, to maintain a low-fat diet plan.
Look for low-fat substitutes in the dairy aisles, and be ready to examine the nutrition information on packaged foods (such as grains, spices, and cereals).
This is not a comprehensive shopping list because the low-fat diet allows for a variety of food options, and if you stick to the diet, you might discover other items that are more beneficial to you.
- Fresh produce in a variety of hues, such as red peppers, oranges, leafy greens, blueberries, and eggplants
- Fruits and vegetables that are frozen are less expensive than fresh and last longer.
- Grains, particularly whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats
- White, red, and lentil beans are examples of beans and legumes.
- (Tilapia, zucchini, sulfur) Low-fat fish
- a protein source without skin, such as chicken breast or turkey
advantages of a low-fat diet
There are benefits to limiting fat consumption while trying to reduce calories or improve health.
1: No dietary limitations
There are no foods that are completely off limits; therefore, this is not a terribly restrictive diet. Even high-fat foods can be consumed in moderation as long as your daily total is within your target range.
2. It may be helpful.
While the quality of the food matters a lot and a low-fat diet isn’t always more effective than other diets, some studies suggest that a good low-fat diet can be effective for weight loss when compared to other diets.
3. promotes wholesome foods
Vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber are all present in fruits and vegetables, and dietary fiber has been linked to a lower risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Vitamins and minerals are sources of phytochemicals, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and phytoestrogenic properties.
4: Learning about certain dietary recommendations for fat
Fat-free mozzarella cheese is preferred over whole and low-fat (1%), low-fat (2%) or skim (fat-free) milk over full-fat milk, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
5. affordable and accessible
You don’t need to purchase specialized goods or subscribe to a service to choose a low-fat diet. Nearly every grocery store carries low-fat items, both naturally low-fat and processed low-fat.
6: It could raise heart health.
On a low-fat diet, cutting back on saturated fat may help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Because saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association advises limiting intake to no more than 13 grams per day, or roughly 5% to 6% of total daily calories.
By paying attention to the amount of fat in a low-fat diet, you can focus more on choosing mono- and polyunsaturated fats as an alternative.
7: Lowering the danger of heart disease
According to certain research, men’s total and LDL cholesterol levels decreased when their intake of total fat and saturated fat was reduced from 36 and 12% of total calories to 27 and 8% of total calories, respectively.
Similar to this, numerous studies have found a correlation between a lower intake of saturated fat and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
8: Some types of cancer may be avoided.
According to some research, eating less fat may lower your risk of developing breast, colon, rectal, and prostate cancer. However, this does not necessarily imply that cutting back on fat to the suggested level is advised.
9. It might result in weight loss.
For decades, low-fat diets have been linked to weight loss. There have been reports of people losing weight on a low-fat diet, and some studies back up this claim, but there isn’t any conclusive proof that a low-fat diet is more effective than other diets.(1 , 2 , 3)
Disadvantages of a low-fat diet
Nutritionists and medical specialists are concerned about low-fat diets, but just like the diet’s positive elements, the nutritional value of the foods eaten plays a significant role in preventing disease.
1. Eat less nutrients.
The body benefits significantly from healthy fats. To absorb the vitamins A, E, and K from your food, your body requires fat. Fat promotes proper cell development and shields your body’s internal organs.
Additionally, good fats can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. You might be restricting these advantages by dramatically cutting your fat consumption, especially below the USDA’s suggested level, and your body might not be receiving the nutrients it requires.
2. It is challenging to keep up.
Fat makes food satisfying and aids in making you feel full. You might overeat other foods and increase your calorie, sugar, or carbohydrate intake to amounts that aren’t compatible with your goals if you don’t have the satiating qualities of fat during meals and snacks.
3. There’s a chance that people will eat more unhealthy items.
When the low-fat diet initially gained popularity among Americans, a number of manufacturers created processed, low-fat versions of common high-fat foods like candy, ice cream, and chips.
These meals may be more detrimental to your health than beneficial because they are frequently heavy in sugar or starch. Numerous of these items lack nutritional value, and some studies even suggest that eating too much of them may increase your risk of developing diabetes and excess weight.
4: potentially cause nutritional imbalances
Sometimes eating too little fat results in a nutritional imbalance. For instance, you’ll probably eat more carbohydrates if you reduce your fat intake while maintaining your calorie and protein intake.
Adults should get between 45% and 65% of their calories from carbs, according to the USDA. Your carb consumption will be higher than the advised amounts if you only get 10% of your calories from fat and less than 25% from protein.
5: It makes ingesting refined carbohydrates more likely.
The type of carbohydrate is also significant. Some businesses use significant amounts of refined carbohydrates to replace fat in low-fat goods. Regular eating of low-fat, refined-carbohydrate processed meals raises the risk of hypertriglyceridemia and metabolic diseases.
6: It might not work to lose weight permanently.
Inactivity might not be your best option if losing weight is your objective. Numerous studies have contrasted low-fat diets with other low-fat diets (such as low-carbohydrate diets). In a thorough evaluation published in 2015, researchers discovered that high-fat, low-carb diets result in greater long-term weight loss than low-fat diets.
7: It could result in nutritional imbalances.
Finally, if you dramatically reduce your fat intake, you may not be getting all the micronutrients you require. Your body requires dietary fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and many fatty foods, like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and dairy products, are also wonderful providers of other nutrients like calcium, protein, fiber, and avocado.
A high-carb diet (which is probably low in fat) is thought to cause significant variations in your body’s insulin levels, which could make you feel more hungry and eat more calories.
Is following a low-fat diet good for you?
A low-fat diet can be a sustained, healthy eating strategy that follows USDA recommendations. One low-fat diet may differ from another, and some low-fat plans may encourage highly processed foods and be quite restricted and unsustainable. The secret is to select high-quality, nutrient-dense foods and limit your intake of fat to the limits advised by the US Food and Drug Administration.
According to the most recent diet recommendations, Americans aged 19 and older should consume 20 to 35 percent of their calories as fat. Additionally, the USDA advises keeping saturated fat consumption to less than 10% of total calories.
Your goals will also determine if a diet is successful for you. If losing weight is your primary goal, be mindful of your total caloric intake and the nutritional value of the foods you choose. Even when you eat low-fat foods, you may still eat too many calories to lose weight. Similar to this, if maintaining heart health is your priority, you should be mindful of the nutritional balance of the foods you eat.
A low-fat diet can be a sustained, healthy eating strategy that follows USDA recommendations. The secret is to choose healthy, high-fat foods and limit your intake of fat to the levels suggested by the USDA (20% to 35% of calories from fat).
There is solid scientific proof that cutting back on saturated fat and removing trans fat from the diet is a wise dietary move. Watching your fat consumption can help you lower your overall calorie intake for weight loss if losing weight is your objective.
However, dietary sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils, are crucial to good health and a sensible approach to weight loss. Consult a nutritionist for personalized advice on how to incorporate fats into your diet if you’re unsure of how to achieve your health and wellbeing objectives.
Keep in mind that you might not need to follow a long-term or short-term diet and that many diets on the market—especially long-term diets—don’t work. We don’t support long-term diet fads or unsustainable weight loss techniques, but we do provide the information you need to make an educated choice that fits your goals, budget, and nutritional needs.
If you want to lose weight, keep in mind that there are various ways to enhance your health and that doing so doesn’t guarantee you’ll be healthier. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle decisions all have an impact on your general health. Always choose a healthy diet that complements your lifestyle.