Why a Low Fat Diet Isn’t Trouble Free

Why a Low Fat Diet Isn’t Trouble Free

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Fat-free, low-fat, reduced-fat, or light foods diets aren’t always the answer when you’re trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol levels. Plus, the foods might not be that appealing. So how can you eat good food, while keeping your health in check?

First, let’s get the terminology down.

  • “Fat-free” foods have less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving.
  • “Low-fat” foods have 3 grams of fat or less per serving.
  • “Reduced-fat” foods have at least 25% less fat than regular versions of those foods.
  • “Light” foods have either 1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat.

Secondly, it’s important to know that the type of fat you eat is much more important than the amount of fat you have in your diet. Typically you want to keep the amount of fat in your diet to about 30%, but stick to the healthier fats (yes, those exist).

“Good” fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats are those that have been found to lower the LDL in the bloodstream. They are often found in canola and olive oils.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish like as tuna and salmon. They help lower LDL cholesterol.

Avoid saturated fats found in animal products like beef, butter, pork, and other full-fat dairy products. Pick lean cuts of meat and fish and stick to those low-fat dairy products, clearing any trans fats from your meals.

Tips for Buying Fat-Free Foods

All-in-all, fat-free products still have a place in a heart-healthy diet, but use them wisely. Read food labels before you eat fat-free foods. Check to make sure the product isn’t full of sugar or other additives, and that it actually is lower in calories than the regular version.

Keep an eye on the serving size too. Eating multiple servings of low-fat foods can make that product just as unhealthy as a single serving of the regular product. Avoid the extra calories and keep an eye on how much you’re eating.

Stock up on vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits. They provide your body with nutrients and fiber that will help keep you fuller much longer and typically have fewer calories. They are also naturally lower in fat!


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