Low Fat Diet
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Low Fat Diet

SeniorladyWhat Is a Fat-Restricted Diet?
A fat-restricted diet limits the amount of fat you can eat each day.

Why Should I Follow a Fat-Restricted Diet?
This diet may be prescribed for people with medical conditions that make it difficult to digest fat. Examples include chronic pancreatitis and gallbladder disease. A fat-restricted diet will minimize the unpleasant side effects of fat malabsorption, such as diarrhea , gas, and cramping.

Fat-Restricted Diet Basics
A fat-restricted diet typically limits fat intake to 50 grams per day. Fat contains nine calories per gram. So, if you need 2,000 calories per day, this means only about 22% of those calories can be from fat. The rest should be from carbohydrates and proteins.

For most people, it is possible to meet all nutrient requirements on this diet. However, a supplement may be recommended if fat is very limited or you are on the diet for a long time. Vitamins A , D , E , and K need fat to be absorbed. Your doctor or a dietitian may recommend supplements for these vitamins.

Eating Guide for a Fat-Restricted Diet
The following guide is broken down into categories based on the Choose My Plate website recommendations for healthy eating. It is recommended that you work with a dietitian to determine how many servings of each category you should eat. Here are some general recommendations:

  • The base of your diet should be composed of grains, vegetables, and fruit. Strive to eat foods from these three categories at each meal. Fruits and vegetables should cover half of your plate at each meal. When eating grains, choose foods made with whole grains instead of refined grains.
  • Limit your intake of meat, fish, poultry, and eggs to 6 ounces per day.
  • Consume no more than 3 teaspoons of fat per day.
  • Enjoy low-fat or fat-free sweets or snack foods in moderation.
  • If you enjoy healthy fats (eg, nuts, olives, and avocados), ask your doctor or dietitian about how you can add these foods into your diet. Since these foods have a lot of fat, they need to be added to your day’s intake of fat.


Food Category Foods Recommended Foods to Avoid
  • Whole grain breads
  • Low-fat whole grain cereals
  • Rice
  • Pasta or noodles
  • Homemade pancakes or French toast made with minimal fat
  • Low-fat crackers
  • Baked chips
  • Pretzels
  • Unbuttered popcorn
  • Fried rice
  • Granola
  • Biscuits
  • Sweet rolls
  • Muffins, scones, coffee bread, doughnuts
  • Most pancakes and waffles
  • Cheese bread
  • Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables
  • Vegetables prepared with butter, oil, or sauce
  • Fried vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes made with butter, margarine, or cream
  • French fries
  • Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits
  • Avocados, coconuts, and olives
  • Fruit prepared with butter, cream, or sauce
  • Fat-free like nonfat, skim milk
  • Low-fat or nonfat cheeses
  • Fat-free yogurt or kefir
  • Fat-free buttermilk
  •  Reduced fat (2%) or whole milk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Cream like whipped, heavy, or sour
  • Whole milk yogurt
  • Regular cheese
  • Lean meats
  • Chicken or turkey without the skin
  • Lean fish
  • Beans and legumes
  • Egg whites; limit whole eggs to 3 per week
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Duck or goose
  • Bacon
  • Sausage or hot dogs
  • Cold cuts
  • Fish canned in oil
  • Nuts and peanut butter
Fats and Sweets in moderation
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Hard candies
  • Jelly beans
  • Marshmallows
  • Low-fat or fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Sherbets or fruit ice
  • Jell-O
  • Angel food cake
  • Butter, margarine, lard, shortening in excess of allowed amount
  • Snack chips
  • Ice cream
  • Pastries, pie, cake, and cookies
  • Chocolate
  • Most candy
  • Coffee, tea
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Juice
  • Water
  • Coffee drinks made with fat-free milk
  • Cocoa made with fat-free milk
  • Frappes, milk shakes
  • Eggnog
  • Soups made from a fat-free milk or broth base
  • Herbs and spices
  • Salt in moderation
  • Cream soups
  • Non-dairy creamer


Suggestions on Eating a Fat-Restricted Diet  

  • Look for the following key phrases on food labels: low-fat, nonfat, and fat-free.
  • Choose foods that contain less than 3 grams of fat per serving. Be sure to eat only one serving.
  • Avoid fried and sautéed foods. Use low-fat cooking methods, such as baking, roasting, broiling, poaching, grilling, boiling, or steaming.
  • Select lean cuts of meat, such as loin and round. Trim visible fat before cooking.
  • Eat small frequent meals, rather than two or three large meals. This will make it easier for your body to digest any fat that you consume.
  • Work with a registered dietitian to come up with an individualized diet plan.

More about fats

Not all fat is bad! Although all fats are high in calories, we need some fat in our diet, and some types of fat are actually good for our health. The different types of fat include the following:

Saturated fats

These are mainly found in the harder fats such as the fat on meat, lard, and the fat in dairy products such as butter, full-cream milk, etc. There are also fats called ‘trans fats’ (hydrogenated vegetable oils). These are oils which come from vegetables but have been processed to make them hard and similar to saturated fats. They are often used in processed foods, and in commercially made cakes, biscuits and pastries.

We should try to limit our intake of saturated fats and trans fats, as they contribute to weight gain and a raised cholesterol level.

Unsaturated fats

These mainly come from vegetables, nuts and fruits. They are divided into:

  • Polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower oil, and corn oil.
  • Mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil and rapeseed oil.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids. These come mainly from oily fish such as pilchards, sardines, salmon mackerel and fresh (not tinned) tuna. Some omega 3 fatty acids are found in various plant foods and vegetable oils.

Unsaturated fats are ‘good fats’ as they are less likely to raise your cholesterol level. Omega 3 fatty acids are also thought to help prevent heart disease and may help to improve our health in other ways. See separate leaflet called ‘Cholesterol’ which gives more details about reducing your cholesterol level.

Millions of Americans take a statin to lower their cholesterol. While these drugs are powerful allies in the fight against cardiovascular disease, many people aren’t aware that diet and exercise can play an important part in reducing cholesterol as well.

I personally recommend regular consumption of these 7 foods that have been found to naturally lower your cholesterol.

Flaxseed contains two substances–soluable fiber and lignon–that block the production of LDL or “bad” cholesterol. These substances also increase the body’s ability to get rid of cholesterol.

Adding ground flaxseed to smoothies or oatmeal is a great way to include this cholesterol-busting food to your diet.

Oranges are best known for being a great source of vitamin C, but they also contain other healthly compounds that can help lower cholesterol.

Oranges are full of substances called phytosterols (plant sterols), a type of fat found in nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. These sterols block cholesterol from being absorbed by the cells in the intestines.

Beans contain a type of fiber that is processed in the colon. Good bacteria in the colon then consume this fiber and form fatty acids from it.

These fatty acids move through the body to the liver, where they block the production of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Garlic is a food with many healthy benefits. It’s been found to help the cardiovascular system and there is some evidence that it can even act as an anti-fungal and an antibiotic.

In terms of cholesterol management, garlic has been found to interfere with the liver’s ability to make cholesterol.

Apples are full of compounds called polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

To get the most cholesterol benefits from an apple, don’t peel it. The highest concentrations of polyphenols are found in the skin and outer flesh.

Almonds are rich in two substances that fight cholesterol: flavonoids and vitamin E. These antioxidants stop bad cholesterol from oxidizing in the body, which helps reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

To get the most benefit, stick to raw (not roasted) almonds that are either unsalted or salted with sea salt. Slivered raw almonds on a salad are a good way to include these nuts in your diet.

Like oranges, cauliflower is one of the many foods that is rich in plant sterols (phytosterols). These will help keep cholesterol numbers down by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.

Cauliflower is also rich in the antioxidants manganese and vitamin C and the inflammation-fighting compounds vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains fiber, which has many health benefits.

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