Model Diet Plan

The Low Fat Diet

Low fat grilled chicken

Dietary fat plays an important role in maintaining optimal health. It is needed to maintain healthy skin and hair, provide insulation and regulate body temperature, hormones and cell membrane development.

However, excess fat consumption can be harmful to your health and is an important contributing factor to increasing rates of heart disease throughout the developed world.

This diet will both improve your health and help you to lose weight. Fat doesn't just contain double the calories of both carbohydrate and protein, it can also pose a serious risk to your cardiovascular system.


Low Fat: Basics

Foundation

The typical modern diet is far from being low fat. As a consequence more than 50% of Americans, for example, are overweight.

No low fat diet suggests cutting out fats completely though - its more a matter of limiting your consumption to small amounts of 'good fats'. The fats that should be avoided are trans fats, which raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats have a similar effect, but we do actually need small amounts of these.

Low fat diet tips

So how do you know what foods to avoid? The answer is that you need to start reading labels very carefully, and look for suitable low fat foods.

You can still eat a fairly varied diet, in fact many low fat dieters find they only need to make a few minor adjustments to substantially reduce their fat intake.

Remember - weight loss isn't the only benefit. Limit your fat consumption to 25 % of your daily calorific intake and you should enjoy long term cardiovascular health.

Foods to avoid

The most important fat to avoid is trans fat. These used to only occur naturally in meat, before the processed food industry started to chemically alter vegetable oils to increase shelf life and make the food appear more appetizing. Sources include pastries, pies, muffins, cookies, crackers, cereals, potato chips and french fries. You should skip any deep fried foods and be sure to check the label of any processed food.

Second on the list are saturated fats, which you should limit to around 10% of your daily calorific intake. Moderate your consumption of full-fat dairy products like butter, cream, eggs and cheese. Think twice before you reach for the coconut or palm oil - a small amount of canola oil is a much better option.

Be careful when eating in restaurants while on the low fat diet, as foods can often contain hidden sources of fat. Even a humble Caesar salad can contain more fat than a burger! Try a low fat (or fat free) dressing such as balsamic vinaigrette on your salad instead. Another tip is to order your food steamed, baked, grilled, or poached instead of fried.

A common mistake that dieters make when watching their fat intake is to compensate by consuming more calories from sugar. Its important to pay attention to your sugar intake, as a low fat diet means nothing if you eat double the calories! If you get a craving for sweet food, reach for fruits or sorbet.

Foods to eat

Low fat grilled salmon

The fats that you should have in your diet are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3. Get your healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocadoes and olives. Oils like flax and canola are also good options, while fish like salmon, mackerel and herring are excellent sources of omega-3.

There are plenty of fatty foods that have low fat versions. Try dairy products such as fat free milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and low fat cheeses. Keep reading those labels though - its best to stay below 3g fat or less per day from this food group.

In limited amounts, meat can actually be part of a good low fat diet. Low fat deli cuts are great for snacks, while leaner cuts of beef, pork and lamb are fine for mealtimes. Just be sure that the fat has been trimmed off. Poultry like chicken and turkey are good as long as the fatty skin has been removed.

In addition, remember to eat a variety of grains, vegetables and fruits. These are naturally low in fat and packed full of nutrition.

Low Fat: Pros

Low Fat: Cons


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