Low-Fat Diet for Weight Loss
The low-fat diet is proved to be effective in achieving long lasting weight loss and reducing risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It is widely used as a treatment for obesity.
The low fat diet as the name implies restricts the intake of fat, especially saturated fat. Do not take it wrong. Dietary fat is an important nutrient needed for good health as it supplies your body with essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. The low-fat diet does not eliminate fat completely, but reduces the intake of fat as too much of a good thing can be very bad for health.
To lose weight, you have to restrict your energy intake measured in calories. Foods rich in fat are always calorie-dense as fat has twice as many calories per gram as proteins and carbohydrates. By restricting fat foods, you eat fewer calories and lose weight. It is important not to replace high-fat foods with low-fat but high-calorie foods such as sweets. Even when following the low-fat style of eating, you should avoid highly-processed foods such as sugar and white flour (you’d rather use whole wheat flour).
The low-fat diet is considered healthy as a variety of low-fat foods can provide you with all the nutrients required by the National Research Council’s Recommended Dietary Allowances.
So how much fat is too much? The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, as well as Health and Human Services recommend that the fat intake should be 20-30% of total calories. This is a low-fat diet. When the fat intake falls below 19%, the diet is considered to be very low in fat.
There are a number of low-fat diets including Weight Watchers, No-Fad Diet from the American Heart Association, and the Jenny Craig Diet, based on premade frozen meals.
The Difference between Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
It is important to distinguish between saturated fats such as the fat found in animal-based foods, monounsaturated fats such as the fat found in nuts, avocado, canola and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats such as the fat found in sea food, corn and sunflower oils. Saturated fats should be reduced to less that 10% of total calories as high consumption of saturated fats increases risk for cardiovascular disease. Monounsaturated fats lover total cholesterol and even help in weight loss. Monounsaturated fats should not exceed 15% of total calories. Polyunsaturated fats also help lower total cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats should not exceed 10% of total calories in your diet.
- Low-fat dairy products including skim milk, nonfat sour cream, pert skim or skim cheese.
- Whole grain breads, whole grain cereals
- All vegetables raw, steamed, boiled, or baked without added fat
- All fruits
- Poultry without skin, veal, lean beef, fish
Cut back on fats and highly processed carbohydrates and eat a balanced diet including foods from all food groups for long term benefits to your health and successful weight loss. Making regular exercises a part of your daily regime is also highly recommended.