We’ve all been told fast food is bad for us, but what does this actually mean? Fast good is generally high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and calories. When people talk about eating less fast food, what they’re really saying is to eat less fat.
A low-fat diet is a diet that restricts consumption of high-fat foods from certain animal, plant, and manufactured sources. Examples of foods that should be avoided include butter, cream, fatty cuts of meat, deep-fried foods, and some cooking oils.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of daily calories in the average American diet are made up of fat, with 50% made up of carbohydrates and 16% of protein.
While there is no standard definition of a low-fat diet, health authorities recommend reducing fat intake to less than 30% of daily calories. Very low-fat diets generally contain about 10-15% fat content.
Fat contains around nine calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates and protein provide four calories per gram. Therefore, a low-fat diet enables a person to eat more food without consuming more calories.
A low-fat diet is more about avoiding certain foods than eating certain foods. With that said, the following foods are low in fat and rich in essential vitamins and minerals:
The main thing to avoid on a low-fat diet is saturated fat, also known as “bad fats” because of their correlation with high cholesterol and heart disease. The following foods contain high amounts of saturated fats and should be avoided:
Studies have shown that low-fat diets are as effective as low-carb diets at maintaining weight loss. Because fat is high in calories, reducing fat intake can lead to eating less calories which in turn can lead to reduced weight.
The other major benefit to a low-fat diet is that can help in promoting good cardiovascular health and preventing heart disease. It has long been known that high saturated fat intake correlates with higher cholesterol and a higher risk of heart disease. Therefore, consuming less saturated fat can help reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
The biggest criticism of low-fat diets is that reduced fat intake doesn’t on its own reduce weight. As mentioned, low-fat diets generally involve less cholesterol and fewer calories, which can help achieve weight loss. However, if you’re not careful, you may find yourself eating a low-fat diet that is high in cholesterol or calories. The reason for is that less fat can mean less tasty. To compensate for the lack of taste, food manufacturers often add ingredients like sugar, flour, and thickeners into their products. This can add calories, which can promote weight gain. Therefore, it’s important to read the packet before purchasing a food product.
A low-fat diet might sound like a lot to handle, but the truth is it’s actually quite easy to follow a low-fat meal plan. Like any other diet, all that’s needed in order to successfully follow a low-fat diet is knowledge about what to avoid.
Here’s how the average day might look with a low-fat diet: