It is widely believed that most people should consume foods low in saturated fat, trans-fats, and cholesterol. Many health professionals feel that a diet high in certain kinds of fats and cholesterol can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer. The challenge that many people face in trying to reduce the amount of fat in their diet is finding suitable low-fat foods to replace the higher fat foods they’ve grown accustomed to.
While switching to a diet of low-fat foods, it’s important for an individual to know that a "low-fat" diet doesn’t mean a "no fat" diet. Some fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids that the human body needs to properly function. These fats can actually lower the amount of the bad cholesterol (HDL) and raise the amount of good cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Some sources of “good fats” are olive oil, canola oil, certain nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon.
The key to a low-fat diet is to reduce the amounts of saturated and trans fats while replacing foods with bad fats with foods that have good fats. Saturated and trans fats are primarily found in animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy products, fried foods, and many pre-packaged convenience type foods. The consumer is advised to check the ingredient label of foods carefully. Any ingredient labeled as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” means that the food product has trans fats in it.
In addition to reducing the amount of foods with saturated and trans fats, a low-fat diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables. While most any fruits are recommended, certain fruits such as watermelons, cantaloupe, dates, and cranberries are lower in fat than others. Vegetables that are especially recommended are dark green vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale and watercress.
A diet consisting of low-fat foods does not necessarily mean a diet devoid of taste. On the contrary, many people who reduce the amount of high fat foods in their diet find the transition to be a lot easier than initially believed. There are many resources available with helpful tips and recommendations for the individual looking to transition to a low-fat diet.
Here are some examples of lower or low-fat foods:
- Skinless chicken breast
- Skinless turkey breast
- Ground turkey
- Egg whites
- Extra lean ground beef
- Extra lean beef
- Beans such as black, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, soy, and navy
- Seafood such as catfish, tuna, shrimp, flounder, trout, crab and lobster
Rice and Grains:
- Skim milk
- 1% milk
- Soy milk
- Low-fat cheeses
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat ice cream