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What is a Lipid Diet?

By Jacob Harkins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A lipid diet refers to a meal plan where fat intake is changed in order to affect the person's lipid levels. Usually these kinds of diets are discussed in terms of lowering one's lipid levels; that is, eating foods with less fat in order to reduce high cholesterol levels. These diets are usually called low lipid diets. Most people don't go on high lipid diets that aim to increase the amount of lipids one takes in, but because the body needs some amount of lipids. The few people who might be lipid deficient may need one of these diets. Usually, these kinds of diets are administered in studies to determine the effects of such eating habits. Diets high in lipids, however, refer to lowering lipid intake — commonly called low lipid diets — insofar as the diet is for people with high lipid levels. Typically, however, when people refer to lipid diets they mean diets that aim to reduce the level of lipid intake.

A diet low in lipids focuses on foods that are naturally low in fats and cholesterol. It will often include a heavy dose of fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids such a sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon. While Omega-3 fatty acids contain high fat levels, they are unsaturated and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. A diet low in lipidds should also include a lot of both fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants that are proven to help fight cardiovascular disease and serve as a form of cancer prevention.

The body needs some amount of lipids as their main function is to store energy. Lipid molecules include fats, waxes, and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. While often likened to fat, fat cells are simply a lipid subgroup called triglycerides.

It is best to implement a lipid diet plan in conjunction with exercise and possibly a prescription medicine plan. Before starting a diet low in lipids, a doctor’s approval or consultation is encouraged. There are also potential side effects such as a reduction in fat intake that can be drastic enough to put a dieter at risk for vitamin A and D deficiencies.

During the course of a lipid diet, it is common for the dieter to interact with a physician and undergo lipid profiles. These profiles are a battery of tests that use blood samples to help determine the risk of heart disease. Results can also serve as barometers for the likelihood of a heat attack or stroke caused by blood vessel blockage. The tests also measure total levels of cholesterol; high- and low-density lipoprotein, which are often referred to as good and bad cholesterol, respectively, and triglycerides.

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Discussion Comments

By pleonasm — On May 24, 2011

The easiest way to remember which fats are good and which are bad is that unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Saturated fats are solid, or goopy at room temperature. Like, for example, butter, lard, ghee, or coconut butter. Margarine usually has trans-fats so it is even worse.

But, olive oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, etc are pretty good for you. They have a lot of calories, so still use them in moderation, but in terms of heart health, they shouldn't hurt you and may even help.

By irontoenail — On May 23, 2011

There has been a lot of contradictory evidence lately about what really lowers levels of bad cholesterol. There are quite a few people who eat a lot of lipids in the diet but still don't have a lot of bad cholesterol, and others who eat mostly healthy diets who do.

One of the main bad things to eat is trans-fats. That has been proven quite a few times to be the worst kind of fat to eat. Trans-fats can come from unsaturated fats if they are cooked at smoking point, so be careful about food preparation to try and avoid them.

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