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What Is a Low-Fat Diet?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A low-fat diet is more complicated than many people realize, because many people mistakenly believe if they eat only foods labeled low or reduced fat that they are following a low-fat diet. In reality, less than 30% of a person's total caloric intake should come from fat in a low-fat diet. This means that a diet based on 2000 calories should contain only 600 calories from fat. The reasons why people attempt to eat less fat include lowering total fat and cholesterol to reduce health risks such as heart disease, and also to achieve weight loss. Many people struggle with this diet because they don't enjoy counting calories and don't know how much total fat is in their foods, but it isn't difficult to get lower fat options into one's life.

Before beginning a low-fat diet, it is important to understand that some fats are essential for good health. Fat is necessary for storing energy and absorbing certain vitamins. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol will yield the best health benefit. To keep track of how much fat is in your diet, learn to read the nutritional labels on the foods you buy and eat.

As a rule of thumb, a low-fat diet should include no more than 65 grams of fat each day. Sources for foods low in saturated fat and total fat include nuts, fish, fruit and grains. Reading the labels on prepared food products will give you an idea of how many grams of total fat are in each serving. Paying attention to what constitutes a serving is also an important part of tracking total fat intake.

This diet should not only balance total calories with calories from fat, but should be implemented in smaller, more frequent portions. Your body will begin to make metabolic changes as the total fat intake is reduced and eating smaller portions more frequently helps keep up the body's store of energy. Eating small meals coupled with healthy snacks between each is one of the healthiest ways to implement a diet. To loose weight with a low-fat diet, it is necessary to exercise enough to burn more calories than the body consumes.

Some simple changes to begin this diet include switching to skim milk, avoiding fried foods, and substituting traditionally high-fat dairy products such as sour cream and cream cheese with fat-free versions or yogurt. Many recipes can be modified to fit in the parameters of a low-fat diet by making reduced fat or fat free substitutions. Check your grocery shelves for suitable products. If you are struggling to develop a diet that works for you, consult your family doctor or a nutritionist for ideas.

Alternatively, you can lose weight even with a high fat intake by going keto. Carbs are the lowest nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet. Fat accounts for 70% to 80% of caloric intake. Another 10% to 20% of calories come from protein, while the final 5% to 10% should be from carbohydrates.

View the keto diet app review to learn how this resource can get you on track with improving your health. Plan out nutrient-dense, healthy meals with more than 10,000 recipes available to browse.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By subway11 — On Jul 16, 2010

Sevenseas-I agree with you. Using olive oil in food is great for the heart and it is a healthy fat. To get the best help benefits from the olive oil, it must be served at room temperature.

Many people use olive oil for cooking but it loses most of its benefits that way. It is best used with a salad.

By sevenseas — On Oct 12, 2008

Since our bodies do not run well without fat, it is not wise to eliminate it altogether.

It is important to reduce the intake of food high with saturated fat, such as cheeses and meat, and use instead healthy fats found in most plant oils.

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