Obesity Fad Diets Low Fat

Low-fat diets are among the most accepted weight loss diets in the medical community. Low-fat weight loss diets generally follow the guidelines set out in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid, with oils and saturated fats restricted in favor of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins.

In addition to weight loss, low-fat diets can also promote overall health. Healthy diets, with lowered saturated fat consumption, decrease the risk of many health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

Low-Fat Diet or Low Carb?

The low-fat diet is not a universally accepted route to weight loss. For example, low-carb diet advocates claim that carbohydrates–not fats–cause weight gain. It’s true that the following refined or processed carbohydrates, such as cookies, sugars and white bread contribute to weight gain.

A proper low-fat diet, however, focuses on complex carbohydrates, like beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are a good source of fiber, unlike processed carbohydrates.

Low-Fat Foods

Prepackaged low-fat foods abound due to the popularity of the low-fat diet. Be cautious, however, when purchasing these low-fat foods. Many are high in sugar to compensate for the lack of fat, and shouldn’t be a key component of healthy diets. Watch out for high sodium content as well.

Low-fat foods pose another danger: overeating. While a package of low-fat cookies may indeed be low-fat, eating too many will still lead to weight gain. People often assume that “low fat” means they can a product without consequences. To avoid this trap, follow the recommended serving sizes on low-fat foods.

Low-Fat Recipes

You can find low-fat recipes in magazines, cookbooks and on websites. You can also transform ordinary recipes into low-fat recipes with a little planning. In order to make your favorite dishes low-fat foods:

  • Add herbs and spices to give recipes more flavor
  • Broil or grill food, rather than frying
  • Cut visible fat off meat before cooking
  • Remove skin from poultry before eating
  • Replace whole milk with 2 percent, 1 percent or skim milk
  • Substitute mustard for mayo on sandwiches
  • Substitute yogurt for sour cream in dips
  • Switch to low-fat cheese
  • Use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of whole eggs
  • Use olive, canola or safflower oil instead of saturated fats
  • Use whole grain pastas instead of egg noodles.

A Low-Fat, Not No-Fat Diet

While a low-fat diet restricts fat consumption, remember that some fat is essential for good health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for instance, are important nutrients found in fish, soy and leafy greens. In general, low-fat diets suggest that you avoid or limit animal fats, and encourage the consumption of plant-based fats.

Resources

Anne Collins. (n.d.). The healthiest diet. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://www.annecollins.com/low_fat_diet.htm.

Barrett, S. (n.d.). Tips for lowering your dietary fat content. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/lowfat.html.

Diets in Review. (n.d.). Low-fat diet. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://www.dietsinreview.com/diets/Low-Fat-Diet/.

eDiets Staff. (n.d.). Low-fat meal plan. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://www.ediets.com/diet/low-fat-diet/.