Good morning to all of you!
Sometimes in order to meet my reader’s requirements even better, I ask my friends what kind of nutrition topics they would be interested in. A dear girlfriend of mine recently asked me about a Low Fat Diet.
So here we go:
Usually Low Fat Diets are designed to cut heart risk, losing some weight could only be a side effect, but never the main goal and the whole thing is – as you will see further on – always related to the good old so-called lifestyle change.
There are facts to be aware of though when it comes to fat and a useful benefit of changing your fat intake is to lower bad Cholesterol (LDL).
The low-fat diet is based on a very simple principle: dietary fat provides more than two times as many calories as carbohydrate or protein (the other two calorie providing nutrients). If you eat 5g of fat you will be eating 45 calories and if you eat 5g of carbohydrate or protein you will only be eating 20 calories. Weight loss occurs when you eat slightly less than your body needs, forcing it to make up the difference with the energy from stored body fat. With this in mind, low-fat diets would seem like a terrific idea. Less fat, less calories, the more the body has to use up its own fat to make up the difference. But it is not all that simple!
The main goal of this diet - and there the lifestyle change kicks in - has to be to CHANGE the fats you are consuming. From this point onwards, I will not talk about a “Low Fat” Diet any longer, but I will tell you something about FAT. Important is: control how much and most importantly what kind of fat you are adding to your food!
And then there are the healthy fats! I am speaking about the unsaturated fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are thought to improve the levels of cholesterol and insulin and help control blood sugar. Sources include extra virgin olive oil, oils derived from ground nuts, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats, from sources including soybean oil and fatty cold water fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which research suggests thwart heart disease and diabetes.
With a diet that deprives you of those fats, you could be set up for future sugar imbalances and even for weight gain. Also, some vitamins require fat to dissolve in order to nourish your body; if you don't get enough, you may become deficient in fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and essential fatty acids.
And there is more!
The right fats help to cut down carbohydrates in your body.
What is right though, and most nutrition experts agree on that, is that you should never overeat on fat. And that is where the term “low fat” hits in!
Let’s sum it up:
1.) Avoid trans fats completely (junk food, margarine, french fries etc.)
2.) Consume monounsaturated fats in moderation (olive oil, almonds etc)
3.) Control, but never neglect, your intake of Omega 3-fats (nuts, seeds, fish oil, algae sources)
So rather than a low fat diet, one should focus on consuming the right fats in moderation and avoiding the fats that can be detrimental to one's health and well-being.
“What’s with low fat products?” …would be your next question. I personally as a Food Coach do not recommend low fat products. Why? What takes the place of fat in low-fat foods to provide the flavor and that special texture? The most likely culprits are high-fructose corn syrup, salt and artificial sweeteners – three things your body definitely does not need. Read the ingredients on a low-fat tub of strawberry yogurt, and you will see that this “health” food is actually a minefield of sugar and artificial ingredients. You tend to overeat on a low fat diet as you feel you are “on the safe side”.
A much better solution is to opt for organic full fat products and reduce the quantity of your consumption. One spoonful of full fat sour cream on your potato is far more satisfying than three scoops of non-fat sour “cream.” It is better for your body as it provides you with the good ingredients and vitamins, and better for your mind as it gives you no sense of deprivation.
Focus on introducing the so-called “healthy” fats into your diet such as those found in walnuts, almonds, avocado and olives. Your body and brain will thank you, and you will probably find that you are feeling healthier and more energetic as well.
What should I eat now in order to change my fat intake?
- Think lean protein (meat, preferably lean poultry, soya products, legumes)
- Lots of veggies (only stir fry them quickly, use high quality vegetable oil / soya bean oil for frying, not Olive Oil as it has a too low Smoke Point)
- Load up on fruits and greens, cabbage is packed with vitamins
- Whole grains (your slice of brown bread is delicious with olive oil or Houmus. You do not always have to use butter)
- Fish (opt for white fish, once in a while though a salmon steak is a very healthy variation, mackerel is a great source for Omega 3)
- Nuts & Seeds (these are full of your essential fatty acids. But: control consumption! A handful of mixed nuts/day is enough. Sprinkle flax seed over your muesli or your piece of fish for lunch)
- All the high fat dairy just cut down drastically on the consumption. Have a small piece of cheese, have a small yogurt, drink a small glass of fresh, organic milk. Remember that fermented milk products are better and easier to digest.
- Do not load your salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Remember that each spoon of Oil still has 14kcal. 2 tbsp are enough for a portion of salad.
If you are curious now and want to get more detailed information, I can recommend this very helpful website:
As for baking (I never bake I must admit…), have a look at the explanations on the following link: