Low-Fat Diet: Why Being Fat-Free Isn't a Good Idea

If you want to lower your cholesterol or reduce weight, "fat-free" isn't the answer. Some items are "fat-free," "low-fat," "light," and "reduced-fat."

Here's an explanation of what those phrases mean:

  • Foods labeled as "fat-free" must have less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.
  • Low-fat foods must have no more than 3 grams of fat per serving.
  • Foods labeled as "reduced-fat" must have at least 25% less fat than standard equivalents.
  • Foods labeled as "light" must include either 1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat.

Problem With Low-Fat Diets

"Fat-free" isn't always synonymous with "taste-free." To compensate, food manufacturers often add additional components to their goods, such as sugar, flour, thickeners, and salt. It can increase calories.

Furthermore, if the foods aren't particularly delicious, they may be less gratifying, leading to overeating.

Not fat-free, but good fat

When it comes to your health, the type of fat you consume is sometimes more significant than the quantity.

Saturated and trans fats should be limited in your diet, according to the American Heart Association.

But it's also crucial that you're consuming the healthier fats, sometimes known as "good" fats. LDL cholesterol is referred to as "bad cholesterol." The "bad" kinds of cholesterol appear to be cleared from circulation by HDL.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated lipids are both "good" fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats (such as canola and olive oils) have lower LDL levels in the blood.
  • Fatty seafood like tuna and salmon include polyunsaturated fats that help decrease LDL cholesterol.

Saturated fats (found in animal products like beef, pork, butter, and other full-fat dairy products) and artificial trans fats (found in partially hydrogenated oils) are omitted. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats should make up no more than 6% of your daily calorie intake.

Choose lean cuts of meat and fish and low-fat dairy products, and take out trans fats as much as possible from your diet.

Buying Tips for Low-Fat Foods

It isn't to refer that fat-free foods can't play a part in a heart-healthy diet. However, specialists advise that you utilize them properly by:

Read the labels on the foods you eat. Make sure a fat-free food isn't filled with sugar or additives and that it's genuinely lower in calories than the standard version before consuming it. Check the serving size as well.

Keep an eye on your portions. At 3 grams of fat and 250 calories per serving, three serves of low-fat ice cream equal 9 grams of fat and 750 calories! It's sometimes preferable to eat one serving of a more filling whole-fat item than the low-fat variety, which contains more calories and sugar.

Consume more fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. These provide nutrients and fiber to help you feel fuller for longer, and they are usually lower in calories. They're also low in fat by nature. A medium baked potato is preferable to "baked" potato chips (as long as the butter, cheese, and sour cream are omitted!). The whole potato is higher in nutrients, fiber, and calories. Soluble fiber is found in oatmeal, vegetables, and fruit, and it helps the body lower blood cholesterol. Your diet should be varied and comprised primarily of whole foods.

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