What is meant by Low fat? or Zero fat? However, not all fat is the same. Researchers have shown that dietary fat, traditionally thought to be a significant cause of heart disease, can actually give some advantages too. This article will give a deep insight into top evidence-based dietary fats recommendations and also about whether one should go for a low-fat diet or not.
Eating lots of fat will make you unhealthy but the same goes for eating a lot of anything as well. It typically depends on the type of fat we consume rather than the number of fats that we consume to determine whether the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases increases or decreases.
Recommended Dietary Fat.
20% to 35% of our daily calorie intake should come from dietary fat, as recommended by the Dietary Reference Intakes issued by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Fat has several functions in the body, including facilitating development and growth, providing energy and nutrient absorption, shielding vital organs from damage, and keeping cell membranes in good working order. To learn more about the function of fat in the body, please refer to our article here.
Top Healthy Fat Foods.
More and more studies are surfacing, shedding light on the many advantages of dietary fat, proving once and for all that fat is smart food. Healthful fats include those that are both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The best sources of these fats may be found in fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, and eggs which are given below,
- Avocados: Avocados are rich in dietary fats, while the majority of other fruits are mostly composed of carbohydrates. In terms of caloric content, avocados are considerably higher in fat (22gram/ounce) than most animal meals, at over 80% fat. They are not just high in oleic acid but also in protein and fibre. According to 2021 research, the monounsaturated fats found in avocados (specifically oleic acid) can help curb hunger pangs and keep you from overeating. One avocado has approximately 20 different vitamins and minerals, in addition to a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats, making it one of the healthiest meals you can consume (5 grams per serving). In addition, they are an excellent source of fibre, which provides several digestive, cardiovascular, and weight management advantages as per research.
One study including 45 men and women indicated that consuming one avocado per day for five weeks improved the cholesterol profiles of participants.
2. Walnuts: Walnuts, like other nuts on the “top fat sources” list, are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fats. Walnuts are rich in fat—21 grams per ounce—and a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Furthermore, they have a high concentration of the mineral manganese and copper.
Including walnuts in your diet has been linked to improved brain function, lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and other health benefits.
3. Almonds: The monounsaturated fat in almonds is very high. They are not just high in healthy fats, but also in protein, fibre, and vitamin E. We choose almonds because of their high vitamin E content and a moderate amount of fat (15 grams per ounce, or around 22 nuts) 9g of which are monounsaturated fats. They may also improve blood sugar control in diabetics and cardiovascular fitness.
According to studies, eating almonds and other nuts might help you feel fuller and consume fewer calories.
4. Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats, and it also happens to be tasty. It has a good amount of anti-inflammatory fatty acids and oleic acid. It’s also full of healthy vitamins like K and E, plus it’s a powerful antioxidant. Inflammation and the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) can be combated with the use of antioxidants. Moreover, the oil has been demonstrated to enhance cholesterol markers, lower blood pressure, and lessen the risk of heart disease.
Just one tablespoon of the stuff, a go-to oil in many people’s kitchens, has 14 grams of fat.
5. Dark Chocolate: Delicious dark chocolate has about 12 g of fat and grams of every 1-ounce serving and more than half of the daily value for manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron. As a result, it reduces various major health hazards. Improved insulin sensitivity and decreased levels of oxidation-prone LDL are two of its benefits. Multiple studies have found that those who drink dark chocolate at least five times per week had a far lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who don’t. (1) (2) Some research also suggests that eating dark chocolate might help prevent UV damage to the skin and improve cognitive performance.
6. Fatty Fish: Many health experts agree that fish oils are among the healthiest forms of animal protein. Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring are all examples of such fish which are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals (1)(2). American Heart Association suggests that two servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids per week significantly reduces cardiovascular disease and stroke risk.
- Salmon- 5g/ 3 ounces.
- Tuna- 5g/ 3 ounces
- Mackerel-11.8 g / 3 ounces
7. Chia Seeds: There is a multitude of nutrients in chia seeds. There is 8.71g of fat in a single ounce of chia seeds, the majority of which are omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. In addition to fibre, protein, critical minerals, and a plethora of other healthy nutrients. A 2014 study found that those with high blood pressure who consumed chia seed flour had a decrease in their blood pressure.
8. Full-Fat Yogurt: If you’re looking for a certain level of satisfaction that you aren’t getting from low-fat dairy products, try switching to full-fat options instead. There are many helpful bacteria called probiotics in full-fat yoghurt. Yoghurt may support the fight against obesity and cardiovascular disease, and it may also improve digestive health. According to the study, full-fat dairy has no adverse health impacts compared to fat-free or low-fat dairy.
You can get 8 grams of fat (and 5 grams of saturated fat) from a cup of full-fat yoghurt, and you’ll also get a lot of extra richness and creaminess.
9. Cheese: Despite its questionable reputation, cheese is really rather healthy. Along with other high-fat dairy products, it does not appear to raise heart disease risk when compared to low-fat dairy. It includes a wide variety of minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.
One ounce of cheese (about 28 g) has 6 grams of dietary fat.
10. Eggs. Approximately 6 g of fat may be found in a single extra-large, whole egg. A lot of individuals choose to eat only the whites of eggs, although the yolk contains a wealth of nutrients, including fat, vitamins, and minerals (including selenium and choline). Recent nutritional studies have shown that egg yolks may be part of a balanced diet and don’t usually have a major effect on cholesterol levels. Additionally, two studies involving over 100,000 healthy persons found no link between daily eating of one whole egg and cardiovascular disease.
For those trying to lose weight, the high protein content of these foods helps make the gap between meals more bearable. What other foods contain a good amount of protein in them? Let’s have a look here.
11. Olives: Olives are high in monounsaturated fat, fibre, vitamin E, and beta carotene, and may help lower LDL cholesterol. The fat found in olives ranges from 11-15%, with around 74% of it coming from oleic acid. To put it simply, it’s what gives olive oil its distinctive flavour. The health advantages of oleic acid include a lower risk of heart disease and reduced inflammation. There’s hope that it may even aid in the war against cancer. (1)
There are 4 grams of fat in only 1 ounce (14 olives) of green olives. Olives have a low-calorie density and may promote weight loss in numerous ways, but their high salt and mean they should be used in moderation as those 14 and older should consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
What Is a Low-Fat Diet?
Once upon a time, it was thought that the greatest method to reduce body fat and lessen the risk of heart disease and even cancer was to follow a low-fat diet, in which calories from fat sources were lowered drastically. It is based on the idea that reducing saturated fat (of any sort, including that found in animal products) is the best way to improve health.
The average low-fat diet gets 30% or less of its calories from fat. A low-fat diet is one that is low in both good and bad fats as well as cholesterol. Generally speaking, a low-fat food is one that has 3 grams of fat or less per 100 calories.
Cutting back on fat can help you lose weight and improve your health.
- Better Heart Health: The risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered by following a low-fat diet and cutting back on saturated fat. A low-fat diet might help you become more conscious of the fats you eat, leading you to switch to healthier options like mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
- Low Cardiovascular Diseases: Numerous studies have connected a reduced diet of saturated fat to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a number of studies, men whose total fat and saturated fat intakes were lowered from 36% and 12% of total calories to 27% and 8% of total calories, respectively, saw a significant decrease in their total and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Prevents Cancer: Reducing dietary fat consumption has been linked in some research to a decreased risk of developing breast, colon, rectum, and prostate cancers. However, this does not indicate that reducing fat intake to dangerously low levels is appropriate.
Although low-fat diets are growing in popularity, they are not without criticism in the nutrition and health fields.
- Vitamin Deficiency: Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K require dietary fat for absorption. If you drastically reduce fat intake, your body will be unable to take up these vital nutrients making you prone to vitamin deficiency.
- Doesn’t Maintains Weight loss: Researchers have looked at the health advantages of low-fat diets for a long period of time. When it comes to long-term weight loss, the data does not favour low-fat diets over other dietary regimens. Evidence also suggests that poor low-fat diets may be linked to increased mortality risk.
- Depletes Brain health: Some studies have suggested that unsaturated fatty acids may offer protection against depression. So having a low-fat diet may also induce depression in certain people.
- Hard to Maintain: Fat makes meals more enjoyable to eat and helps you feel fuller for longer. When you opt for a low-fat diet, you may wind up eating more calories, sweets, and carbs than you need to in order to cut away fat from your meals and snacks since they aren’t as filling. Researchers have shown that eating too much of them might cause health issues including diabetes and obesity.
- Slower Wound Healing: It is well documented that fat is essential for the synthesis of many key molecules that regulate the inflammatory response in the body. A lack of fat in the diet may interfere with this reaction, delaying recovery from injuries.
- Cause Dry Skin: Research has discovered that fat plays an important role in the formation of skin cells and in keeping the skin’s moisture barrier intact. Lack of dietary fat has been linked to poor skin health and even dermatitis. It has been reported to cause Uv damage and inflammation.
- May Cause Hair fall: Prostaglandins, which are fatty substances in the body, stimulate hair growth. Consuming insufficient essential fats may alter hair texture and, according to a study, may also increase the chance of hair loss on the scalp and eyebrows.
When is Low-Fat Diet Recommended? However, there are times when it’s advisable to cut back on your fat intake. If you’re recovering from gallbladder surgery or have gallbladder or pancreatic illness, for instance, a low-fat diet is advised. In addition, those with hypertension, coronary disease, or other serious conditions like cancer are encouraged to follow a low-fat diet.
Tips for reducing fat intake.
Follow these tips to reduce and optimize fat intake accordingly.
- Follow the Recommended Guidelines: The trick is to pick healthy, high-quality foods and maintain your fat intake within USDA-recommended limits. Current dietary standards recommend that adults get 20% to 35% of their calories from fat.
- Keep Only Good Fats: Most of your fat intake should come from monounsaturated or polyunsaturated sources if you want to stay healthy. Make some small changes to the foods and drinks you include in your diet to save on saturated fat.
- Read the Labels: Read nutrition labels to learn about the items you consume. On food packaging, look for “low fat,” “nonfat,” and “reduced fat” claims.
-High fat means there’s more than 17.5g of fat per 100g of food
-Low fat means 3g or less of fat per 100g of food (1.5g per 100ml of liquids)
-Fat-free means there is 0.5g or less per 100g or 100ml
-High in saturated fat means, there’s more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g of food
-Low in saturated fat means 1.4g of saturates or less per 100g of food (0.75g per 100ml of liquid)
-Saturated fat-free means 0.1g of saturated fat per 100g or 100ml.
- Reduce Saturated Fats: The USDA also recommends limiting saturated fat consumption to less than 10% of total calories. If you consume 2000 calories daily, you should limit your intake of saturated fat to fewer than 22 grams.
The following table is a summary of what kind of dietary fats can be used and swapped for healthier options.
|Whole milk||Lower fat milk like semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk|
|Cream||Plain yogurt or lower fat fromage frais|
|Fatty cuts of meat, processed meat products (such as sausages, bacon, burgers)||Lean cuts of meat, lean mince, chicken without skin, fish (especially oily fish such as trout, salmon or mackerel)|
|Foods roasted and fried in fat||Foods that have been grilled, steamed, boiled, poached or baked (without fat)|
|Butter, lard, ghee, coconut and palm oils||Oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils and spreads made with these. If you want to include these foods in your diet, do so in small amounts.|
|Pastries and croissants at breakfast||Plain wholegrain breakfast cereal or wholegrain or whole wheat toast|
|Creamy salad dressings||non-creamy salad dressings (such as vinaigrette)|
Keep in mind that you might not need to go on a diet at all and that many popular diets are ineffective in the long run. We provide information so you may make a decision that is best for you based on your dietary requirements, genetic makeup, budget restrictions, and desired outcomes, but we do not recommend any particular diet or weight reduction program.