What is a low fat diet?
The phrase “low fat diet” sounds buzzy and promising for people looking to lose weight. After all, fat = bad, right? It’s actually a bit more complex than that. Fats come in many different forms and are essential for a healthy body. A low fat diet is defined as a diet where fat makes up 20 percent or less of the calories one consumes, according to Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN of To The Pointe Nutrition. Extreme low fat diets (which are not recommended by doctors) are when fat makes up less than 10 percent of total calories, according to Healthline. Health experts recommend getting less than 30 percent of your daily calories from fat. Low fat diets are often recommended for people who need to lose weight, mainly because fats otherwise provide a lot of calories which lead to weight gain. If you find yourself needing to lose weight, here are 42 more tricks to lose weight fast.
Does a low fat diet really work?
If you want to see the health benefits of a low fat diet, you don’t need to start just paying attention to the amount of fats you consume, but what types of fats you’re eating. “There is a misconception about low fat diets for health,” Fine says. “First, our body depends on fat. Fat is an essential macronutrient promoting satiety and satisfaction at meals. Additionally, fat aids with digestion, hormone production, vitamin transport, vitamin absorption, and even bone health! When it comes to weight management and heart disease, the key is choosing plant-based sources of unsaturated fats that promote the replacement of saturated fat and trans fats.” According to WebMD, unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats which can lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. These are the seven clear signs you need more healthy fats.
Health benefits of a low fat diet
Eating less fat can lead to a healthier heart and body says Natalie Allen, RD, an instructor of biomedical sciences and team dietitian at Missouri State University. Look at it as a way to get to a healthy body weight which comes with a slew of other health benefits. “The main health benefit is going to be to the heart,” Allen says. “Heart disease is a pretty serious issue for both men and women and we know too much fat can cause clogging of the arteries, high cholesterol and lead to more concerning things like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. That’s why we want people to limit their fat intake.”