Healthy Low-Fat Diets


Health professional agree that eating fat can make us fat. Much meat and many dairy products, baked goods, fast foods, snack foods, fried foods, sauces, gravies, and oils are loaded with fat, and eating them can lead to obesity.

Today we all know that food choices we make have an important effect on our health. There is no longer any question that we should all be eating less fat. Low-fat cooking is no longer a special diet, but a way of life. If you are concerned about your health, you may already be trying to trim fat from your diet. However, you should not try to cut out all fat. Our bodies require some fat for good health, but most of us eat too much of it. We particularly eat too much saturated fat, the type of fat we get from animal sources, which seems to do the most harm to our bodies. As a rule of thumb, saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature (with the exception of coconut and palm kernel oil). Unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils, such as corn, safflower and cottonseed, for example, contain unsaturated fat.

The negative side effects of a high-fat diet have been well documented. Saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol and clog arteries, which in turn means an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Another common health problem associated with a high-fat diet is obesity. Fat provides, gram for gram, more than twice the calories of carbohydrates or protein, which means that for the same quantity of food, a high-fat food provides you with many more calories. To compound the problem, your body finds it much easier to turn fat into body fat for storage. The connection between fat and cancer risk is also strong. From laboratory studies and clinical observations of people's eating habits, it has been learned that there is significant evidence that eating too much fat leads to an increased risk of colon, rectal, prostate and breast cancers.

A reasonable and healthy approach to better nutrition should begin by reducing some of the higher-fat foods in your diet. Your primary goal should be to limit your total daily fat intake so that fat contributions no more than 30 percent of your total daily calories. By looking at your overall diet in this way, rather than at particular foods, you can enjoy an occasional high-fat food item while still limiting your total daily fat. The secret is to monitor your overall fat intake.

Here are some tips to help you reduce the fat in your diet:

· Read food labels

· Bake, broil, steam or boil foods instead of frying.

· Use low-fat or nonfat products.

· Select lean cuts of red meat.

· Limit the amount of meats, poultry and fish in your diet to 3 to 6 ounces per day.

· Use nonstick pan and vegetable cooking spray.

· When baking, use to to 2/3 of the fat called for in recipes. Apple sauce or apple butter often can be used to replace the fat.

· Avoid deep-fried and fried foods.