Fat In Your Low Fat Diet Plan

Fat In Your Low Fat Diet Plan

Following and sticking to a low fat diet plan is much harder than many people realize.  Often, we see a label that says low or reduced fat and think if we eat that then we are good to go.  Learning to read labels is essential.  Labels tell us how much total fat is in the food that we eat.

An average diet should consume 2,000 calories.  Out of that, 600 calories or about 30% of the calories you take in should come from fat.   Those who dislike counting calories and reading labels may struggle with their weight loss simply because keeping track of the total intake of fat is so crucial to a low fat diet plan.

Most of the foods we eat contain different types of fat.  Some are worse than others for your health.  Our bodies will make fat from an overabundance of calories.  Some fats are derived from plants while others come from animals.  This is dietary fat. Fat is one of three essential nutrients that our bodies need to provide energy, the others being protein and carbohydrates.

Understanding the differences in fat is helpful for those who are trying to lower their fat intake for health or weight issues.  Our bodies need a certain amount of fat.  Fat is necessary for storing energy.  It also absorbs and dissolves some key vitamins that nourish us.  The two types of fats found in food are saturated and unsaturated fats.  They are not however, equally beneficial.

Unhealthy Fats

Saturated Fats are the fats found in animal products such as meat and dairy items.  Fast foods are typically loaded with saturated fats.  Even your favorite baked goods may contain high levels of this type of fat.  Saturated fats are not good for your health and are a known factor in causing high cholesterol by raising the bad cholesterol (LDL) to unhealthy levels.

Trans Fats are a type of fat that can occur naturally in foods but mainly comes from processed foods.  The process, by which these foods are made, actually creates the trans fats. Called industrial or synthetic trans fats, these fats increase unhealthy LDL levels and will decrease good cholesterol, thereby, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Healthy Fats

Unsaturated Fats are found in nuts, olives and fish.  They are liquid at room temperature like oil, whereas saturated fats are solid like butter or margarine. Studies have shown that unsaturated fats are heart healthy and can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) while actually raising the good cholesterol (HDL).  Unsaturated fats are divided into two categories: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  The differences between the two are in their structure and the number of bonds in their chemical make-up.

  • Monounsaturated Fat is found in a variety of foods including oils like olive and canola oil.  Foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) help insulin levels and blood sugar associated with diabetes. .
  • Polyunsaturated Fat is found in many plant based foods and other oils like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) improve cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of heart disease.  Omega 3 fatty acids, normally found in cold water fish, fit in this category and have been shown to be beneficial to your heart as well as lowering blood pressure levels.

A low fat diet plan should consist of a balanced diet with calories from numerous sources including fat.  Foods low in saturated fats recommended.  Smaller portion sizes and frequent healthy snacks will aid your body as the changes to a low fat diet are implemented.

Once you learn to read label and spot the fats in your food, reducing your fat intake will become a much easier task.  Exercise burns off those unwanted fat calories so any low fat diet plan should include a fair amount of activity.