Advantages and Disadvantages of a Low-fat Diet
While few of us these days would consume a piece of meat that has a 40 per cent fat content, it’s estimated that most people today get about 40 per cent of their daily calories from fat.
Sadly, it is recommended that we consume no more than 30 per cent – preferably less – fat as part of our daily calories. High levels of fat are not only bad for us, but they also contribute to our being overweight, which means we look and feel bad.
So how can we cut down on the amount of fat we eat? Well, one obvious way would be to follow a low-fat diet. But is that really good for us?
Good and Bad FatsWhen considering a low-fat diet, it’s important to keep in mind that there are “good” and “bad” fats. Knowing which ones are good and which ones are bad is important to maintaining good health.
Good ones are unsaturated and are found in foods such as salmon, olive oil and certain nuts, such as peanuts and walnuts. Bad fats are saturated or trans-fats, and are found in red meat, dairy, processed foods etc.
Advantages of a Low-Fat DietSome of the advantages of a low-fat diet – although these are certainly not true for everybody – include:
- May help keep insulin levels low.
- May be good as a preventative measure against various diseases which can, in part, be attributed to high fat andcholesterol - such as heart disease, stroke and gallbladder disease.
- Can help people who are trying to lose weight, and can also aid in maintaining a good weight.
Disadvantages of a Low-Fat DietEvery diet has its pros and cons, here are some of the former:
- For weight loss, may work less well than a low-carb diet.
- A very low-fat diet can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies in some people, missing the mineral zinc and some B vitamins, to name but a few.
- Fat is necessary for the proper absorption of some vitamins, such as vitamin D, A, E and K, as well as lycopene, which has been shown to be instrumental in the battle against prostate cancer.
Tips for a Successful Low-Fat Diet
If you are considering trying a low-fat diet, or a diet of any kind, always consult your GP first. Remember, what works for one individual may not be suitable for another, so even if a friend had good results on a low-fat diet that doesn’t mean that you will.
These tips could help:
- Read the labels! If something is more than 10 per cent fat, dump it.
- Try low-fat options. After a while, you may not even notice the difference.
- Invest in a decent low-fat cookbook. There is no reason why low-fat meals shouldn’t taste great.
- Drink plenty of water, and fill up on healthy snacks.
- Cut down on portion size. You can still have that steak, just have a lean, small one and serve it alongside two – if not three – portions of veg.
Eating a healthy diet that is low in fat and making daily lifestyle changes that reflect this should be something to which we all aspire, to keep and maintain good health.