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Low Fat Diet

What is a low fat diet?

A diet containing limited amounts of fat and stressing foods high in carbohydrates; used in treatment of some gallbladder conditions.

According to the USDA, a low-fat diet – as the name implies – is a diet that consists of little fat, especially saturated fat and cholesterol, which are thought to lead to increased blood cholesterol levels and heart attack. It is important to know that dietary fat is needed for good health, as fats supply energy and fatty acids, in addition to supplying fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Low-Calorie, Lower Fat Alternative Foods: 

These low-calorie alternatives provide new ideas for old favorites. When making a food choice, remember to consider vitamins and minerals. Some foods provide most of their calories from sugar and fat but give you few, if any, vitamins and minerals. This guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list. We encourage you to read labels to find out just how many calories are in the specific products you decide to buy.

Dairy Products

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Evaporated whole milk
  • Evaporated fat-free (skim) or reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • Whole milk
  • Low-fat (1%), reduced-fat (2%), or fat-free (skim) milk
  • Ice cream
  • Sorbet, sherbet, low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt, or ice cream
  • Whipping cream
  • Imitation whipped cream (made with fat-free [skim] milk)
  • Sour cream
  • Plain low-fat yogurt
  • Cream cheese
  • Neufchatel or "light" cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese
  • Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, jack)
  • Reduced-calorie cheese, low-calorie processed cheeses, etc.
  • Fat-free cheese
  • American cheese
  • Fat-free American cheese or other types of fat-free cheeses
  • Regular (4%) cottage cheese
  • Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) cottage cheese
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • Part-skim milk, low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • Whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Part-skim milk ricotta cheese
  • Coffee cream (½ and ½) or nondairy creamer (liquid, powder)
  • Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) milk or fat-free dry milk powder

Cereals, Grains, and Pastas

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Ramen noodles
  • Rice or noodles (spaghetti, macaroni, etc.)
  • Pasta with white sauce (alfredo)
  • Pasta with red sauce (marinara)
  • Pasta with cheese sauce
  • Pasta with vegetables (primavera)
  • Granola
  • Bran flakes, crispy rice, etc.
  • Cooked grits or oatmeal
  • Reduced-fat granola

Meat, Fish, and Poultry

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Coldcuts or lunch meats (bologna, salami, liverwurst, etc.)
  • Low-fat coldcuts (95 to 97% fat-free lunch meats, low-fat pressed meats)
  • Hot dogs (regular)
  • Lower fat hot dogs
  • Bacon or sausage
  • Canadian bacon or lean ham
  • Regular ground beef
  • Extra-lean ground beef such as ground round or ground turkey (read labels)
  • Chicken or turkey with skin, duck, or goose
  • Chicken or turkey without skin (white meat)
  • Oil-packed tuna
  • Water-packed tuna (rinse to reduce sodium content)
  • Beef (chuck, rib, brisket)
  • Beef (round, loin) (trimmed of external fat) (choose select grades)
  • Pork (spareribs, untrimmed loin)
  • Pork tenderloin or trimmed, lean smoked ham
  • Frozen breaded fish or fried fish (homemade or commercial)
  • Fish or shellfish, unbreaded (fresh, frozen, canned in water)
  • Whole eggs
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes
  • Frozen TV dinners containing more than 13 grams of fat per serving
  • Frozen TV dinners containing less than 13 grams of fat per serving and lower in sodium
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Turkey sausage, drained well (read label)
  • Vegetarian sausage (made with tofu)

Baked Goods

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Croissants, brioches, etc.
  • Hard french rolls or soft brown ’n serve rolls
  • Donuts, sweet rolls, muffins, scones, or pastries
  • English muffins, bagels, reduced-fat or fat-free muffins or scones (choose lowest calorie variety)
  • Party crackers
  • Low-fat crackers (choose lowest in sodium)
  • Saltine or soda crackers (choose lowest in sodium)
  • Cake (pound, chocolate, yellow)
  • Cake (angel food, white, gingerbread)
  • Cookies
  • Reduced-fat or fat-free cookies (graham crackers, ginger snaps, fig bars) (choose lowest calorie variety)

Snacks and Sweets

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn (air-popped or light microwave), fruits, vegetables
  • Ice cream, e.g., cones or bars
  • Frozen yogurt, frozen fruit or chocolate pudding bars
  • Custards or puddings (made with whole milk)
  • Puddings (made with skim milk)

Fats, Oils, and Salad Dressings

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Regular margarine or butter
  • Light spread margarines, diet margarine, or whipped butter, tub or squeeze bottle
  • Regular mayonnaise
  • Light or diet mayonnaise or mustard
  • Regular salad dressings
  • Reduced-calorie or fat-free salad dressings, lemon juice, or plain, herb flavored, or wine vinegar
  • Butter or margarine on toast or bread
  • Jelly, jam, or honey on bread or toast
  • Oils, shortening, or lard
  • Nonstick cooking spray for stir-frying or sautéing
  • As a substitute for oil or butter, use applesauce or prune puree in baked goods

Miscellaneous

Higher Fat Foods

Lower Fat Alternative

  • Canned cream soups
  • Canned broth-based soups
  • Canned beans and franks
  • Canned baked beans in tomato sauce
  • Gravy (homemade with fat and/or milk)
  • Gravy mixes made with water or homemade with the fat skimmed off and fat-free milk
  • Fudge sauce
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Avocado on sandwiches
  • Cucumber slices or lettuce leaves
  • Guacamole dip or refried beans with lard
  • Salsa


Example of a diet sheet:

Food Type Foods that can be eaten regularly (little or no fat and/or 'healthy' foods) Foods to be eaten in moderation Foods to avoid or to eat rarely (high in fat and/or 'unhealthy' foods)
Cereal foods Wholemeal flour and bread
Porridge oats
High-fibre breakfast cereals
Wholegrain rice and pasta
White flour and bread
Low-fibre breakfast cereals
White rice and pasta
Plain biscuits
Plain or fruit scones
Croissants
Fried bread
Most cakes and biscuits
Pastries 
Suet pudding
Fruit, veg and nuts All fresh and frozen vegetables and fruit
Dried beans and lentils
Baked potatoes
Dried fruit
Walnuts
Oven chips
Avocados
Olives
Almonds
Pecans
Hazelnuts
Chips
Fried or roast potatoes
Fried, creamed, buttered or cheesed vegetables
Crisps and potato snacks
Coconut
Brazils
Roasted peanuts
Fish All white fish
Oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, kippers, pilchards, or salmon (not tinned in oil)
Shellfish Fish roe
Caviar
Meat Lean white meat such as chicken and turkey breast (without skin) Lean ham, beef, pork, and lamb
Lean mince
Liver and kidney
Visible fat on meat
Crackling
Sausages
Pâtés
Duck, goose
Meat pies/pasties
Eggs, dairy foods Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
Cottage or curd cheese
Low-fat yoghurt
Egg whites
Edam
Camembert
Parmesan
Up to 3 egg yolks a week
Whole milk
Cream
Ice cream
Most hard cheeses
Chocolate
Cream cheese
Fats and spreads None Low-fat spreads
Margarine high in polyunsaturates
Corn oil, sunflower oil and olive oil
Butter
Dripping and lard
Margarine not high in polyunsaturat


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