Low Fat Diet Type
A low fat diet is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), for healthy eating guidelines. A low fat diet comprises a fat intake of less than 30% total energy, and less than 10% of total energy from saturated fat, with less than 300mg of cholesterol.
- Opt for low fat protein sources (skinless chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and low fat or fat free dairy)
- Reduce the amount of red meat (beef, pork and lamb) consumed to a maximum of twice a week. Red meat tends to be higher in fat. Opt for lean red meats like ostrich/game steaks, or leaner cuts.
- Use lower fat dairy sources including low fat or skim milk and yoghurt, low fat cheese such as ricotta and cottage cheese and avoid cream and butter.
- Aim to eat a low fat vegetarian meal at least twice a week. Use legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas and bean sprouts) as the protein source for the meal.
- Although total fat in the diet will be limited, preference should be shown to monounsaturated fats (avocado, olive oil and olives) and polyunsaturated fats (fatty fish, flax and walnuts) over saturated fats (butter, lard, coconut oil), and trans fats (deep fried foods) should be avoided as much as possible.
- Fatty fish such as sardines, pilchards, salmon, trout, mackerel etc. are high in fat but can be included in the diet as they provide a good source of beneficial omega 3 polyunsaturated fats.
- When eating tinned fish, select fish that is found in brine rather than oil.
- Avoid using fats such as butter, vegetable oil, lard, ghee, and margarine etc. Rather reserve your added fat allowance for olive oil, avocado, olives, tree nuts and seeds in the amounts recommended in an eating plan.
- Avoid snacks high in fat like crisps, chips, jerky, fatty biltong, chocolate, donuts, and other confectionary and limit take-away and fast food meals as these are often high in fat and refined carbohydrates and have a very low nutritional value.
- Pay attention to food preparation and cooking methods. Ideal cooking methods include baking, steaming, boiling, roasting, dry frying and grilling. Limit frying and deep-frying food.
- Diets that are lower in fat tend to be higher in carbohydrates. It is important to focus on complex and high-fibre carbohydrate sources such as whole-grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and foods with added sugars. Refined carbohydrates tend to be low in fibre and are generally made from processed white flour. Examples are white bread, pastries, pies, pita, pizza, cakes, chocolates, sweets, donuts, cookies etc.
A basic guide for types and sources of fats: