The subject of my last article was: low-carb diets. Another way to reduce weight is to follow a low-fat diet. It has been proven during the last few decades that reducing the amount of saturated fat in your body is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Fatty foods will significantly increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and many other conditions. Today,66% of Americans are overweight or obese and the rate of obesity has more than doubled to 32%, with most of the increase did happen during the past 20 years.
Reducing the total calorie intake is the key to losing weight. And to eat less fat is the easiest way to do that. One gram of fat delivers 9 calories, which is more than twice as many as the same amount of protein or carbohydrate. Also, our body likes fat. It’s easier to store calories from fat than from other sources.
In one study, Danish researchers found that those who reduced the amount of fat in their diets from 39% to 28% of total calories and increased their intake of carbohydrates were able to lose an average of 9 pounds in just 12 weeks. In addition, people who stuck to lower-fat diets were able to keep the weight off long after the study ended.
According to research, another advantage of reducing fat from your diet is that it can increase your general sense of well-being. In a study of more than 550 women, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that when the women cut their daily fat intake in half from 40% to 20% of total calories – they felt more vigorous, less anxious, and less depressed than they had when they were eating their former diets.
Heart Health Fat in your diet often goes to your arteries. There is a direct link between the amount of fat in your diet and your risk for heart disease. This is particularly true of saturated fat. The dangerous type that can clog your arteries and we find mainly in meats, full-fat dairy products,, and snack foods. Research has shown that eating a diet low in saturated fat is the best way to lower this risk.
You don’t have to go on an extremely low fat diet to get the benefits. Even reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet just a little bit can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels.
Cancer Protection Making the switch to a low-fat diet offers great protection against many diseases, including cancer. Researchers at the University of Benin in Nigeria found that when laboratory animals were fed high-fat diets, they began producing enzymes that led to cancerous changes in their colons in just three weeks.
What works in the laboratory can also be applied in real life.In a study of 450 women, researchers in the department of epidemiology and public health at Yale University School of Medicine found that cutting just 10 grams off saturated fat a day – the equivalent of switching from two glasses of whole milk to the same amount of fat-free milk – could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 20%.
A low-fat diet is protective not only because of what it doesn’t contain but also because of what it does. When you cut back on fats, you generally eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. all of which have been shown to keep us healthier, says JoAnn Manson, MD, professor of women’s health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Good for the Eyes To close it of, eating a low-fat diet may also protect you against macular degeneration. Which is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. In a survey of more than 2000 people, researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison found that those who reported getting the most saturated fat had 80% higher risk of getting macular degeneration than those getting the least.
Starting your Low-fat Diet If you want to start reducing the amount of fat in your diet, it’s not always easy to know where to begin. Firstly, you have to find out how much fat you’re actually getting each day. Ideally, you should get between 25% and 30% of your total calories from fat.
For example, suppose you normally get 2000 calories per day. When you’re following a low-fat diet, no more than 600 of your total calories should come from fat. This will adds up to 67 grams of fat per day.
Don’t let lowering your fat intake to 30% discourage you! This is a reasonable amount of fat to go into your diet. According to Lalita Kaul, PhD, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and professor of nutrition at the Medical School of Howard University in Washington D.C. Eating low fat means: avoiding fried foods, forgoing rich, fatty restaurant meals for home-cooked fare, and searching for tasty low-fat recipes with which to replace some of your higher-fat favorites. Reach for a Lean Cuisine meal or a Lean Pocket when you’re looking for at-home convenience.
Probably the easiest way to keep track of your daily fat intake is reading food labels.They are based on a 2000-calorie diet. So you can look at foods which are 30% or below. To avoid partially hydrogenated oils, look for a spread that says “zero trans fat” on the label. And avoid cookies and other baked goods and snack foods that contain trans fats.Trans fats are now required to be listed on nutrition labels along with total and saturated fat.If you are dining out or buy foods that don’t have labels, you can buy a nutrition reference guide in a bookstore or supermarket.
As mentioned before, the most dangerous type of fat to watch out for is saturated fat, which is found in animal foods like meat, butter, cheese and eggs, and some plant sources such as coconut oil, palm oil, tropical oils and cocoa butter.The same foods that are high in saturated fat are also high in cholesterol. So when you decrease one, you automatically decrease the other.
The American Heart Association recommends that we should get less than 7% of our total calories from saturated fat,partly by choosing fat free or low-fat milk and leaner cuts of meat, like sirloin or top round.
Enjoy the Good Fats in Moderation Generally, you should reduce all kind of fats in your diet. Although monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat are not bad,you should eat them in moderation, because they contain as many calories as bad fats. They are found in vegetable and seed oils, such as olive,sesame, and safflower oils, and in nuts and seeds. They have been shown to actually lower cholesterol and may help prevent it from sticking to artery walls.
The fat found in fish, omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to reduce clotting and inflammation in the arteries, which can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. You don’t have to eat a lot of fish to get the benefits. When you’re following a low fat diet, having two fish meals a week will go a long way toward keeping your arteries in the swim.
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