To live a healthy life, it is recommended that no more than 30% of your food comes from fat.1 However, in certain medical conditions and diseases, it can be difficult to digest even small amounts of fat. A low-fat diet is not only good for these conditions, but it is also beneficial for weight loss and for reducing cholesterol in people with cardiac issues.2
Conditions Requiring a Low-fat Diet
Certain medical conditions that require a low-fat diet are3:
Bile is secreted from the gall bladder, which helps break down fat. A low-fat diet is recommended in the presence of gall stones or any other gall bladder disease.
Gastroparesis, or slow emptying of the stomach, is a condition that causes bloating, nausea, and vomiting and requires a low-fat diet for easy digestion.
Diarrhea is aggravated by eating fatty foods.
Malabsorption of nutrients
Patients suffering from diseases of the pancreas and small intestine have difficulty absorbing certain nutrients, especially fats.
Type 2 diabetes
A low-fat diet is known to contribute to decreasing blood sugar levels.4
Heart disease and related conditions such as myocardial infarction, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol require eliminating excess fat from the diet.
Special Considerations to Avoiding Excess Fat
- Eliminate all visible fat from food, i.e., trim beef, pork, and chicken.
- Bake and steam meat and fish instead of deep-frying.
- Toppings such as sauces for pasta, rice, and potatoes should be fat-free.
Recommended Foods for a Low-fat Diet
Milk and Milk Products
- Skim milk
- Skim buttermilk
- Yogurt made with skim milk
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Evaporated skim milk
Bread and Grains
- Whole grain
- Plain pasta
- Rice cakes
- Cold cereal
- Low-fat snack crackers
- All vegetables should be steamed, boiled, or baked without added fat.
- All fruits are acceptable, except avocado
Meat or Meat Substitutes
- Poultry without skin
- Boiled ham
- Luncheon meat
- Regular coffee or tea
- Fruit juices
Fats and Oil
- Whole walnuts
- Whole pistachios
- Sunflower seeds
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Coconut oil
Sweets and Desserts
- Hard candy
- Jelly beans
- Vanilla wafers
- Ginger snaps
- Fruit ice
Foods to Avoid
Certain food groups that should be avoided include:
- Whole milk
- Cheese spreads
- Sweet rolls
- French toast
- Potato chips
- Fried rice, chow mien
- Ground beef
- Ice cream
- Cream puffs
|This sample diet provides the following:|
|Protein||110 g||Sodium||4,000 mg|
|Carbohydrates||299 g||Potassium||4,245 mg|
- Bhandari P, Sapra A. Low Fat Diet. BMJ. 2022;322(7289):804. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7289.804/a
- Ebbeling CB, Ebbeling IS, Lichtenstein AH, et al. Dietary Fat: Friend or Foe? Clin Chem. 2018;64(1):34. doi:10.1373/CLINCHEM.2017.274084
- Seid H, Rosenbaum M. Low Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: What We Don’t Know and Why We Should Know It. Nutrients. 2019;11(11). doi:10.3390/NU11112749
- Watson N, Dyer K, Buckley J, et al. Effects of Low-Fat Diets Differing in Protein and Carbohydrate Content on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors during Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Obese Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients. 2016;8(5). doi:10.3390/NU8050289