There is some evidence that diets higher in fat do tend to promote weight gain. In general, research has shown that diets higher in fat, rather than carbohydrate, tend to be fattening. The tendency of dietary fat to promote weight gain can be largely explained by the high calorie density of fat. One gram of fat is nine calories, as opposed to only four for protein and carbohydrate.
Here are six ways to lower the fat in your diet:
1. Switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products. See our list on the right. You should use reduced-fat cheese in place of regular cheese and use it sparingly.
2. Use lean protein foods. These include white poultry without skin such as turkey breast and chicken breast, beans, seafood and smaller portions of lean beef and pork. Choosing the right items is a big plus, but you also have to be aware of portion sizes. The general rule is 3 ounces, which is the size of a deck of cards.
3. Use refined fats and oils sparingly. Putting oils into a bottle with a small opening is a good idea because you will “sprinkle out” less oil than you will pour. You can do this for cooking oil as well as salad oil. Sprays also work quite well. When buying margarine, choose brands that are light and in a tub. And always choose low-fat versions of dressings, mayonnaise and condiments.
4. Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, poaching, steaming or grilling. Avoid recipes that call for panfrying. Keep this in mind when ordering food out.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables. By consuming at least 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, you will displace higher-fat and higher-calorie items from your diet. You will also be eating more fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals.
6. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods that you purchase regularly. Choose packaged foods with little added fat. Desserts, chips, crackers, soups and frozen foods can all be high in fat.
Be Aware of High- and Low-Fat Choices:
Cream, Ice cream
Fat-free sour cream
Fat-free half and half
Low-fat ice cream
Sausage and bologna
Fatty beef and pork cuts
Dark poultry with skin
White poultry without skin
Extra lean ground beef (95%)
Loin and leg beef/pork cuts
Frozen dinners (many)
Boxed dinners (many)
Dressings and condiments
Cookies, crackers, chips
Canned beans, fruits, vegetables
Rice, pasta, barley, oats
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.