Typical Western diets high in fat and sodium are associated with several health complications. High cholesterol is usually a result of excessive saturated fats, which are found in meats and animal products, or trans fats, which are found in hydrogenated oils. Elevated blood pressure often results from consuming too much sodium. Pursuing a diet of low-fat foods with no cholesterol or sodium has a number of benefits, including reducing blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol in the body.
New York University Langone Medical Center describes a fat-restricted diet as one with less than 50 grams of fat consumed per day. Foods are considered sodium-free if they contain less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving. Choosing fresh foods over their processed or canned alternatives is generally a better choice, as processed foods contain added sodium and higher levels of fat and cholesterol.
Fresh fruits are naturally free of cholesterol, and most fruits are low in fat and sodium. For example, one medium-sized apple contains no cholesterol or fat, and has only 2 milligrams of sodium. One medium-sized banana also contains no cholesterol, less than half a gram of fat and only 1 milligram of sodium. Avoid canned fruits, which often contain added sodium.
Like fruits, all raw vegetables are cholesterol-free and most are sodium-free, making them another ideal food choice in the confines of the diet. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of green beans contains no cholesterol, no fat and only 6 milligrams of sodium. Freshly cooked vegetables with no added ingredients and frozen vegetables are good choices, but avoid canned vegetables, which are often high in sodium.
Animal sources of food tend to contain cholesterol and fat, with the exception of nonfat dairy products and egg whites. One large egg white contains no fat or cholesterol, but still contains 55 milligrams of sodium. Most types of whole-grain bread contain less than 1 gram of fat per one-slice serving and zero cholesterol, though most do contain sodium. Sodium-free breads are available, however. Dried beans are usually acceptable choices, as long as they are prepared without added fat or sodium.
- Ohio State University Medical Center: Heart Healthy Diet: Low Fat, Low Cholesterol, Low Sodium Diet
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Fat-Restricted Diet
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg White
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Banana
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Green Beans
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Apples
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Whole Grain Bread