While low fat or fat-free foods are an alternative for a healthy diet, they are not the cure-all for weight loss. In a lot of these types of products added sugars, starches and salts are used to replace the flavoring of the missing fats.
One gram of fat equals nine calories, while protein and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, which is why low-fat foods can provide lower-calorie eating options. Incorporate fat-free foods — foods that contain less than half a gram of fat per serving — into your diet to help limit your calorie intake.
Fat Free Foods with Dairy
Cottage cheese, like milk, comes in whole, 2 percent and fat-free versions, also providing the same nutrients as fat-laden cheese. Ice cream made with skim milk is fat-free. What you have to watch out for, when picking an item fat free ice cream, is to check for added sugars and other starches. If you're replacing one unhealthy substance for another, you're not improving your diet though you may be keeping your calories low.
Fresh Produce without Fat
Most fruits and vegetables are non-fatty foods in their purest forms. Coconuts and avocados are exceptions. The sauces, butter and other toppings you put on fruits and vegetables usually are the culprits for increasing the fat content when consuming fruits and vegetables.
There are easy ways to make your vegetables delicious without cooking them in fat-filled products. Try steaming your vegetables and using soy sauce, sweet chili pepper sauce, barbeque sauce, or a variety of herbs and a variety of types of vinegar. With a quality non-stick pan you can even fry them up in these sauces.
Most beans and legumes are fat-free when they are closest to their natural form. Canned beans often don't have added fats and are ready to eat - be sure to choose a low sodium variety.
Fat Free Diet Condiments
While creams and sauces typically are loaded with fat, as you saw from the vegetable examples, there are many fat-free condiments you can use to flavor food. Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and ketchup are fat-free. Vinegar is available in a wide range of flavors to add fat-free flavor to dishes.
Salsa made with natural ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onions, parsley and lime juice or other vegetables is another fat-free condiment that can spice up a meal.
Don't forget to practice portion control when using condiments to flavor your meals. While they might be free of fat, many condiments come loaded with sugar — which boosts your calorie intake. Or they're packed with sodium, which can be unhealthy when consumed in too large of portions.
Grains Without the Fat
Grains are a great source of fat-free foods in their natural state, although most people don't eat raw grains. Look for products that do not contain added fat to make them more flavorful. Some bagels on the market do not contain added fats. Though you'll want to pick a fat-free cheese to go with them.
Fat-free foods don't equal healthy. Many candies, although fat-free, are not healthy additions to the diet and should not be eaten every day. Enjoy fat-free foods in addition to an overall nourishing diet to help cut calories and aid in a healthy lifestyle.
And don't forget, while on your fat-free diet, that fat does have its benefits. It's good for your hair and skin, helps you absorb vitamins and provides essential fatty acids vital to your health. So, it's okay to enjoy the occasional avocado.
- Medline Plus: “Diet Myths and Facts”
- Cleveland Clinic: “Fat and Calories”
- USDA: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45221193, Barbeque Sauce, Upc: 759236407069”
- USDA: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45002357, Sun Luck, Sweet Chili Sauce for Dipping, Upc: 076132770029”
- USDA: “Basic Report: 01087, Milk, Nonfat, Fluid, Protein Fortified, with Added Vitamin a and Vitamin D (Fat Free and Skim)”
- USDA: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45232450, Skim Milk, Upc: 853655005032”
- USDA: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45319281, Greek Fat Free Yogurt, Upc: 070470461618”
- Medline Plus: “Dietary Fats Explained”