It sounds too good to be true: eat as much as you like and still lose weight. Recent research suggests that not only can you lose weight, but if you have coronary artery disease, you can partially clear your clogged arteries without surgery or drugs. But there’s a catch: No more than 10 percent of your calories can come from fat. And the bulk of the remaining 90 percent of calories must come from fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates such as breads, grains and pastas.
When More Is Less Does this mean you can eat as many calories as you want and still lose weight? No. But because low-fat foods also tend to be low in calories, you can eat a lot more food without piling up the calories. Providing they eat wholesome nutritious foods, most people get enough to satisfy their appetites without going over the calorie limit.
A Habit That Gets Easier Of course, restricting the fat in your diet to 10 percent is a tall order. The average diet provides around 40 percent of its calories in fat. But research has also shown that people who restrict their fat intake gradually lose their taste for fat. Unlike most diets, fat restriction gets easier as time goes by.
Here are some tips to start you off on the right track:
- Learn to prepare foods that are naturally low 7 in fat. For all practical purposes this means a diet that emphasizes fruit, vegetables and grains and is very low in dairy products. There are now many good cookbooks on the market that can show you how to do this without sacrificing flavor and satisfaction.
- Avoid prepared “fat-free” and reduced-fat snacks such as cakes, cookies, and frozen desserts. Most of them contain so much sugar that even without fat they are high in calories. And “fake-fat” foods may stimulate your craving for more fat. Get the bulk of your calories from nutritious, filling breads, cereals and pastas.
- Respond to your hunger pangs. Because carbohydrates pass more quickly through your body than fats, you may get hungry more often. You might need to eat as many as six small meals a day instead of three big ones.
- Try not to be too rigid. Allow yourself a favorite treat from time to time, even if it’s not low-fat. To avoid bingeing buy such treats in serving-size portions, or
include small amounts of such foods in your eating plan.
Be Flexible If you find you just can’t stick to a 10 percent fat calorie regimen, try 20 percent. Any reduction in fat is good for your waistline and your heart. Or make the reduction gradually, giving yourself time to adjust. As time goes by you will outgrow your taste for fatty foods.