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Low fat diets: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


Why is it used?

Why is it used? Medically, low fat diets are used as part of the treatment in gall bladder disease, and in some conditions where there is malabsorption of fat. More commonly they are associated with weight reduction. The medical definition of overweight is found by assessing the body mass index (BMI). Use our calculator to find our your BMI.Eating a diet low in fat can lead to weight loss; this is often one of the benefits of treating gall bladder disease, since it occurs most commonly in people who are overweight. It also results in the relief of pain associated with eating fatty foods.

Who would require the diet?

Anyone who has been diagnosed with gall bladder disease will benefit from eating a diet low in fat, and anyone who wishes to lose weight will find this a successful method of weight loss. Fat malabsorption is relatively uncommon, and diagnosis should be made by a doctor before any treatment is undertaken.

What is the diet and how does it work?

The aim of the diet is to reduce to a minimum, the entire dietary fat intake. Fat, however, does have a value, in that it does provide useful fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. In addition, fat does have some satiety value (helps give the stomach the feeling of fullness). With very low fat diets, some people may notice they become hungry more quickly.

Simple changes to try:

  • Avoid full fat milk - use skimmed milk. Semi-skimmed may be taken as an alternative if skimmed milk is found to be unpalatable.
  • Use a low fat spread as an alternative to butter or margarine.
  • Eat only small servings of meat and avoid any visible fat or skin; poultry such as chicken and turkey are lower in fat than red meats, duck is high fat. Try more meals based around pulses (bean, peas, and lentils), as these are very low in fat.
  • Choose white fish, and avoid the oily varieties.
  • Traditional cheeses are high in fat. If eaten, have only very small quantities - try low fat cheeses or cottage cheese instead.
  • Choose plain boiled rice or noodles instead of pilau rice, fried rice and fried noodles.
  • Avoid fried foods - bake, boil, and grill or steam foods without added fat or oils.
  • Avoid pastries, cakes and biscuits. Some low fat or reduced fat biscuits are acceptable.
  • Italian breads made with olive oil, and Indian bread made with fat should be avoided - all other breads are acceptable.
  • Avocado is the only high fat vegetable which should be avoided.
  • Choose fat free dressings to replace mayonnaise and salad dressings.
  • Change to low fat yogurts and desserts such as jellies and sorbets, instead of the creamy desserts.
  • All fruits whether fresh, frozen or tinned are OK.
  • Use low fat fromage frais as an alternative to cream.
  • Chocolates and toffees should be avoided, but boiled sweets and jelly sweets are fine.
  • Nuts are high in fat. The only exceptions are water chestnuts and chestnuts.
  • Avoid peanut and chocolate spreads - jams, honey and marmalade are allowed.
  • All alcoholic drinks, with the exception of cream liqueurs such as Bailey's and Advocat type drinks, are suitable for low fat diets. If on a medically prescribed diet check first as to whether alcohol is allowed.

Will the diet harm me?

Very low fat diets should be avoided unless required for medical reasons, or under medical guidance; low fat diets (not strict) can be used without causing problems.

Very low fat diets may be low in fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. and would require nutritional supplements. Low fat spreads, are fortified with fat-soluble vitamins (similar to the levels found in butter) and also contain some fatty acids, they should not be omitted form the diet even though they still pro