The “fat-free craze” has disappointed consumers in another way. Fat has many unique properties that enhance the enjoyment of food. Fats deliver much of the flavor and help determine the texture of many foods. Eating meals with little or no fat just isn’t as satisfying. As a result, many people have given up on their low-fat eating habits and returned to the tastier high-fat foods they once enjoyed. Others struggle to minimize fat intake but admit to “splurging” on higher-fat foods more often than they should. It’s clear that people don’t maintain healthier eating habits for long if the food they are eating doesn’t taste good. Making flavorful, low-fat eating a way of life is how you can realize the long-term benefits.
All fats are not created equal.
Is there any hope for the millions of Americans who want the health benefits of a low-fat eating plan? Fortunately the answer is yes. Today we have the food science and technology capable of producing fats with fewer calories. These reduced-calorie fats can be used in place of shortening and oils in many foods so manufacturers can make products that have the taste and texture consumers expect, but with fewer calories. Foods labeled with the dual claim of “less fat and fewer calories” offer consumers more options to meet their health and weight goals.
Most snack foods and desserts are high in fat. But when snacks and desserts are made with the new reduced-calorie fats, you can include them as options without exceeding your fat and calorie budgets. Moderation in how much and how often you eat these foods is still the key.
But there’s no reason to feel “deprived if you don’t” and “guilty if you do” eat your favorite treats once in a while.
A registered dietitian or pro from a fitness center can help plan a healthful eating pattern that includes your favorite foods.
More variety with less fat, fewer calories.
The Food Guide Pyramid provides a guide to how many servings per day you need from each of the food groups.
An additional recommendation is to choose the lower-fat foods from each food group most often. Including reduced-fat and lower-calorie foods as options adds to the variety of food selections available. Choosing a wide variety of foods expands the range of tastes and textures, as well as nutrients.