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HEART UK's Low Fat Eating Plan
Step 1 - Recognising foods high and low in fat
Before you start it is a good idea to have an idea of the amount of fat you are allowed on a daily basis. You can find this out by talking to your doctor or dietitian. You can also use our table to give you an idea based on your energy needs and your doctor’s guidance.
If you are planning to follow a very low fat diet (20% of energy or less) it is best to do so with the help of a dietitian. He or she can help ensure that your low fat diet is still nutritionally balanced.
Now you should have:
- A target fat intake
- Support from your doctor and dietitian if required
Keeping a diet diary
Before you start you may be asked to keep a regular food diary. This is a great idea. It helps you to see exactly what you are eating and how this fits with any treatment or any symptoms you might be having. You can also review your diary with the dietitian every time you visit.
It is a good idea to keep a diet diary every day, at least until your new low fat eating regime is well established. Once you are confident in your new way of eating you don’t need to keep a diary every day but it may help you to review your low fat eating habits from time to time.
You can use the HEART UK food diary to help you. Use the right hand column to make a note of the number of grams of fat you are eating in each food item.
To make it easier for you to stick to your low fat diet we have divided foods into HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW FAT groups.
- any food with more than 17.5g fat per 100g
- any drink with more than 8.75g fat per 100ml
- any food with more than 3g and less than 17.5g fat per 100g
- any drink with more than 1.5g and less than 8.75g fat per 100ml
- any food with less than 3g fat per 100g
- any drink with less than 1.5g fat per 100ml
- any food with less than 0.5g per 100g
- any drink with less than 0.5g per 100ml
When following a low fat diet it is best to:
- Avoid all HIGH FAT foods and drinks
- Eat only small amounts of MEDIUM FAT foods and drinks
- Eat mainly LOW FAT foods and drinks
You can use the above to help you identify foods by checking their food labels. Take a look at how we have sorted common foods into HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW FAT. You can also download a handy summary of HIGH FAT, MEDIUM FAT and LOW FAT foods here.
Once you are familiar with foods HIGH and LOW in fat and how to recognise them you are ready for step 2 of the Low Fat Eating Plan - pulling together a meal plan