Low Fat Diets Don't Have to Taste Bad

The relationship between a high-fat diet and incidence of colon cancer remains steadfast. Over time, a life long diet of fatty foods can increase your risk of cancer and other diseases to include heart disease and diabetes. However, the notion exists that low-fat food equals low taste food. If you've unsuccessfully tried to alter your diet in the past only to fail, consider reframing the way you look at fats.

Good Fat Versus Bad Fat

All fats were not created equally. Take the omega 3 fatty acids from fish, for instance. These fats are proven to have benefits within your cardiovascular system, such as helping lower triglyceride levels and decrease the development of atherosclerotic plaques. Likewise, some limited studies have shown that the healthy fats can actually have protective properties within your colon.

To increase your healthy fats, consider adding two servings a week of foods with omega fatty acids such as nuts or fish, like salmon. On packaged food labels, some of the healthier fats are listed as polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. The key word to look for on the label is unsaturated.

The fats from animal products and processed foods are the ones to try and limit. They hide under many different names, so understanding food labels can take a little practice. These are the fats that you want to limit or avoid:

  • Saturated fat (found in red meats and whole dairy products)
  • Trans fatty acids (also listed as trans fat)
  • Partially hydrogenated fat (or partially hydrogenated oils)

Sometimes, cutting out the healthy fat takes a little time as you learn how to read labels and decipher the meaning. However, just swapping out one or more bad fat choices daily for low or no fat options can get you on the right path to improved health.

You Don't Have to Ditch the Foods You Love

Making better dietary choices does not mean that you have to stop the foods you enjoy cold turkey and eat a bland diet. It does mean making a few better choices here and there. After all, the risk of colon cancer increases with a lifelong pattern of high fat intake, not the occasional splurge at the drive through. 

Decreasing the amount of red meat you consume weekly can help decrease your saturated fat intake. You can still eat that prime rib you desire, but think about skipping the 16-ounce portion and instead opting for a smaller cut. If you're ready to take it a step further, consider choosing lean or extra lean cuts of beef to include sirloin or round roast. You can still create a mighty tasty hamburger from ground sirloin, as opposed to ground chuck, which contains a higher percentage of saturated fat.

Put the Fat into Perspective

While enjoying any food you love, moderation is important. No more than 30 percent of your daily intake should come from fat -- preferably even less.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends the following for an adult following a 2000 calorie daily meal plan:

  • Limit your oil intake to six teaspoons per day. This includes salad dressings and cooking oils.
  • Keep your daily solid fat (cheese, ice cream) intake to 260 calories of less. to put this into perspective, just looking in my fridge shows that one slice of processed cheese contains over 110 calories. 

If counting calories or measuring your foods is off-putting, try to think of the saturated fats you eat as a condiment, not the main course. This will help you keep the unhealthy fats you consume into more perspective, while still letting you enjoy the foods you love.

Sources:

American Heart Association. (n.d.). Fish and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

John Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Nutrition and Colon Cancer. 

Park, H., et al. (2011).Chronic Consumption of a High-Fat Diet Increases Solid Tumor Growth and Lung Metastasis in BALB/c Mice Subcutaneously Injected with CT26 Colon Cancer Cells.Cancer Research. 

Theodoratou, E., et al. (2007). Dietary Fatty Acids and Colorectal Cancer: A Case-Control Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 

United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.).My Daily Food Plan. 

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