How to Lose Weight on a Low-Fat Diet

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.Choose to Lose plan limits fat intake.

The low-fat diet plan has become a popular choice among dieters in recent years. We present you with two different low-fat diet plans to help you decide what is best for you.

Choose To Lose Diet: The Premise

Nancy and Ronald Goor have been writing and rewriting their Choose to Lose series for the past 15 years. Billed as a "food lover's guide to permanent weight loss," this 500+ page volume tells you everything you need to know, and more, about eating healthy and losing weight. Taking the opposite tact of many diet books, Choose to Lose encourages carbohydrate consumption, as long as most of it comes from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The focus of the diet is fat: finding it, counting it, and budgeting it. It explains how to plan your own personal fat budget, read food labels, ferret out the fat in the foods you eat, fat-proof your home, eat out healthfully, and switch to healthy fats.

They encourage dieters to keep a food diary, at least in the beginning, to learn about their own food habits and to reveal their weaknesses. One of the reasons the book is so long is that it provides a comprehensive food table with the nutrient content of each food, plus discussions of everything, literally, from soup to nuts. The information tells dieters what's good (low-fat, high-fiber, and most nutritious), what's bad (high-fat, low-fiber, empty calories) and how you can plan your new diet to keep some of your favorite foods on your weight-loss menus.

What's for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner? The Goors' diet provides more information about specific foods than most other diets, and it gives a week's worth of sample menus and recipes. More than 250 of the book's pages are devoted to food tables that give the calorie, fat, and saturated fat content of foods. You'll find brief, informative sections on such foods as bread, potatoes, cereals, chicken, seafood, popcorn, and pretzels, just to name a few. A typical day's menus might include oatmeal and whole-wheat toast with jelly, cottage cheese, strawberries, and skim milk for breakfast; chickpeas, whole-wheat pita, tangerine, carrot sticks, and orange juice for lunch; tortilla soup, chicken, green beans, rice, squash, cauliflower, nonfat yogurt, and blueberries for dinner; and nonfat yogurt and popcorn for snacks during the day. Total calories: 2,300. Guidelines are provided for cutting calories to 1,500 to 1,600 -- the minimum they recommend. Supplements are not recommended. Follow a balanced diet, they say, and supplements shouldn't be necessary.

Fact or Fiction: What the Experts SayInformation is power, and the Goors' plan provides dieters with power over their diets and, ultimately, their health. The diet plan goes hand-in-hand with what most experts currently recommend, and it meets the needs of seniors as well. It's a diet high in complex carbohydrate -- mostly from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes -- with limited fat intake, most of it from healthy fats such as olive oil. Though it's not billed as such, the diet is in line with dietary recommendations for reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

If you follow the Goors' plan, using the recommended calorie adjustments, it should allow you to lose weight successfully. You get a lot of variety and choices on this diet, which also offers much-needed guidance for keeping the diet balanced and realistic. One chapter is devoted to exercise, which they sum up as "Eating Right + Exercise = Perfection."

Now let's consider another low-fat diet, the Eat More, Weigh Less program. Click to the next section to find out more.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Eat More, Weigh Less

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.This program requires a strict low-fat vegetarian diet, as well as relaxation, and exercise.

The Eat More, Weigh Less diet is a program based on a very low intake of fat.

Eat More, Weigh Less: The Premise

Dr. Dean Ornish is famous for his strict low-fat diet program that reduces heart disease risk and even reverses arterial damage. The findings from his now-famous "Lifestyle Heart Trial" research, which show that major lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease, are so well accepted that participation in one of the lifestyle program's hospital sites is even covered by some health insurance companies. His program restricts fat intake to 10 percent or less of daily calories and prohibits animal products, oils, and sugar.

What's for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner? Eat More, Weigh Less provides more recipes than most diet books -- and with good reason. It's tough to buy and prepare foods with such a low fat content. In fact, more than half the book's pages are devoted to recipes. A typical day's menu might include Scrambled Mexican Tofu, salsa, whole-wheat toast, and orange juice for breakfast; Black Pepper Polenta with Bell Pepper Sauce and Shiitake Mushrooms, Italian Bean Salad, tossed green salad, and Melon Sorbet for lunch; Roasted Tomato Sandwiches, Anasazi Bean Soup with Corn and Chili, Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs, green salad, fresh fruit, and Apples and Raspberries in Apple-Ginger Consommé for dinner. A table of some common foods and their nutrient content is also provided at the end of the book.

Fact or Fiction: What the Experts Say

Most experts acknowledge Ornish's body of research showing the dramatic opening of clogged arteries experienced by most people following his program. However, the biggest problem most experts have with Ornish's diet is that it's just not realistic for most people. The real test of any diet program is how easy it is to stick with over the long haul. Regardless of how healthful a diet may be, it's useless if you can't stay on it. That lack of stick-to-it-ability may be the downfall of Ornish's plan for most people.

Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

There's no doubt that if you're able to stick with it, Ornish's diet works. The question is whether you're willing to go that far with your dietary changes -- and maintain those changes. Though exercise is encouraged, especially walking, few specifics are provided about how to get started and keep going. And because the diet is so low in fat, you'll need to do some special food preparation every day if you want to avoid meal monotony. While the diet should help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, it could be low in some fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins D and E, if you don't supplement them. The same is true of calcium. While calcium-rich, fat-free dairy products are allowed on the diet, the sample menus provide only about one serving a day -- not enough to meet your calcium needs.

That's the wrap on low-fat diets. Good luck as you decide on the diet that's right for you.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.