What Is a Fat-Restricted Diet?
A fat-restricted diet limits the amount of fat you can eat each day.
Why Should I Follow a Fat-Restricted Diet?
This diet may be prescribed for people with medical conditions that make it difficult to digest fat. Examples include chronic pancreatitis and gallbladder disease. A fat-restricted diet will minimize the unpleasant side effects of fat malabsorption, such as diarrhea, gas, and cramping.
Fat-Restricted Diet Basics
A fat-restricted diet typically limits fat intake to 50 grams per day. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. So, if you need 2,000 calories per day, this means only about 22% of those calories can be from fat. The rest should be from carbohydrates and proteins.
For most people, it is possible to meet all nutrient requirements on this diet. However, a supplement may be recommended if fat is very limited or you are on the diet for a long time. Vitamins A, D, E, and K need fat to be absorbed. Your doctor or a dietitian may advise supplements for these vitamins.
Eating Guide for a Fat-Restricted Diet
The following guide is broken down into categories based on the Choose My Plate website recommendations for healthy eating. It is recommended that you work with a dietitian to determine how many servings of each category you should eat. Here are some general recommendations:
- The base of your diet should be composed of grains, vegetables, and fruit. Strive to eat foods from these 3 categories at each meal. Fruits and vegetables should cover half of your plate at each meal. When eating grains, choose foods made with whole grains instead of refined grains.
- Limit your intake of meat, fish, poultry, and eggs to 6 ounces per day.
- Consume no more than 3 teaspoons of fat per day.
- Enjoy low-fat or fat-free sweets or snack foods in moderation.
- If you enjoy healthy fats (nuts, olives, and avocados), ask your doctor or dietitian about how you can add these foods into your diet. Since these foods have a lot of fat, they need to be added to your day's intake of fat.
- Whole-grain breads
- Low-fat whole-grain cereals
- Pasta or noodles
- Homemade pancakes or French toast made with minimal fat
- Low-fat crackers
- Baked chips
- Unbuttered popcorn
- Fried rice
- Sweet rolls
- Muffins, scones, coffee bread, and doughnuts
- Most pancakes and waffles
- Cheese bread
- Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables
- Vegetables prepared with butter, oil, or sauce
- Fried vegetables
- Mashed potatoes made with butter, margarine, or cream
- French fries
- Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits
- Avocados, coconuts, and olives
- Fruit prepared with butter, cream, or sauce
- Fat-free-like nonfat, skim milk
- Low-fat or nonfat cheeses
- Fat-free yogurt or kefir
- Fat-free buttermilk
- Reduced fat (2%) or whole milk
- Chocolate milk
- Cream like whipped, heavy, or sour
- Whole milk yogurt
- Regular cheese
- Lean meats
- Chicken or turkey without the skin
- Lean fish
- Beans and legumes
- Egg whites; limit whole eggs to 3 per week
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Duck or goose
- Sausage or hot dogs
- Cold cuts
- Fish canned in oil
- Nuts and peanut butter
Fats and Sweets in moderation
- Hard candies
- Jelly beans
- Low-fat or fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Sherbets or fruit ice
- Angel food cake
- Butter, margarine, lard, and shortening in excess of allowed amount
- Snack chips
- Ice cream
- Pastries, pie, cake, and cookies
- Most candy
- Coffee, tea
- Carbonated beverages
- Coffee drinks made with fat-free milk
- Cocoa made with fat-free milk
- Frappes, milk shakes
- Soups made from a fat-free milk or broth base
- Herbs and spices
- Salt in moderation
- Cream soups
- Non-dairy creamer
Suggestions on Eating a Fat-Restricted Diet
- Look for the following key phrases on food labels: low-fat, nonfat, and fat-free.
- Choose foods that contain less than 3 grams of fat per serving. Be sure to eat only 1 serving.
- Avoid fried and sautéed foods. Use low-fat cooking methods, such as baking, roasting, broiling, poaching, grilling, boiling, or steaming.
- Select lean cuts of meat, such as loin and round. Trim visible fat before cooking.
- Eat small frequent meals, rather than 2 or 3 large meals. This will make it easier for your body to digest any fat that you consume.
- Work with a registered dietitian to come up with an individualized diet plan.
- Reviewer: Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 05/2017 -
- Update Date: 11/17/2014 -