By Jane Birch
Reducing Fat in Your Diet
Whole plants naturally contain the macro and micro-nutrients we need in the right balance, so (unless you have a specific health condition that warrants it) there is no need to micromanage your diet. Focus on the big picture: eating a diet of whole (unprocessed) plant (not animal) foods. This diet is naturally very low in fat.
Because the American diet is so high in fat (average 35%), it may take some time for your taste buds to adjust to a naturally low-fat diet, but it will happen! It happens quickly from some people, but it may take up to about 90 days for others. The key is to totally eliminate high-fat foods from your diet so that your body and brain learn to adjust. It can help if you tell yourself: this is just for 90 days (rather than THIS IS FOREVER). I think it is easier to go cold turkey, but some people may prefer a slower, step-by-step approach.
Because this way of thinking is so foreign from our current food culture, the following suggestions for reducing fat may be useful, but remember: it is the big picture that matters.
1. Learn to identify high fat foods.
- All animal foods: meat, dairy, and eggs. These are naturally very high in fat, unless the fat has been taken out (in which case they are unhealthy for other reasons).
- All vegetable oils, including coconut oil. This goes without saying: these are all 100% fat. Even cooking spray labeled as “zero calories and fat-free” is 100% fat! (The FDA allows companies to round down to zero.)
- Most processed foods. Check the labels, and read the ingredients. Calculate the percent of calories that are coming from fat. If 20% or more of calories come from fat, consider this a “high-fat food.” It is not uncommon for 50-70% of the calories to come from fat! (But note that most processed food, even if the fat has been removed, is not healthy.)
- High fat plant foods. These include raw nuts and seeds (75–92% fat); avocados (88% fat); coconut (92% fat); and olives (98% fat).
- Soybeans are relatively high fat (40%) and so are traditional soy foods (tofu, soy milk, tempeh, miso, edamame, etc.). Nontraditional soy products and “fake foods” made from soy (soy burgers, soy turkey, etc.) are usually VERY high in fat. (Because they are made from soy isolates, which are not healthy, even if they are low-fat they should be avoided.
2. Eliminate animal foods, oils, and high-fat processed foods. Read More→