Although many people are familiar with the main benefit of a low fat diet being to manage weight loss and maintain a healthy weight, there are plenty of additional benefits. To start with, eating well and exercising leads to a general feeling of well being and confidence which helps greatly in life’s day to day challenges and then there are the medical benefits.
The medical field has widely advertised the fact that a low fat diet can control obesity and reduce the risk of certain medical conditions usually associated with carrying extra weight such as heart disease and diabetes.
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However, recent research has indicated that a low fat diet can be more beneficial to health in a number of different ways.
1. Heart Disease
While a poorly planned low fat diet cannot significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease, concentrating on reducing or eliminating trans and saturated fats will be extremely beneficial.
These types of fats are categorized as bad fats as they can raise the level of blood cholesterol and contribute to artery blockages and heart conditions. It is important that the fats consumed in a low fat diet are good fats or low lipid fats such as olive oil and the fats found in nuts and pulses.
These fats can actually help to lower cholesterol levels and assist the body in maintaining a healthy heart.
2. Breast Cancer
Research conducted at the Baltimore Women’s Health Clinic has also found that a low fat diet can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The study documented 45,000 women between the ages of forty seven and seventy seven. The results were quite compelling and found that those women consuming a low fat diet had an eight percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer.
The study was very comprehensive and took over nine years to complete. Thirty eight percent of the women across all ages were assigned a low fat diet plan. This plan restricted the fat consumption to a maximum of a quarter of their daily calories. They were also instructed to consume at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day along with six portions of whole grains. The remaining women were to keep to their normal eating habits and simply document the foods they consumed in their diet.
This research highlighted another great benefit of a low fat diet. However, to have maximum impact on improving health, reducing the trans and saturated fats should also be combined with eating plenty of fruit and vegetables which are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
3. Skin Cancer
Australian research has supported this claim, with studies indicating that a low fat diet can reduce the risk of developing certain types of skin cancer.
The research out of the Queensland Institute for Medical Research found that lowering of total fat intake along with protecting the skin from exposure to sunlight could be of benefit to those people with a history of developing forms of skin cancer.
The research studied eating habits and diet of over one thousand men and women aged between twenty five and seventy five. It calculated the daily intake of polyunsaturated, saturated and monounsaturated fats consumed in fried food, meat, breads and cooking.
The participants of the study all lived in a sub-tropical area of Queensland which provided a high level of exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The participant’s basic information such as skin colour, diet and level of sun exposure was collected and collated from a questionnaire.
Over the eleven year duration of the study, 267 participants developed 664 instances of basal cell skin cancer which is the most commonly seen form of skin cancer in the world. A further 127 participants developed squamous cell skin cancer which is the second most commonly occurring skin cancer form.
These types of skin cancer can be successfully treated when caught early, but the study found no significant link between fat consumption and overall risk of development. However, when a subject had a previous medical history of instances of skin cancer, the higher consumption of fat in the diet showed almost double risk of developing squamous cell tumours. This supports the link between low fat diets reducing the risk of re-occurrence of skin cancer.
It’s Not Hard To Follow A Low Fat Eating Diet
Maintaining a lower fat diet doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Making sure your daily diet is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables will ensure that you feel fuller, resist the urges of food cravings and get a boost of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
It is important to read all food labels and watch out for hidden fats in any processed or prepared foods. Try to ensure that any fats in your diet are the “good” fats which include polyunsaturated fats which have more benefits to health and try to eliminate “bad” saturated fats which include animal fats.
You can still eat with plenty of variety but try to think leaner and fresher with both meat and fruit and vegetables. For examples red meat can be much higher in fat than white meats such as chicken or fish. If you still want to incorporate red meat into your diet, try to go for leaner cuts such as tenderloin or sirloin.
As with any diet, consuming plenty of water to keep hydrated and aid digestion together with a routine of regular cardiovascular exercise will increase the benefits and keep you feeling great.