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Low Fat Diet

For a regular healthy diet, it is recommended that of the total calories eaten, 20- 35% should come from fat. That’s about 44-77 grams of fat per day in a diet of 2,000 calories a day.

However, certain diseases and medical conditions can make it difficult for the body to tolerate even that much fat, so a low-fat diet may help people with these conditions.

  • Diarrhea can be caused by many conditions. When it occurs, it can be aggravated by eating fatty foods.
  • Gallbladder Disease: When gallstones or gallbladder diseases are present, a low-fat diet is often used to prevent complications.
  • Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach empties food into the intestine too slowly. This can cause bloating, nausea, and even vomiting. Normally, fat in foods delays stomach emptying, so fats make gastroparesis worse.
  • Malabsorption of nutrients: Absorption is the transfer of nutrients into the bloodstream from the intestine. In some diseases of the pancreas and small intestine, patients have trouble absorbing nutrients from the diet, including fat. A low-fat diet may help to control symptoms until the cause of malabsorption can be diagnosed.

Food Groups




Milk & milk products (2 or more cups daily)

skim milk, evaporated skim milk, skim buttermilk, nonfat sour cream, yogurt made with skim milk (3 gms fat or less/oz, maximum of 3 oz/day), fat-free cheeses, low-fat cottage cheese, part skim mozzarella cheese, part skim or skim ricotta cheese

whole milk, cream, sour cream, non-dairy creamer, whole milk cheese, cheese spreads

Bread & grains (4 or more servings daily)

whole grain and enriched breads, cold cereal, whole grain cereals (except granola), saltines, soda crackers, low-fat snack crackers, rice cakes, unbuttered popcorn,  plain pasta, rice, barley, oatmeal.

breads containing egg, cheese, or made with fat, biscuits, sweet rolls, pancakes, French toast, doughnuts, waffles, fritters, muffins, granola-type cereals, snack crackers, potato chips, packaged stuffing, fried rice, chow mein noodles

Vegetables (3 or more servings daily)

all vegetables (steamed, raw, boiled, or baked without added fat)

fried vegetables or those in cream, cheese, butter sauces, dips

Fruits (2 or more servings daily)

all other fruits


Meat or meat substitutes (5 to 6 oz daily)

poultry (without skin), veal, lean beef trimmed of fat (USDA good or choice cuts of round, sirloin, flank, and tenderloin), fresh, canned, cured, or boiled ham; Canadian bacon, lean pork (tenderloin, chops, cutlet), fish (fresh, frozen, canned in water), eggs (boiled, scrambled without added fat), luncheon meat at least 95% fat free

any fried, fatty, or heavily marbled meat, fish, or poultry, beef (USDA prime cuts, ribs, ground beef, corned beef), pork (spareribs, ham hocks), fish (canned in oil), eggs (fried in butter, oil, or margarine), luncheon meat less than 95% fat free

Beverages (4 to 6 cups or more daily)

decaffeinated or regular coffee or tea, cocoa made with skim milk, fruit juices,  water

beverages made with high fat dairy products


fat-free broths, consommés, bouillon; soups made with fat-free broth, skim milk, evaporated skim milk

cream soups, soups with added oils or meat fats, soups made from stocks containing meat fat

Fats & oils (3 servings daily, each listed is one serving)

avocado 2 Tbsp. or 1/8 medium, margarine 1 tsp, diet margarine 2 tsp, salad dressing 1 Tbsp., diet salad dressing 2 Tbsp., vegetable oils 1 tsp, nuts (raw or dry roasted):almonds 6, peanuts 20 small or 10 large, whole walnuts 2, whole pistachios 18, sesame seeds 1 Tbsp., sunflower seeds 1 Tbsp., saturated fats: bacon 1 strip, butter 1 tsp, dried coconut 2 Tbsp., cream cheese 1 Tbsp., sour cream 2 Tbsp., other fats: olive oil 1 tsp, peanut oil 1 tsp, large olives 10, peanut butter 2 tsp

any fat in excess

Sweets & desserts (servings depend on caloric needs)

sherbet made with skim milk, non-fat frozen yogurt, fruit ice, gelatin, angel food cake, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, graham crackers, meringues, puddings made with skim milk, tapioca, fat-free cakes and cookies, fruit whips made with gelatin or egg whites, hard candy, jelly beans, jelly, jams, marmalades, maple syrup

ice cream, pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts, pudding made with whole milk, cream puffs, turnovers, chocolate