Low Fat Foods Versus Portion Control: What's More Effective?

When you’re on a diet, you’re probably on the lookout for low fat foods, and there’s certainly no shortage of them. Nowadays it seems that every kind of food has its low fat or reduced sugar version, making it easy to stock up on these items and deem yourself healthier for doing so. While you should definitely be mindful of how much fat you’re consuming, opting for all low fat foods is not a good idea. As with anything in life, moderation is the key. You’re better off watching your portion sizes.

About These Low Fat Foods

There are two categories of “low fat” foods: those that are naturally low in fat (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and then there are those foods that have been modified to be low in fat, like desserts (think low fat ice cream and cookies). Most of the time the modified foods are less satisfying versions of the kinds of foods we should be eating in moderation anyway.

The naturally low fat foods are better for you, not necessarily because they’re low in fat, but because they’re foods that are filled with nutrients your body needs. Rather than focusing on eating low fat foods you should focus on eating natural foods (i.e. fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats). When you eat foods found in nature, the fat issue takes care of itself.

About Portion Sizes

Think about the best dessert you ever ate. Chances are it was something rich, decadent and satisfying, like a piece of double-decker chocolate cake or fresh from the oven apple pie–complete with ice cream. It’s highly unlikely that the best dessert you ever ate was a reduced fat popsicle or single serving pudding cup. When you think about it, wouldn’t you rather enjoy a small slice of that incredible cake or apple pie every other night than one of those popsicles or pudding cups? Even better, wouldn’t you feel more satisfied enjoying a generous size of that cake or pie once a week? You can enjoy decadent, satisfying foods if you watch your portions. The same goes for non-dessert foods. You can enjoy your mom’s homemade lasagna, but take a moderately sized piece and enjoy it with a serving of veggies or a side salad. Small portions of your favorite dinner foods will leave you much more satisfied than those conventional low fat microwave dinners.

Why Portion Control is Better

Fat gets a bad reputation. Truly, we need good fats in our diets. Concentrating on a low fat diet is counter intuitive in the long run. The best kind of diet for weight loss is the one that is most sustainable–it doesn’t require cutting anything out. Instead, the diet allows you to enjoy all of your favorite foods just as long as you don’t go overboard in your portions. Putting yourself on a low fat diet will leave you feeling unsatisfied and ultimately will not last.

Put your efforts into calorie counting, watching portions and trying to eat a wide range of nutritious foods for ultimate effectiveness.

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