Low-fat living diet
This programme is based on four small, low-fat meals and three low-fat, high-fibre snacks per day. The plan also advocates daily exercise.
How the Low-fat living diet claims to work
According to Dr Robert Cooper, the author of this programme, you start to burn fat the moment you get up in the morning. He recommends five minutes of easy physical activity every morning, followed by a low-fat breakfast rich in protein and carbohydrates. Dr Cooper claims that eating low-fat, high-fibre snacks between meals increases your energy and metabolism, and reduces the urge to overeat, especially at night. The book categorizes low-fat, high-fibre snacks, exercise, and drinking water as fat-burners, whereas high-fat, low-fibre meals or snacks and skipping meals are regarded as fat-makers.
Each meal provides fewer than 500 calories, with a maximum of 20-25 per cent of those calories from fat. Snacks should be lower in calories than meals. All recommended meals need to be prepared according to recipes found in the book. Artificially sweetened foods and drinks are not permitted, since they may stimulate an appetite for fats in some people and there is no evidence that they contribute to weight loss.
The Low-fat living regimen
The regimen consists of four meals and three snacks daily, which should be eaten at specific times. You should eat breakfast at 7am, snack one at 10am, lunch at midday, snack two at 3.15pm, pre-dinner appetizer at 5.30pm, dinner at 6-7pm, and snack three at 8.45pm.
Examples of foods on the Low-fat Living programme include: wholemeal breads and crackers, pastas, fat-free dairy products, tomatoes, including pasta sauce, canned foods packed in water, eggs (yolks and whites), fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and dry seasonings, and sweeteners such as brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, and sugar.
Because this is a low-fat programme, no fatty foods or all-fat dressings are permitted. Fat-free processed products should be consumed sparingly since they may trigger an unusually high insulin response if they are eaten in large quantities. In addition to the type of foods permitted on this diet, the timing of meals and snacks is important. Also low-intensity exercise, especially aerobics, is strongly recommended during the programme.
Is the Low-fat living diet healthy?
Overall, this diet is very healthy since it is low in fat and high in fibre, and can help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. You are likely to have more energy and feel good when you follow this diet, since it offers plenty of food and high-fibre snacks, and encourages daily physical activity. Since the diet is very low in fat, however, it may be difficult to follow, especially if you often eat out. Recipes for the suggested meals and snacks are helpful, but might require considerable preparation. You should be careful to stick to the portion sizes.
- ■Boiled egg with toasted wholemeal bread
- ■Glass of skimmed milk
- ■Bowl of gazpacho
- ■Low-fat whole-grain crackers, plain or flavoured with chilli and cheese
- ■Green salad with a creamy garlic dressing
- ■Grilled chicken breast fillet with linguine or other pasta (served without sauce)
- ■3 low-fat, high-fibre snacks such as whole-grain crispbread
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