The study found that reducing fat intake without reducing calories can aid weight loss
Researchers undertook a systematic review of results from 33 studies looking at the effects of reducing fat in the diet. The studies were undertaken in North American, Europe and New Zealand and involved nearly 74,000 people. The studies’ participants were in various states of health and participants were not actively trying to lose weight, so by looking at the results of these studies the researchers were able to come to definitive conclusions about the effects of reducing fat.
Eating less fat reduced body weight by 1.6kg over six months, and waist circumference by 0.5cm. While these results aren’t dramatic, the effects were seen very quickly and were maintained over several years. And, importantly, the results were consistent – “Those who cut down more on fat, lost more weight,” says study author Dr Lee Harper. Study participants were eating a normal amount of food, she continues, they weren’t aiming to lose weight but they did anyway.
As some fats are healthier than others, the researchers suggest that people use this information to cut down saturated fats first and foremost. “We didn’t consider different types of fat in this study,” says Dr Hooper. “But cutting down on saturated fat reduces our risk of heart disease and strokes, so the healthiest way to cut down on fat is to cut down on saturated fats.”
Some simple ways to cut fat from your diet:
- Put cooked sauces and soups in the fridge overnight. By morning fat will have risen and solidified at the surface. Scrape it off with a spoon before reheating to eat.
- Swap full-fat or semi-skimmed milk to skimmed.
- Drink black coffee or tea, so you avoid milk fat completely.
- Trim fat from meat and remove skin from chicken and turkey.
- Keep butter or margarine at room temperature before spreading it on your toast. You’ll lose far less because it will spread more easily.
- Snack on fruit rather than biscuits or cake.