Cutting down on fat is a big part of any weight-loss diet. Fat has twice the calories of protein and carbs — so ounce for ounce, you can replace fat with twice the amount of those foods for the same calories.
You do need some fat in your diet, but you want to lower the amount of saturated fat you eat. These are the fats in meat and dairy, and they contribute to high cholesterol. Cutting out saturated fat when you want to lose weight helps rein in calories, too.
Use milk or yogurt rather than cream in recipes. Select low- or non-fat varieties when buying these dairy products. To adopt this healthy habit, reset your taste buds gradually. For instance, go from whole milk to 2 percent to 1 percent to fat-free in stages.
Choose lean cuts of meat. If you can see any solid white fat, trim it off before cooking. You can cook poultry with the skin on to keep it moist — just remove and discard it before eating.
Replace butter, lard and shortening with healthier plant-based oils, like olive, canola and nut-based oils. Limit calories by using just small amounts for flavor. Be careful with coconut and palm oils, which are higher in saturated fat than other plant oils.
Although the cholesterol in eggs isn’t as dangerous as once thought, the yolks still have saturated fat and are relatively high in calories at about 60. Consider replacing half the yolks in recipes with an extra egg white for each one you eliminate.
At the food market, become a label reader. Saturated fat can be hidden in the most unlikely of packaged foods.
With this gradual approach, the only time you’ll notice the difference is when you step on the scale.
For more on reducing fat in your diet, the Cleveland Clinic has details on the different types of fat and advice on making the best choices.