Why isn't my low-fat diet working?

Kerry Torrens explains why some low-fat diets are high in sugar, and how the white stuff may be scuppering your weight-loss goals...

Why isn't my low-fat diet working?

Although we think of sugar as the stuff in our sugar bowl, that's not the full picture. Many foods, such as white bread, pasta and rice, are made up of mostly simple carbohydrates, which we break down into sugar during the digestion process.

These foods, like sugar, can cause blood sugar swings and cravings, and if you eat too many your body converts the excess into fat for storage. Some low-fat diets are high in these types of foods, so take another look at your diet and focus on making these simple changes:


...white bread, rice and pasta with wholegrain versions, like oats, granary or wholemeal breads, brown rice and wholewheat pasta.
Recipe suggestions:
Chicken & vegetable stew with wholemeal couscous
Miso prawn skewers with veggie rice salad
Apple & sultana porridge
Spaghetti with caramelised onion, kale & Gorgonzola
Malted walnut seed loaf

Oven-baked fish & chips Avoid...

...low-fat diet foods, which tend to be high in sugars, and have smaller portions of the regular versions.
If you're sticking to low-fat meals, make yours from scratch to ensure minimum added sugar:
Oven-baked fish & chips
Low-fat roasties
Spiced turkey with bulghar & pomegranate salad
Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup
More low-fat recipe ideas

Be wary...

...of 'sugar-free' foods, which contain synthetic sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. As they're sweet, they don't help to curb your sweet tooth and send confusing messages to your brain, which can lead to overeating.

Dill scones with smoked salmon & cucumber relish Balance...

...your carb intake with lean protein such as fish, chicken and turkey, as protein slows down your digestion, which helps to manage cravings.
Lean protein lunches:
Asian chicken salad
Turkey & spring onion wraps
Dill scones with smoked salmon & cucumber relish
Quinoa stew with squash, prunes & pomegranate

Stick to...

...one glass of fruit juice a day (or dilute it) and keep sweet soft drinks and alcohol for weekends. Instead, enjoy herbal teas or water with slices of lime or orange.


AppleFor a pick-me-up...

...have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt, both of which contain protein that slows digestion.

Or, if you really need a sweet fix, try a natural sugar substitute like stevia. It's sweeter than normal sugar but doesn't cause the same kind of rise in blood sugar levels.

This page was last updated on 24 January 2019.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.


Comments, questions and tips

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avaflava's picture
6th Feb, 2019
This is why it's important to carefully choose our food, limiting refined foods and going for wholewheat options when possible. It's important not to cut out carbs completely though, which people tend to forget too when starting a diet! It's only a question of balance...
4th May, 2015
limiting high-fat foods become one of the most effective ways to lose weight, of course, also be balanced with regular exercise. http://www.manfaatcaramengatasi.com/2015/04/cara-mengecilkan-perut-buncit-dengan-cepat.html
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