I know what you might be thinking… “but, Matt, with IIFYM I’m supposed to be able to eat anything I want. Why would I want to utilize a low-fat diet?” That’s true, with IIFYM you really have no limits, but if you are trying to lose weight, we need to remember that there are more calories per gram of fat compared to the other macronutrients.
If you lower your fat, you could consume more of other macronutrients instead—this would be great when restricting calories because it would allow you to eat more by simply changing the ratio of macronutrients.
Again, this article is for those truly struggling to lose weight and are looking to tighten things up a little bit. You can still enjoy all the great foods that many consider “off-limits” but this article will showcase a few foods you should put to the side for the time being if trying to follow a somewhat low fat diet.
If you’re looking for a sound nutrition plan that fits your IIFYM lifestyle, you should definitely consider checking out the programs on the IIFYM website. There are many different programs beginning with starter guides all the way through to the ultimate IIFYM guide.
You could even work with one of their online coaches if you wished and they could put you through a 12-week program.
Yet, if you are just starting your weight loss journey, there’s a helpful calculator on the IIFYM website. It’s called the IIFYM macro calculator and it’s free to use.10 It’s simple to use and I highly recommend you check it out.
What is considered a low-fat diet while on IIFYM?
We know the difference between healthy fats and not so healthy fats. We understand that healthy fats have an anti-inflammatory effect, they help regulate and produce hormones, aid in cognition, help lubricate joints, feeds the brain, and helps the body absorb essential nutrients.
We’re also aware that fats, in general, are slower to digest by the body and don’t really have a thermic effect since the body doesn’t spend much energy assimilating fat.
Then, on the flip side, we have fats that are associated with illness and disease that should be minimized (even though many who follow IIFYM still consume them). Some of these bad fats can cause heart disease, inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes.
In essence, while the good and bad fats might have the same caloric value, the body processes them differently and each source affects the body differently.
Good Fats vs Bad Fats
Not all fat is created equal. We have good fats that we’d want to include in our low-fat diet in the form of unsaturated fats and then we have bad fats in the form of saturated and trans fats. It’s important to know the difference between these so you can make better choices in your low-fat diet to include more of the good fats that can yield health benefits.
The World Health Organization, American Heart Association, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and other organizations recommend limiting your daily saturated fat intake.
It should be noted, however, that some saturated fats in the diet are beneficial.
Some of the good fats (such as polyunsaturated) that you should include in your low-fat diet are a vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
The most commonly used bad (trans) fats are partially hydrogenated oils. Some restaurants use them in their deep fryers because then they don’t need to change the oil as frequently. But trans fat can also be found in things other than fried foods, such as baked goods, some popcorn, frozen pizza dough, nondairy coffee creamer, margarine, and canned biscuits to name a few.
Good Saturated Fats
It should be noted, however, that some saturated fats in the diet are beneficial. Meat and eggs, for example, are technically saturated fats, yet they provide high-quality protein along with many fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K2.
Yet, if you enjoy your fats and don’t want to give them all up in order to reach your weight loss goal, here are 10 foods you should at least try to avoid or minimize.
Who doesn’t love wings? Pair it with a nice beer and you’ve got a party on your hands (and in your mouth). However, we all know that wings are deep-fried and unless you get them plain, are generally lathered in some type of sauce. We aren’t talking about any old sauce, we’re talking about the high-fat content kind.
Combine that with the already deep-fried goodness we call chicken wings and you just completely destroyed your low fat diet.
Also, what generally happens when we eat wings? We don’t eat just one, right? I think that might be illegal in some states. No, you get a half-dozen or dozen of this flavor, you get a half-dozen or dozen of this flavor—you get the point.
It’s hard to eat just one. And once you start, you’ll easily lose count, and it’s not like you’re going to toss each wing on a scale and be able to track the macros easily.
Cheese is a highly caloric food item that is loaded with fat and sodium. When looking to utilize a low fat diet, cheese is sure to drive up your calories for the day in a hurry. This can be as simple as putting it on your salad, adding it to your burger, or simply eating it as a snack.
In addition, the sodium content can cause you to retain water, giving you a bloated appearance rather than showing off your hard work in the gym.
There are going to be a lot of people bummed about this one making the list, but we need to be honest with ourselves. Bacon is processed meat. It’s loaded with fat and sodium, two things we touched on above.
While there are health benefits associated with bacon, the take-home message here is the overall fat content (not all of the fat is healthy either) if you’re trying to follow a low fat diet. Some people prefer to eat crispy bacon, while others enjoy the slimy and greasy variety.
To keep your calories lower, avoid bacon on a low fat diet. Yet, if you’re looking for a tasty breakfast treat, you need to check out the recipe section of the website and find the sweet potato protein waffle recipe. It’s insanely good, low in fat, and I highly recommend it!
Sorry Papa John’s, you’re not in the house. Unfortunately, you made the list. Thanks to your cheese and variety of fatty meat toppings, you’re one of the foods to avoid on a low fat diet. That’s not to say you’re not delicious, but in an effort to keep your calories low, we need to stay away from you.
The cheese content is enough to drive up our calories, but in addition, if we top the pizza with something like sausage, beef, meatball, or pepperoni, we’re only adding to the fat and calorie count per slice.
It doesn’t even need to be a chain pizza joint you consider buying your pizza from, even the frozen variety that can be found in grocery stores will yield you a high fat and calorie count.
5. Ice Cream
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! Unless we are on a low fat diet that is. Then, we shouldn’t be seeing you. Sorry, Ben & Jerry’s. Even just a small scoop of your favorite brand of ice cream can provide upwards of 19 grams of fat and a boatload of calories. When I say small scoop, I’m only talking about the ½ cup, which isn’t a lot, to say the least.
We also have to consider the various fat-laden toppings that can go on top of the ice cream or the flavor of ice cream you’re thinking about eating as well. Some flavors have additional ingredients that can drive up the fat content.
The great news is, on your low fat diet you can substitute it with Dreyers Slow Churned®. It’s only 3-5g of fat per the 1/2 cup (~65g) serving depending on the flavor.
6. Potato Chips/Tortilla Chips
This snack is something that can easily be overconsumed if you aren’t careful. It’s salty and crunchy and everything many people dream of in a snack. However, many people pick at potato chips and before they realize it, they’ve consumed half the bag. It’s also an item commonly found at parties and gatherings.
On top of this, they relate to potato chips in how tough they are to put down!
As the Pringles commercials and ads state, once you pop, you can’t stop.
Alternate this item in your low fat diet with oven baked potato chips.
7. Packaged Snack Cakes
Little Debbie’s swiss rolls, strawberry shortcake rolls, devil cremes and devil square might as well truly be the devil when you’re on a low fat diet. You might as well throw Twinkies in the mix too! Or any pre-packaged snack cakes or pies for that matter.
They might taste delicious, but they are going to send your calories through the roof, kind of like the sugar high you’re also bound to get. Skip all of these and find a lower fat snack that will keep your caloric intake under control.
8. French Fries
French fries are a common side when you pick up something quick to eat when out and about. It doesn’t matter what fast food restaurant you hit, fries are generally going to be on the menu. The profit margin on fries is about as high as the fat content.
Take McDonald’s for instance. No one gets a small fry with their meal, it’s generally a medium or large. The medium alone will give you around 18 grams of fat. They may be delicious, but they are a low fat diet killer.
On top of this, they relate to potato chips in how tough they are to put down!
9. Pork Sausage Links
Many enjoy having bacon (which also made our list) or pork sausage with their breakfast. Maybe you made an omelet or some eggs and wanted to pair it with something? If you can, skip the pork sausage. A normal serving size is around three links and right there will give you 24 grams of fat—shooting your overall calories through the roof and you’re only just eating your first meal of the day (assuming you’re having this as breakfast).
Some people even use the pork sausage for on top of their pizza as a topping. If you are trying to stay on a low fat diet, you’ll want to steer clear of pork sausage for the time being.
Alternate with chicken sausage if you’re craving this on your low fat diet.
Right in line with ice cream mentioned earlier, a normal milkshake from a national chain can yield you upwards of 34 grams of fat and over 700 calories (and that’s just one food item, or beverage if you wish to call it that). In addition, you’re looking at around 75 grams of sugar as well.
When you’re trying to lose weight on a low fat diet, regardless if you are utilizing IIFYM or not, milkshakes are generally going to run up your caloric intake for the day extremely quickly.
In conclusion, remember, this article is for those who are looking to follow a low-fat diet. This doesn’t represent IIFYM as a whole, but can be used if you deem necessary to fit your lifestyle.
We hope you enjoyed this IIFYM article showcasing some fatty foods you should consider avoiding/minimizing when using IIFYM and a low fat diet combined. If you have any questions about any of the information found in this article, our qualified coaches at IIFYM.com can help you find the right nutrition plan to suit your needs and goals.
We hope you found this IIFYM article helpful and that it provided you with value towards reaching your goals.