Low Fat Diet

Why Follow a Low-Fat Diet?

Following cancer treatment, you may have trouble digesting/absorbing fat in your diet. This may lead to diarrhea, bloating, or abdominal cramping. A low-fat diet can help resolve these symptoms and enhance your ability to absorb and utilize nutrients.

From a wellness perspective, too much fat in your diet can cause excessive calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain, and in turn raise your cancer risk. Following a low-fat diet as part of a healthy lifestyle can help with weight control, which reduces the risk of developing certain cancers, such as colorectal, kidney, pancreatic, endometrial, or postmenopausal breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other health problems.

Important Points to Remember

  • Scan cookbooks for low-fat cooking tips and recipes.
  • Frozen and canned foods may be high in fat. Read food labels carefully for high-fat ingredients (cheese, oil, shortening, butter, margarine). Look for light frozen dinners with fewer than 300 calories and under 10 grams of fat.
  • Avoid saturated fats (e.g., butter, lard); avoid deep-fat-fried foods and greasy foods.
  • When dining out, ask for sauces or salad dressings on the side and use sparingly.
  • Limit trans fats (commonly found in margarine, shortening, store-bought cookies, cakes, crackers, piecrusts, doughnuts) to lower your risk of heart disease.

Sample Menu

*Limit fats to 3-5 servings each day. 

Orange juice
Whole-grain cereal with a banana
Whole-wheat toast with jelly or margarine* (1 teaspoon)
Skim milk
Coffee or tea

Fat-free vegetable soup with saltine crackers
Lean hamburger (3 ounces cooked), mustard, reduced-calorie mayonnaise* (1 tablespoon)
Sliced tomato and lettuce
Fresh fruit salad
Fruit ice
Skim milk

Graham crackers
Medium apple
Skim milk

Tossed salad with reduced-calorie dressing* (2 tablespoons)
Broiled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces cooked)
Herbed brown rice Steamed broccoli
Whole-grain roll with margarine* (1 teaspoon)
Angel food cake with fresh berries
Coffee or tea