Updated 24 October 2015

A healthy, low-fat slimming diet

Now that summer is upon us, it is becoming more challenging to hide those extra unwanted kilos. Follow our DietDoc's low-fat diet programme and the fat cells will start to disappear.

Losing weight sounds so simple, yet most of us have tried and failed.

Research has shown that for some, having clear guidelines about what to eat, when, can work wonders in losing the extra kilos, and keeping them off. 

While the current Banting diet, or high fat, low carb diet, as well as Atkins and other high protein diets are popular, science is divided between who loses more - those on high fat/protein diets or those on low-fat diets.

If you tried Banting and got bored, or piled the kilos back on as soon as you ate a slice of bread, maybe the diet is not for you.

Try this version of a balanced, low-fat diet to see if it works better. 

If you are still struggling to lose weight, pop a question to our DietDoc who is available all week to answer your specific diet questions. 

Do these diet knowledge tests:

Am I ready for weightloss (it's all in the mind, after all)

Test yourself to see if you are insulin resistant

A little sugar is totally harmless, but are you eating too much?

Is your diet doomed to failure?

Diet tips

  • Eat these low-fat foods in moderation and the fat cells will start to disappear.
  • Cut down on alcohol intake to save on kilojoules and lose weight fast. Stick to one glass of red wine or whisky per day.
  • Always read food labels to check how much fat a specific product contains.

Basic diet plan

  • 1 serving of fruit
  • 1 glass of orange juice
  • ½ cup of bran-rich cereal
  • ½ cup of low-fat milk


  • ½ cup of low-fat yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey on cereal

Tea, coffee, or cocoa with ¼ cup of low-fat milk

Substitute two slices of whole-wheat toast for the cereal, plus two teaspoons of medium-fat margarine and two tablespoons low-fat cheese (substitute one poached egg for cheese, but only three to four times a week).


2-4 servings of bread

  • 2 double-slice, whole-wheat sandwiches with 2 teaspoons of medium-fat margarine

2 servings of meat/cheese

  • 2-4 teaspoons of grated low-fat cheese OR 2 thin slices of meat without fat (60g)

1 serving of vegetables

  • Lettuce, tomato, cucumber

1 serving of fruit

  • Banana/apple/orange/grapes

Tea or coffee with ¼ cup of low-fat milk OR 1 glass of fruit juice

Low-fat yoghurt with 2 fruits OR 2 thin slices of meat, like chicken breasts, with 2 cooked vegetables (beans/peas/butternut) and 2 fruits (no desserts).

2 servings of meat/cheese
  • 2 slices of low-fat meat (chicken breasts, beef) (50 g)

2 servings of starch

  • 1 large baked potato

2 vegetables

  • ½ cup of cooked carrots and ½ cup of salad

2 teaspoons of fat

  • 1 teaspoon of low-fat yoghurt dressing for potato and 1 teaspoon of low-oil dressing on salad

1 fruit

  • Apple/banana/grapes

Tea, coffee or cocoa with ¼ cup of low-fat milk

Low-fat diet recommendations

  • Skimmed milk, and milk products, e.g. yoghurt and cottage cheese made from skimmed milk.
  • Low-fat cheese, e.g. mozzarella, edam and tilsiter.
  • Unrefined cereals, e.g. whole-wheat, brown or rye bread, brown rice, unrefined maize meal, bran-rich breakfast cereals, oats, maltabella, crisp breads, pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, noodles).
  • Fresh and preferably raw fruit and vegetables, canned or frozen vegetables, dried fruit.
  • Boiled or poached eggs, restrict to 4 per week.
  • Small portions of meat, chicken or fish with all the visible fat cut off and prepared by grilling, steaming or pan baking without added fat.
  • Legumes, e.g. cooked dry beans, peas, lentils and vegetable protein meat replacers, e.g. Toppers.
  • 2 tablespoons of fat-reduced margarine with a high polyunsaturated fatty acid content, or sunflower, avocado or canola oil, or low-oil dressing.

Foods to avoid

  • Processed foods: read the labels and see how much fat they contain.
  • Food preparation methods that add fat to food, like frying. Sauces made from meat drippings and commercial dressings made with oil and eggs, e.g. mayonnaise (use low-oil dressings).
  • Processed meats such as polony, ham, bacon, sausages, pies and sausage rolls (use reduced fat meat products).
  • Cakes, pastries, biscuits, doughnuts, refined rusks and chocolate.
  • Hard or high-fat cheeses, e.g. gouda, cheddar, camembert and parmesan.
  • Full-cream milk products, ice cream and commercial puddings.
  • Coffee creamers, milk blends, cream, suet, lard.


Burn up more energy by starting to exercise, but just check with your doctor first if you can participate in an exercise programme.

Regular brisk walking/running in the fresh air is probably the most pleasant and healthy form of exercise. Start gradually and increase how long and how actively you walk or run over a period of time. Enjoy.

If you prefer working out, or doing aerobics, join a good gym.

Regular swimming, cycling, tennis and squash are also excellent ways of increasing your energy output and firming the body.


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