Is an Ultra-Low-Fat Diet Healthy? The Surprising Truth

Is an Ultra-Low-Fat Diet Healthy? The Surprising Truth

For decades, official dietary guidelines have advised people to eat a low-carb diet, where fat accounts for around 30% of your daily calorie intake.

However, many studies indicate that this way of eating is not the most effective way for weight loss in the long run.

The largest and longest studies show only minimal reductions in weight and no effects on heart disease or cancer hazard.

But many proponents of low-fat diets asserting that these results are flawed, as they consider the 30% certainty for fat consumption inadequate.

Rather, they suggest that — to get a low-carb diet to be effective — fat should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.

This report takes a thorough look at ultra-low-fat diets and their health consequences.

Very Low Calorie Diet - Very Low Calorie Diet Safety & Side Effects

What Is an Ultra-Low-Fat Diet?

An ultra-low-fat — or very-low-fat — diet plan permits for no longer than 10 percent of calories from fat. It also tends to be low in protein and very high in carbs — with about 10% and 80 percent of daily calories, respectively.

Ultra-low-fat diets are for the most part plant-based and restrict your intake of animal products, like eggs, meat, and full-fat dairy.

High-fat plant foods — such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados — are also frequently restricted, even though they’re generally perceived as healthy.

This can be problematic, as fat serves several important functions in the body.

It is a major source of calories, builds cell membranes and hormones, and helps the human body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Additionally, fat makes food taste good. A diet very low in fat is usually much less pleasurable as a person that is moderate or high in this nutrient.

However, studies show an ultra-low-fat diet might have very remarkable benefits against many serious conditions.

An ultra-low-fat — or very-low-fat — diet provides less than 10% of calories from fat. It limits most animal foods and even healthy high-fat plant foods like avocados and nuts.

Possible Health Effects

Ultra-low-fat diets are extensively studied, and evidence indicates that they may be beneficial against many serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and multiple sclerosis.

Heart Disease

Studies show that an ultra-low-fat diet may improve several significant risk factors for heart disease, including:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • high C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation

One study in 198 individuals with heart disease found especially striking effects.

Only 1 of the 177 people who followed the diet undergone a heart-related event, compared to more than 60% of people who didn’t comply with the diet.

Type 2 Diabetes

Several studies indicate that very-low-fat, high-carb diets can lead to improvements in people with type two diabetes.

For example, in a study in people with type 2 diabetes on a very-low-fat rice diet, 63 of 100 participants reduced their fasting blood glucose levels.

What is more, 58 percent of people who were dependent on insulin before the study were able to reduce or stop insulin therapy completely.

Another study noted an ultra-low-fat diet may be even more beneficial for people with diabetes that aren’t already dependent on insulin.


Individuals who are obese can also benefit from eating a diet that’s quite low in fat loss.

The very-low-fat rice diet was used as a treatment for obese people with impressive results.

One study in 106 massively obese people found that participants within this diet lost 140 pounds (63.5 kg) on average — that may seem surprising for a diet mainly consisting of refined carbohydrates.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects your brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves in your own eyes.

People with this illness may benefit from an ultra-low-fat diet as well.

Back in 1948, Roy Swank started treating MS using all the so-called Swank diet.

In his most famous study, Swank followed 150 people with MS for more than 50 decades. The results indicate that an ultra-low-fat diet can slow the development of MS.

After 34 years, just 31% of those who adhered to the diet had died, compared to 80% of individuals who didn’t follow his recommendations.

An ultra-low-fat diet may improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease and benefit individuals with type two diabetes, diabetes, obesity, and MS.

Why Can Ultra-Low-Fat Diets Work?

Exactly how or why ultra-low-fat diets enhance health is not well known.

Some argue that the blood-pressure-lowering effects might not even be directly linked to their low-fat content.

As an example, the rice is extremely low in sodium, which may positively affect blood pressure.

Furthermore, it’s monotonous and dull, which might lead to an unintentional decrease in calorie intake, as people may feel less inclined to eat more of an unrewarding food.

Cutting calories tends to get major benefits for both metabolic and weight health — no matter whether you are cutting fat or carbs.

Though it is not fully understood why ultra-low-fat diets have powerful health benefits, it may be related to radically reduced calorie consumption as opposed to diminished fat specifically.

The Most Important Thing

An ultra-low-fat diet may help treat acute conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

But, following a strict diet very low in fat is extremely hard in the long term, as it is enjoyable and lacks variety.

You may even need to limit your intake of very healthy foods, such as unprocessed meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.

While this diet can benefit certain individuals with severe health conditions, it is likely unnecessary for many people.

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