Fat-Free Foods for Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight, the foods you buy at the grocery store can have a major impact on your success. When shopping, consider bringing a detailed list of healthy fat-free foods to aid in your selection. That, along with a careful review of nutrition labels, will help keep your diet on track.

You might be surprised by the foods that make the healthy fat-free list. Most of these foods are naturally free of fat. You'll also note that many of the processed fat-free foods are not on the list. While these processed foods will reduce fat intake, many manufacturers replace fats with sugar and carbohydrates that promote weight gain and affect blood sugars.

Many foods on this fat-free list offer ample nutrition while keeping the calorie count low, which makes them invariably the best for healthy, sustainable weight loss. Other food choices may not offer as much nutrition but can satisfy your cravings for sweets, candy, or other treats. In addition to no-fat foods, some low-fat foods are listed to help you with your eating plan.

Not on this list are empty-calorie foods like chips and cookies, ice cream, chocolate candy, high-calorie frozen meals, fried foods like fish sticks, and condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings.

Canned Foods

Black beans
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Canned foods, such as beans, can be good for people on a budget. Foods that are canned are usually more economical, generally last longer, and can be reheated quickly and conveniently. Consider these options:

If you are watching your sodium intake, check the nutrition label before buying fat-free canned foods like beans and soups. Many contain a lot of salt and need to be either rinsed or diluted to reduce the sodium content per serving.

Dairy Products

Sour cream
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Studies have shown that including low-fat dairy products in your diet can improve weight loss outcomes especially in certain populations (like post-menopausal women).

But not all low-fat or fat-free dairy products taste good, so it's important to consider flavor when making your choice. Sometimes buying a low-fat version (rather than a fat-free version) is better because you're more likely to be satisfied with a smaller portion and, as a result, may consume fewer calories overall.

Be sure to check the nutrition facts label for added sweeteners—some no-fat foods in the dairy section are higher in added sugar. Consider these options:

Always check the nutrition label: Certain non-fat Greek yogurts can have as much as 24 grams of sugar per 6-ounce container, almost as much as the recommended daily allowance for many adults.

Condiments

Vinegar
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

If you can live without condiments like sauces and spreads, you might be able to lose weight faster. Many times, condiments add calories without adding much in the way of nutritional value. But if you prefer to add condiments to your meal, consider these fat-free varieties:

  • Cocktail sauce
  • Light mayonnaise
  • Reduced-fat or fat-free salad dressing
  • Reduced-sugar fruit spread or jam
  • Salsa
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vinegar

Protein Sources

Eggs
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Lean sources of protein should top your list of low-fat foods. These contain some fat but provide a powerful nutritional boost. Consider:

The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your consumption of meat, chicken, and fish to 5 1/2 ounces per day. A 3-ounce portion is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Most fruits and vegetables are naturally fat-free or very low in fat. Most also provide important nutrients like fiber that can help you to feel full and satisfied. Studies have shown that eating more vegetables can help to improve weight loss outcomes. There are also studies showing that increased fruit can have a positive effect if you are trying to lose weight.

Consider filling your plate with these nutritious fruits and veggies to add flavor, crunch, or sweetness to your meals:

Bread and Grains

Bread
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Choose high-fiber bread and grains, even if they provide a little bit of fat. Some observational studies have shown that a higher intake of whole grains is associated with a lower BMI. But try to keep your choices low in calories. Consider:

Carbohydrates are an important component of your diet. The USDA recommends that most Americans consume 45% to 65% of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates or a minimum of 130 grams.

Sweets

Candy
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

We all need a sweet treat now and then. The key is moderation. Some of the tastiest choices contain a little bit of fat, but many are fat-free, including:

A Word From Verywell

With this shopping list of low-fat and fat-free foods, you'll be ready to handle meal preparation and any cravings that come your way. The more you plan ahead, the less likely you will be to reach for foods that are less nutritious and higher in fat. You can even go online and look up nutritional information in advance to make your shopping faster and simpler.

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Article Sources
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  1. Ilich JZ, Kelly OJ, Liu PY, et al. Role of calcium and low-fat dairy foods in weight-loss outcomes revisited: Results from the randomized trial of effects on bone and body composition in overweight/obese postmenopausal womenNutrients. 2019;11(5):1157. doi:10.3390/nu11051157

  2. Meat, Poultry, and Fish: Picking Healthy Proteins. American Heart Association. Updated March 26, 2017.

  3. Nour M, Lutze SA, Grech A, Allman-Farinelli M. The relationship between vegetable intake and weight outcomes: A systematic review of cohort studiesNutrients. 2018;10(11):1626. doi:10.3390/nu10111626

  4. Schroder KE. Effects of fruit consumption on body mass index and weight loss in a sample of overweight and obese dieters enrolled in a weight-loss intervention trial. Nutrition. 2010;26(7-8):727-734. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.08.009

  5. Maki KC, Palacios OM, Koecher K, et al. The relationship between whole grain intake and body weight: Results of meta-analyses of observational studies and randomized controlled trialsNutrients. 2019;11(6):1245. doi:10.3390/nu11061245

  6. Daily Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations. USDA. 2015

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