Making Trade-offs to Reduce Fat and Sugar

Updated:Jun 24,2015

Woman Choosing Healthy Food Over UnhealthyFoods high in saturated or trans fat, sodium or sugar are often high in calories, too. That’s why weight-loss diets usually don’t allow sweets or foods with too much saturated or trans  fat. For many people this means giving up their favorite foods, which is one of the most common reasons people give up trying to lose weight or eat healthy. Trade-offs let you eat your favorite foods and still reduce calories.

Use these three steps to help you make trade-offs:

Step 1:

Decide which foods that are high in saturated or trans fat, sodium, or sugar that you really do not want to give up. Perhaps chocolate? Or ice cream? List these foods here:
  1. ________________________________________
  2. ________________________________________
  3. ________________________________________ 

Step 2:

Think of ways to make up for the extra calories in these foods, so you can still maintain or lose weight. Here are some ideas. 
  • Eat smaller portions of the food.
  • Have the food less often. For example, someone who drinks four cans of soda a day might cut back to one a day. Someone who eats ice cream every night might cut back to twice a week.
  • Eat or drink fewer calories on the days you eat one of these foods.

Step 3:

Using your daily food diary, look for trade-offs you can make to help reduce the amount of foods high in saturated or trans fats, sodium, or sugar that you eat (such as fried foods, candy, cookies, pastries, fast foods). When you eat these high-calorie foods, use Step 2 to help you find trade-offs that work for you.

Learn more: 

Last reviewed 9/2014

Weight Management

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