After a colonoscopy, my doctor states for me to follow a nonfat diet for a few days. What kinds of foods would be included in a nonfat diet? Is a nonfat diet the same as a low fat diet?

I have a hunch that your doc really wants you to follow a diet that is lower in fat for a few days. Fat is a necessary and important part of our diet so I would not recommend a diet that is absolutely devoid of fat all together. There are four main types of fats: saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fatty acids. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. They are found in foods like beef, pork, poultry with skin, lard and cream, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk, and butter. Saturated fats are not considered healthy fats as they raise blood cholesterol levels, which increase risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and include vegetable oils, fatty fish, and some nuts and seeds. Monounsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature and examples include: olive oil, canola oil, peanut butter and nuts and seeds and avocado. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (when eaten in moderation) can help reduce cholesterol , may help reduce inflammation, and are generally considered the “healthier” forms of fat. Trans fats (or “partially hydrogenated” fats as seen on labels) are made when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to form a solid. You can find trans fats in various products such as French fries, baked goods (pastries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers), shortening and stick margarine. Trans fats are not considered a healthy fat as they raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).

I would advise you to be prepared and have a well-stocked kitchen before you start the prep for your colonoscopy. At the supermarket, spend a lot of time stocking up on healthy fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in fat. But remember, avocados are considered a healthy fat, and in my opinion, they can help improve the flavor and texture of many dishes. When in the meat department, be sure to select boneless/skinless chicken breasts, fish, extra lean turkey and pork and limit purchase of meat with a lot of marbling or with the skin. In the dairy department, choose products that are considered “light” or reduced fat. Personally, I am not a huge fan of reduced fat cheese so I buy the real stuff and then use it in smaller amounts. I also use stronger flavored cheese like feta, goat, and parmesan to flavor my dishes because I can get away with using less. When choosing a spread ask yourself: “how much do I use butter or margarine?” If you don’t use it often and like the taste of real butter, get that but make sure to use it very sparingly. I buy soft tub margarine because it is trans fat free but lower in fat and calories than real butter. Remember that nuts , seeds, and nut butters are considered higher in fat, but they are healthy fats if used in moderation. Finally, limit the amount of snack food items that you may buy. Potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese puffs, cheese filled pretzels, and beef jerky are all fairly high in fat. Try to choose healthier snack options like: air popped popcorn, hummus, rice cakes and baked chips.

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