Gabe Mirkin, MD

Gabe Mirkin recommends a diet with no more than 20 grams of fat per day. The diet is focused on low-fat/high-fiber foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and allows up to five servings per day of low-fat/low-fiber foods such as skim milk products, refined grains, and seafood. Gabe Mirkin's Web Site


The Basic 15 Grams

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are to be the basis of the diet. You can eat as much of these as you want to feel comfortably full and satisfied.

If you wish, you can also have up to five servings each day of low-fiber/low-fat foods such as skim milk products, refined grains, and seafood. If you eat milk products, you whould have one serving of skim milk or yogurt per day. If you eat seafood, you can have a serving of seafood three to four times a week.

You don't actually need to keep track of the fat in these foods. They all have a small but non-zero amount of fat and if you eat enough to satisfy your hunger, you will automatically get about 15 grams of fat per day from these foods -- thus, the fat provided by these foods are called the "Basic 15 Grams".

5 Choice Grams

Each day you may consume up to 5 additional grams of fat per day as you please. Anything else you eat that has 1 gram or more of fat on the label needs to be counted.

You don't have to use all 5 grams. You can have perfectly satisfying meals and snacks using just your basic 15 grams. But the 5 "choice" grams let you enjoy some of your personal favorite foods.

If you want to eat more than five servings of low-fiber/low-fat foods in a day, count each extra serving as 2 of your choice grams of fat. You can have that extra cup of pasta as long as you haven't used up your choice grams.

High-Fat Foods to Avoid

Mirkin considers any food with more than 2 grams of fat per serving "high-fat". In addition to the foods on this list, be aware that most prepared "convenience" foods -- wheather frozen, canned or boxed -- are high-fat. Also notice that the "serving sizes" on many high-fat foods are deceptively small. Check the label before you buy. Avoid:

Low-Fiber/Low-Fat Foods

These foos add variety to a low-fat diet, but don't eat them in unlimited quantities. Skim-milk products and some breads and sweets may have no fat, but they are also very low in fiber. The are dense sources of calories because they don't have much bulk (fiber and water), so you consume a lot of calories without feeling full. You can defeat your low-fat diet if you eat more than about five servings of these dense foods a day. Your body converts the excess calories to fat.