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:
- All bakery products except no-fat breads
- All dairy products except skim milk and fat-free yogurt or cheeses
- All meats (yes, that includes chicken and turkey)
- Cookies, crackers and chips
- Mayonnaise and salad dressings (except fat free)
- Nuts, peanuts and coconuts
- Oils, margarine, butter, shortening and lard
- Soybeans and soybean products such as tofu
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
- Skim milk and skim-milk products (one serving = 1 cup)
- Seafood (one serving = 4 oz)
- Refined grain products with 0 to 1 gram of fat per serving (one
serving = about 100 calories, that's about one medium-size pita bread
or 1/2 cup of pasta or couscous)
- Sugar and sugary foods (one serving = about 100 calories, that's 2
tablespoons of jam or 1 ounce of jelly beans)