Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Nov 2011

Energy diet - low

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide a kilojoule-controlled diet with a wide variety of foods, to allow steady weight loss or prevent weight gain in low-activity patients.


Target energy: approximately 6000kJ per day with the following macronutrient distribution: carbohydrate >50% energy, fat <30% energy, protein 15–20% energy.


  • overweight and obesity
  • low-activity patients (e.g. spinal injury).

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


Dietitians may manipulate diet selections to individualise total energy prescription.


Not suitable for use in paediatrics.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishesAll with <10g fat per serve

Fried foods and dishes in cream sauces

Fatty meats, e.g. sausages, bacon

Pies and pastries

Sauces, graviesLemon wedge, vinegar, tomato sauce, small serve low-fat gravyWhite sauces, sour cream
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice

All with <2g fat per serve

Small serves of pasta and rice

Fried and chipped potatoes

Fried rice

VegetablesAll with <2g fat per serveFried, or served with margarine or white / cheese sauces
SoupsAll with <2g fat per serve (e.g. clear and low-fat soups)Cream soups
SandwichesAll with <12g fat per servePeanut butter, cheese
Salads, dressingsAll others, with low-fat or low-joule dressing

Hard cheese

Mayonnaise or full-fat dressing

Breads, cerealsAll, preferably high fibre 

Butter / margarine (max one portion per meal)

Honey, jam, Vegemite™

Peanut butter
Hot breakfast choicesBaked beans, spaghetti, mushrooms, boiled eggScrambled or fried eggs
FruitAll fresh and canned fruit in juiceDried fruit, fruit canned in heavy syrup
YoghurtLow-fat and diet yoghurtsFull-fat yoghurt

All with <2g fat per serve

Low-fat dairy desserts, low-joule jelly.

Cakes and pastries, jelly, cream

Full-fat ice-cream and toppings

Milk and cheese

Low-fat milk

Ricotta or cottage cheese

Full-fat milk

Hard cheeses


Tea, coffee, low-joule cordial or soft drinks

Juice (at breakfast only)

Full-fat or flavoured milk
MiscellaneousArtificial sweetener, lemon wedgeSugar portions, nuts, chocolate


  1. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 8th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2009.
  2. American Dietetic Association. Nutrition care manual. Chicago: ADA; 2009. [accessed 26 April 2010].
  3. Dietitians Association of Australia. Best practice guidelines for the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. Canberra: DAA; 2006.
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