Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published: November 2011. Next review: 2024.

Low fat diet < 50g day

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


To provide a diet with no more than 50g total fat per day, to minimise symptoms of fat malabsorption.


Low in total fat but not necessarily low in saturated fat.

Suggested fat distribution by meal:

Sites with mid-meal service

  • Breakfast: 10g
  • Morning tea: 2g
  • Lunch: 15g
  • Afternoon tea: 2g
  • Dinner: 15g
  • Supper: 2g

Sites without mid-meal service

  • Breakfast: 10g
  • Lunch: 20g
  • Dinner: 20g


  • cholecystitis
  • pancreatitis
  • steatorrhoea
  • chronic radiation enteritis.

A low-fat diet may increase macronutrient and mineral absorption following surgery for short bowel syndrome. Restriction of fat in uncomplicated hepatitis is unfounded. Fat restriction has been found to be of little benefit in controlling bowel actions associated with cystic fibrosis.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.




Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes

Main dishes ≤10g fat per serve

Lean meat, skinless chicken and fish

Soy products, e.g. textured vegetable protein (TVP)


Note: If no suitable choices are available on the menu, grilled fish and steamed chicken are appropriate to offer

Fatty meats (e.g. bacon, sausages), offal

Deep-fried foods

Foods cooked with coconut milk

Sauces, gravies

Low-fat sauces and gravies (≤3g fat per serve)

Tomato sauce

Cream-based or milk-based sauces
Starchy vegetables / pasta / riceAll raw, steamed or boiled (≤2g fat per serve) Fried or roasted vegetables with fat, such as butter, cooking margarine or oil
VegetablesAll raw, steamed or boiled without added fat (≤2g fat per serve)

Fried or roasted vegetables with fat, such as butter, cooking margarine or oil

Vegetables served with cream-based or cheese-based sauces

SoupsLow-fat soups (≤2g fat per serve)Soups made with cream or full-fat milk
SandwichesSandwiches ≤12g fat per four-point serveFish canned in oil, avocado
Salads, dressings

Salads ≤12g fat per serve

Low-joule dressing or lemon wedge

Full-fat dressings, mayonnaise

Olives, avocado

Breads, cereals

All others

Toasted mueslis

Cereals with coconut or chocolate


Mono- or polyunsaturated margarine (limit to one portion per meal)

Jam, honey, Vegemite™

Peanut butter
Hot breakfast choices

One boiled or poached egg

Mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes ≤5g fat per serve

Fried or scrambled eggs

Bacon, sausages

Hash browns


Fresh, canned and dried fruits



Fruit cakes or pastries
YoghurtLow-fat yoghurtsFull-fat yoghurts

Desserts with ≤2g fat per serve

Low-fat ice-cream, custard and creamy rice

Tapioca, sago

Full-fat ice-cream or custard

Commercial cakes


Milk and cheese

Low-fat milk (≤1%), e.g. skim milk, Shape™

Low-fat cottage cheese and ricotta

Full-cream milks, 2% fat milk

Cream, sour cream

Full-fat cheeses (e.g. cheddar)

BeveragesWater, tea, coffee, cordial, juices, soft drinks Milk drinks
BiscuitsPlain low-fat biscuits with ≤2g fat per serve (e.g. one biscuit only: Spicy Fruit Roll™, Shredded Wheatmeal™, Granita™, Milk Arrowroot™, Milk Coffee™)Commercial cream biscuits or chocolate biscuits

Herbs and spices


Nuts and seeds



  1. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 8th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2009.
  2. American Dietetic Association. Nutrition care manual. Chicago: ADA; 2009, [accessed 17 March 2010].
  3. Maher AK, editor; Iowa Dietetic Association. Simplified diet manual. 10th ed. Ames: Blackwell; 2007.
  4. Nightingale J, Woodward JM. Guidelines for the management of patients with a short bowel. Gut 2006;55 Suppl 4:iv1-12.
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