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FAT MATTERS... BUT CALORIES COUNT
Modified 25 June, 2007

Just because a product is fat free, doesn't mean it is calorie free. In fact, fat free or reduced fat products can have as many, if not more, calories per serving than regular products. So, yes, you need to watch your fat intake. But remember calories do count.

The new National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Guidelines encourage you to read the labels and compare products like these.

1 FIG COOKIE

Fat Free.....................70 Calories
Regular......................50 Calories

1/2 CUP ICE CREAM OR FROZEN YOGURT

Premium Nonfat.......190 Calories
Regular..............180 Calories

2 TBSP PEANUT BUTTER

Reduced Fat...........190 Calories
Regular...............190 Calories

Source: National Institutes of Health


OAT BRAN MANIA

Do you enjoy oat bran, but wonder if there are any health benefits?

Oat bran, like all other soluble fibers, can help lower cholesterol and is a good way to fill up without eating a lot of fat. But oat bran by itself is not anything magic.

The way soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol is by binding some cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and excreting it with other waste products. Oat bran only helps lower cholesterol when the overall eating plan is lower in saturated and total fat.

If you enjoy oat bran cereal or muffins, continue to include them in your eating plan for the variety, vitamins, minerals, and health benefits they provide.


FAD DIETS

Are you the first to jump on the bandwagon for new diets?

Just like fashion, diets come and go, and you hope to pick the one that lasts. When it comes to diets, there are some easy ways to know the right from the wrong:

  • no food or diet provides the magic answer to health or weight loss, it's all about habits
  • eliminating food groups or not combining certain foods simply decreases variety and nutrition, not weight
  • buying special products, supplements, or formulas will only decrease the weight of your wallet
  • if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is

Changing your eating habits is about the foods you choose and the portions you eat. Learning to make these adjustments will help you lose weight and when combined with physical activity, improve your overall health.


INDULGENT “HEALTH PRODUCTS” ...

... not the answer for the calorie conscious consumer.

Low fat and reduced calorie snacks, cakes and biscuits are becoming increasingly popular and a new study by market analysts Mintel has found that weight conscious consumers are increasingly turning to these indulgent "health foods." Nutritionists insist however that such products are only helping people to mislead themselves about dieting and the role of "health foods."

Mintel discovered that around a quarter of British adults are struggling with diets, and from the British Nutrition Foundation, Sarah Stanner warned dieters not to mislead themselves about the benefits of eating low-calorie versions of their favourite snack foods. She added that eating fruit and vegetables and taking plenty of exercise is the only way to get in shape.

Medical experts believe that the proportion of the public who are clinically recognised as obese has tripled over the last 20 years. The range of products available for the calorie conscious dieter has increased dramatically since the late 1990s, adding to the creation of a market worth 1.4bn a year.

Source: just-food.com



HEART HEALTHY FIBRE

How can you help reduce blood cholesterol? It is simple - with an eating plan which includes fibre.

Where can you get fibre from?
Soluble fiber, which is found in high quantities in apples, oats, barley, beans, oranges, and grapefruits, can help reduce blood cholesterol. Soluble fibre helps bind cholesterol in the digestive tract causing cholesterol to be eliminated from your body.

But soluble fiber is only helpful when combined with an eating plan that is low in saturated fats. To achieve this simply limit meat, fish, and poultry to six ounces cooked weight per day and choose low-fat or skim milk products.

And easy way to increase the amount of your fibre intake, is by simply topping your hot oatmeal with warm apple slices, or have a grapefruit for a snack. Baked apples can be topped with a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and dry oatmeal.

When you cook soup, you can add barley, red beans, and carrots.


LOW CARB DIETS: THE ANSWER TO WEIGHT LOSS?

Popular diets question carbohydrates in a healthful eating plan. You thought they were good for you. What are the facts?

Carbohydrates yield readily available glucose and are the best fuel for the body. Skipping carbohydrates is like trying to drive your car with oil instead of gas.

Many popular diets claim eating only protein is magical, that combining carbohydrates and protein is harmful, or even low-fat is the way to weight gain.

The facts for weight loss are very simple and not too glamorous. Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume.

You can change calories in one of three ways:

  • eat fewer calories,
  • exercise more,
  • or do a little of both.

BALANCING FATS AND OILS

Cutting back on fat? Getting enough fat? How do you find a happy balance?

Fat is an important part of a healthful eating plan. It provides energy, fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and it makes food taste good. The tricky part is the fine line between enough and too much.

It is also important to choose the more healthful--unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol, but only when used in moderate amounts and in place of saturated fats.

To reduce your intake, switch to oils (Olive or Canola Oils) and margarines made from liquid oil.

Try to limit hydrogenated oils which have more saturated fat.


HOW TO CUT DOWN CHOLESTEROL?

Perhaps you don't worry about your cholesterol levels, but for some people these are very important. These simple to follow step will help you in cutting down cholesterol:

  • Replace meat with bean curds, nuts, peas and beans on some days.
  • Eat shellfish, prawns, crabs and organ meats (liver, kidney, brain) no more than twice a week and in small portions.
  • Limit the number of eggs you eat. For normal healthy adults and adolescents, limit to 3-5 eggs a week. Young children can have 5-6 eggs a week. For persons with a high blood cholesterol level, limit to 2-3 eggs a week.

DO YOU EAT ENOUGH ... FIBER Fiber ?

Fiber comes from plants, not animal foods. It is highest in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dried beans and peas. Nuts and seeds contain fiber, but are also high in fat and calories so be careful with these.

A high fiber diet has a variety of health benefits including preventing constipation, colon cancer and helping to lower cholesterol, to name a few. For these benefits, 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day is recommended. Most people who eat a high fat, high meat diet or who rely on processed foods do not get enough. In fact, 10 to 11 grams is the estimated daily fiber intake of typical Westernised diets.

Source: CyberDiet


CARBOHYDRATES THAT FOOL

Are bread and other carbohydrates fattening? No. The problem isn't the carbohydrates themselves, but the now-widespread super-sized portions that are often to blame when weight seems out-of-control. And it's not just "junk foods" at fault here - even "healthy" foods in excessive portions spell trouble.

Experts are hotly debating whether bagels for example, should be considered healthful or horrible. As low-fat complex carbohydrate, they clearly offer good nutrition. When it comes to weight and blood sugar concerns, it's the portion that we should consider.

These portion size issues relate to many carbohydrate foods - potatoes, crackers, tortillas and so on. It's not that the foods themselves are fattening or bad for blood sugar. We've just gotten so used to "super-sizing" everything that we're super-sizing ourselves without realizing it. Moderation is the key.

Source: Gourmet Connection


CUTTING BACK ON FAT IS SAFE FOR KIDS

Most experts agree that too much fat is bad for the heart and that many need to cut back on their intake. But when it comes to children, adequate fat is essential for their growth. So are reduced-fat diets safe for children?

A study in the February issue of Pediatrics answers that question by showing that cutting back on fat is not only safe for children, it also can help lower cholesterol in children whose levels already are elevated.


BURN CALORIES OR STORE CALORIES

Do you get worried that you'll have to starve yourself before you can enjoy that special Holiday Time meal?

Starving is never a good way to cut calories. But you can take some steps to make it a little less heavy.

You can start an exercise program. The best activity for calorie burning is aerobic activity, such as, walking, biking, running, inline skating, and stair climbing.

If you are not into that, then simply hover your house, or do your shopping. You will be amazed how many calories you can burn doing that.

If this isn't your cup of tea, then do some walks 10-15 minutes every day, slowly increasing the time every day.

And since most holiday occasions mean your family all gets together, why not enjoy a game of some sort - volleyball, football or catch.

But just remember that whatever activity you choose, you'll burn those calories instead of storing them ;-)


HOW ARE CALORIES CALCULATED

Energy has traditionally been expressed as calories or kilocalories. More recently, the units of energy have been changed to kilojoules. There are 4.2 kilojoules in 1 kilocalorie. Someone having 2000 kilocalories each day would be having 8400 kilojoules, also known as 8.4 megajoules.

The energy value of a food indicates its value to the body as a fuel.

After a food is ingested, some of its energy may be 'lost' during digestion and metabolism. Although the energy value of some foods has been found by combustion in a bomb calorimeter, more usually the amounts of the macronutrients - fat, protein, carbohydrate and alcohol (ethanol) - in a food are taken into account when assessing the total energy value of the food. The energy value for each macronutrient must be known, and an allowance made for body losses.

Fat is the most energy-dense macronutrient, followed by alcohol, protein and carbohydrate.

Energy requirement can be thought of as the amount needed to maintain the basic processes of life at rest, that is, basal metabolism, plus the amount needed for physical activity under a variety of circumstances.

Body weight is an important factor in determining how much energy we need, since more energy will be needed to sustain and move a greater body mass.

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