Dietary Guidelines (Lesson 1 Part C)

Elizabeth S. Reames, Charles, Sharman J.

Fats Overview


Fats and oils are an important part of a healthful diet, but the type of fat in the diet is what makes the difference. The benefits of fats and oils are:

  • They are needed for a healthful diet
  • They supply energy and essential fatty acids
  • They serve as carrier for absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and carotenoids
  • They serve as building blocks of membranes
  • They are precursors for important hormones 


Although there are many benefits from consuming fats and oils; there are also some risks. The risks include:

  • High intake of saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol may increase unhealthy blood lipids and heart disease risk.
  • Fat intake higher than 35 percent usually leads to increased intake of saturated fat and calories.
  • Fat intake less than 20 percent increases risk of inadequate vitamin E, lower HDL-cholesterol and higher triglycerides.


In an effort to decrease LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood, an individual should decrease intake of saturated fat and trans fat. Trnas fats increase LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, individuals may need to decrease cholesterol intake. This is especially important for men who usually have higher intakes of cholesterol.


Trans fatty acids are produced in the partial hydrogenation of oils. New labeling law requires manufacturers to list trans fats on the label. Additionally, many food products are being reformulated to eliminate or reduce trans fats. At present, 80% of total intake of trans fats comes from processed foods and oils. So, it is important to remember to read the nutrition facts label.


Fats Key Recommendations


  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.
  • Keep total fat intake between 20 percent and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
  • When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat or fat-free.
  • Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils



Key Recommendations for Specific Groups


Children and adolescents:  Keep total fat intake between 30 percent to 35 percent of calories for children 2 to 3 years of age and between 25 percent to 35 percent for children and adolescents 4 to 18 years of age, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.


Where Should Healthy Fats Come From?


Most fats should come from polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids.

  • Polyunsaturated:  omega-6 fatty acids – soybean, corn and safflower oils
  • Polyunsaturated:  omega-3 fatty acids – canola oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, herring. Fish, especially fatty fish, contain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanenoic acid (EPA).
  • Monounsaturated:  olive, canola, high oleic safflower and sunflower oils, nuts.


The Benefits of Fish


Recommended fish consumption to provide DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids:

2 servings (8 ounces) of fish per week. Consuming fish may reduce risk of mortality from coronary heart disease. The FDA advisory for women of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children suggests to avoid some types of fish and shellfish and eat those lower in mercury.



Reducing Saturated Fats from the Diet


Let’s compare the food items and figure out how to reduce saturated fat from the diet:


Food Item                                                                      Saturated Fat (grams)

1 oz. Cheddar Cheese                                                          6.0

1 oz. low-fat Cheddar                                                           1.2

3 oz. ground beef                                                                 6.1

3 oz. lean ground beef                                                          2.6

1 cup whole milk                                                                  4.6

1 cup low-fat milk (1%)                                                         1.5

1 croissant                                                                          6.6

1 bagel                                                                               0.2

1 tsp. butter                                                                        2.4

1 tsp. soft margarine with 0 trans fat                                      0.7

3 oz. fried chicken w/skin                                                     3.3

3 oz. roasted chicken, no skin                                              0.9





To keep saturated fat below 10 percent of calories:

1600 calories                                               consume      18 g or less

2000 calories                                                                   20 g or less

2200 calories                                                                   24 g or less

2500 calories                                                                   25 g or less

2800 calories                                                                   31 g or less



Carbohydrates Key Recommendations


The key recommendations for carbohydrates are:


  • Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains often.
  • Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners, such as amounts suggested by the USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan.
  • Reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene and consuming sugar- and starch-containing foods and beverages less frequently.


Carbohydrates Overview


Carbohydrates are part of a healthful diet and provide many benefits to the body.  Those benefits are:

  • To provide energy to the body
  • Provide preferred energy source for the brain, central nervous system, placenta and fetus

Foods that are considered carbohydrates include starches, simple sugars and fiber. Additionally carbohydrates spares protein from energy use.

Types of Carbohydrates


For a quick review of carbohydrates, there are two types:


  • Simple carbohydrates that include glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose and lactose
  • Complex carbohydrates which are digestible (starches) and indigestible (dietary fiber)


(Dietary fibers are composed of polysaccharides cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectins, gums and mucilages.  The only noncarb component of dietary fibers are lignans, which include complex alcohol derivatives.)

Carbohydrate Food Sources


Some food sources that provide carbohydrates are: 

  • Naturally occurring in foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, sugars, syrups
  • Added sugars – caloric sweeteners added at the table or during processing or preparation

The higher the consumption of added sugars, the more difficult it is to consume enough nutrients without gaining weight. Available prospective studies show a positive association between the consumption of calorically sweetened beverages and weight gain. For this reason, decreased intake of such foods, especially beverages with caloric sweeteners, is recommended to reduce calorie intake and help achieve recommended nutrient intakes and weight control.

Carbohydrates and Fiber


Some food sources that provide carbohydrates also provide fiber. The benefits of consuming those foods are:

  • Bodily functions are more regular.
  • Decreased coronary heart disease risk.

Since constipation may affect up to 20 percent of people 65 or older, adults should choose foods rich in dietary fiber. The recommended intake of fiber rich carbohydrates is 14 grams/1000 calories.  The best food sources – fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes (peas and beans).

Carbohydrates and Oral Health 


Sugars and starches contribute to dental caries by providing ideal conditions for bacterial fermentation in the mouth. Therefore, the frequency and duration of sugar and starch consumption are important factors. In an effort to reduce the risk of dental caries, it is recommended to takes steps to protect teeth. The best approaches to prevent dental caries are as follow:

  • Drinking fluoridated water and/or using fluoridated dental products.  Because of the increase in Americans drinking bottled water, there is fear that drinking bottled water may lead to Americans not getting enough fluoride for maintenance of oral health.
  • Good oral care by properly brushing and flossing daily, preferably several times each day.


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2/25/2019 4:42:00 PM
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