Elizabeth S. Reames, Charles, Sharman J.
Oils and Discretionary Calorie Allowance
These should be eaten sparingly - not too much each day! Some fats, oils and sweets are added to foods before eating, such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, margarine and butter and table sugar. Because you add these yourself, it is easier to eat less by not adding them or adding small amounts. There are hidden fats and sugars in many foods, however, so it is important to read Nutrition Facts labels and know where to look for hidden fats and sugars.
Fats and Oils
A small amount of fat is important for health, but most of us eat too much fat. Eating too much fat is a risk factor of heart disease and certain kinds of cancer. Eating too much fat can lead to obesity. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure and is a risk factor of diabetes. You should limit your overall fat intake to 20 percen to 35 percent of your calories and saturated fats to less than 10 percent. If you need about 2000 calories a day, your total fat intake can be about 33 – 77 grams of fat, with 20 - 33 grams of this amount being saturated fat. You can learn to read labels to figure out the grams of fat in foods. To lower your fat intake, learn to recognize foods and ingredients that are high in fat and beware of foods with a lot of hidden fat.
Foods High in Hidden Fats
Visible fats on meats
Most fast-food meals
Brownies, most cookies
Peanuts, pecans, other nuts
Avocados and olives
Hot dogs, sausage, lunch meat
Frozen pot pies
Sucrose is the type of sugar found in table sugar, raw sugar (unrefined sugar), powdered sugar and brown sugar (table sugar colored with molasses). Other forms of sugar include honey, molasses, corn syrup or high-fructose syrup. Sugars supply calories, but little else nutritionally.
Many processed foods contain sugar. Look at the list of ingredients on the label. Ingredients are listed in order by weight - from most to least. Look for the words that end in ose such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, lactose and glucose. Also, many foods contain corn syrup and liquid sugar. If one of these sugars is listed as one of the first three ingredients, or if several sugars are listed on the label, the product is probably high in sugar.
The average American eats more than 40 pounds of sugar and sweets a year, not counting soft drinks. Sugar consumption per person has increased almost 1 pound per year each year since 1985. Complex carbohydrates should be the biggest part of our diet. The best sources of complex carbohydrates are starchy foods such as breads, potatoes, rice and spaghetti. These foods provide other important nutrients in addition to carbohydrates. Sugars and sweets provide carbohydrates and fill you up without providing essential vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Sweets should be used for special treats, not as a major source of carbohydrates.
The USDA Food Guide allows for 8 teaspoons of added sugar daily based on a 2,000-calorie eating plan. According to the DASH Eating Plan, 5 tablespoons of added sugar a week is allowed. One tablespoon of added sugar is the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam, ½ ounce jelly beans or 8 ounces lemonade.
1. Sugar Causes Hyperactivity
Research has proved that this isn't true, although many people believe it is. If a child is overexcited, it may be because of the situation (a birthday party, being out of school or a holiday such as Halloween) and not because of the sweets that go along with it.
2. Sugar Causes Diabetes
This isn't true either! A person gets diabetes because of genetics (if a relative had it), being overweight or age, but not because of sugar intake. When a person has diabetes, the body can't use sugar properly. These people must maintain a well- balanced diet that includes some sugar but many other nutrients to keep their bodies healthy.
Sample Food Guide Menu Plan (based on 2,000 calories)
1 fruit – 1 medium piece of fruit
1 grain, 1milk - 1 ounce whole-grain cereal with 1 cup low-fat milk
1 bread, 1/2 meat - 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 milk - 1 slice cheese
1 fruit – ½ cup apple juice
1 meat, 2 grains, 1 fat - hamburger
1 vegetable, 1 fat - tossed salad with light dressing
1 milk - 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
1 fruit – ½ cup seasonal fruit
1 vegetable – 1 cup carrots
1 meat – 2 ounces baked, skinless chicken
2 grains - 1 cup brown rice
1 grain - 1 slice bread or cornbread
1 fat - 1 teaspoon margarine
1 vegetable - 1 cup cooked greens
1 vegetable - 1/2 cup carrot sticks
1 vegetable and 1 fat – tossed salad with light dressing
1/2 milk – ½ cup frozen low-fat chocolate yogurt
Total Food Group Servings:
Grains – 6 equivalents
Vegetable - 5 servings
Fruit - 4 servings
Meat – 5 ½ equivalents
Milk - 3 cups
Fat - 4 servings
Eating On The Go
There's no great harm in eating foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium and low in nutrients once in a while. Many foods eaten on the go, however, are in that category. It's not uncommon for as many as half of the day's diet to be foods eaten on the go. Look for foods that offer moderate-to-high levels of vitamins, minerals or fiber. To do this, try to find foods that will help you meet the USDA Food Guide’s recommended number of servings from the food groups. Look for foods that are moderate to low in fat, sugar and sodium.
Here are some tips to help you make better on-the-go choices:
There are six food groups and one subgroup in the USDA Food Guide:
No one food group is more important than another. There are no good foods or bad foods. It is important to balance the high-fat or high-sugar foods with low-fat or low-sugar foods over a period of one or two days.