Do You See the Fat in Your Meals and Snacks?

Do You See the Fat in Your Meals and Snacks?

Most people are concerned about the calorie content of the food they eat, but don’t bother to look at the fat content. This is a mistake because fat grams have the same importance as calories and many foods have surprisingly high fat content that you might not be aware of.

Everyone who loves to eat pizza, cheeseburgers and French fries know for sure that these food items have a high fat content. But if someone tells you that certain healthy vegetables and fish are high in fat, how would you respond? Fat is important to good nutrition. Some fats are good, but some are bad, so we should take time to evaluate our meals not only in terms of calorie content but also fat content.

How Much Fat Is Enough?

There is a recommended amount of fat per day that a person should eat. We need to make sure that we get just the right amount from our meals.

Anne Wolf, RC from the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine states that the fat calories from our meals should not exceed 30 percent of our total daily calorie intake. So for a daily intake of 2,000 calories, less than 65 grams of fat is allowed. The problem is we are consuming more fat than what we should.

Good and Bad Fats

What is considered bad fats include the saturated fats and trans fats. These fats are associated with health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The good fats are the unsaturated fats. They actually help protect the body from some of the aforementioned health issues. But it doesn’t mean that there’s no limit to the intake of such fats. Anything in excess is not good and can contribute to weight gain.

Remember this advice — the fat content in your meals should mostly be unsaturated fats, no trans fat and less than 20 grams saturated fats is the limit.

How Much Fat Are You Eating?

As you look at the list of foods below, think about the foods you frequently eat. Check their fat content so you would know just how much fat you’re eating.

  • Average hamburger: 36 grams of fat
  • Average fish fillet sandwich: 24 grams of fat
  • 10 French fries: 8 grams of fat
  • 1 oz potato chips: 10 grams of fat
  • 1 slice of cheese pizza: 8 grams of fat
  • 1 hotdog: 14 grams of fat
  • 3 slices of bacon: 10 grams of fat
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese: 8 grams of fat
  • 1 cup whole milk: 7 grams of fat
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter: 14 grams of fat
  • 1 teaspoon of margarine or butter: 4 grams of fat
  • 1 serving of bagel, bread, and cereals: 1 gram of fat

Looking at the amount of fat, it doesn’t appear to be a lot. But when you consider the amount of food for that amount of fat, you will now begin to think seriously. People don’t usually eat just 1 slice of pizza or 1 ounce of potato chips. They eat more and, therefore, consume more fats in the process. So, the next time you buy pizza, fries and burgers, think again.

The Hidden Fat in Your Food

Now, here’s the list of surprisingly high-fat foods. It’s time to realize that these are packed with hidden fats, so eat with care.

  • Popcorn from the movie theater
  • Packed meals which are saucy, buttery or oily
  • Marbled red meat, such as lamb and beef. The white marbling represents all the fat
  • Chicken and poultry that are eaten with the skin
  • Salad dressings

Packed snack foods and meals are very good at hiding fats. But be warned because the fats they contain are most often the dangerous trans fats. Trans fats help lengthen the shelf life of packaged foods, but they are unhealthy and can cause heart problems and increased cholesterol levels. If you see partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening listed among the ingredients on the package, avoid the item because that is with trans fats.

Now, let’s talk about something that is to be desired – olive oils and vegetable oils. These are high-fat products, but they contain good, unsaturated fats. Other foods included in this group are nuts, avocados and fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.

It’s very easy to exceed the limit for daily fat allowance because many of the foods we commonly eat are high in fat content. It is our responsibility to be more vigilant of our fat intake if we want to live a longer, healthier life. Let’s include choosing healthy fats as a part of our food habit. Avoid the saturated and trans fats and have only the unsaturated fats in our diet.

Photo credits: Next TwentyEight via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Categories: Nutrition

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