Eat for life not live to eat
January 7, 1999
Today people everywhere are more aware of the importance of maintaining a healthful lifestyle. In addition to proper exercise, this includes eating foods that are lower in fat, sodium and cholesterol. Eating well is a matter of making smarter choices about the foods we eat. The Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of Health and Human Services have developed a food guide Pyramid to illustrate how easy it is to eat a healthier diet. It is not a rigid description, but rather a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that's right for your. It calls for eating a wide variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and, at the same time, the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight.
The number of servings, and thus, the number of calories a person can eat daily, is determined by a number of factors, (i.e. age, weight, height, activity level and gender). Sedentary women and some older adults need about 1600 calories daily. For most children, teenage girls, and active women and may sedentary men, 2000 calories is about right. Teenage boys, active men and some very active women use about 2800 calories daily.
Most Americans' diets are too high in fat. Studies have shown that eating more than the recommended amount of fat (especially saturated fat) is associated with increased blood cholesterol in some adults. A high blood cholesterol level is associated with increased risk for heart disease. A high fat diet may also increase chances for obesity and some types of cancer. Nutrition experts recommend diets that contain 30 % or less of total daily calories from fat. This goal apples to a total diet over time, not a single food, serving a recipe or meal.
To help you find the approximate percentage of calories from fat you can use the following easy 3-step process:
1. Multiply the grams of fat per serving by 9 (there are 9 calories in each gram of fat), to give you the number of calories from fat per serving.
2. Divide by the total number of calories per serving.
3. Multiply by 100%.
If you find all this math tiresome, an easier way to keep track of the fat in your diet is to calculate the total grams of fat appropriate to your caloric intake, then keep a running count of fat grams over the course of a day.
At first doing this is very hard but in the long run you will find that it isn't a diet or depriving yourself of anything, but in fact is helping you to eat to live not live to eat. Enjoy what may be the start of a wonderful healthy new life style that will bring many reward to you and those that you love.