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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Food and Calories - Do You Really Know How Much Calories You are Consuming?

A large percentage of people in the U.S. are concerned about their present weight and have been doing all they can to address this issue. However,they do not have sufficient knowledge about food and calories. They believe they are doing everything that's right, yet they still do not have a slight clue as to the number of calories each of the major food group contains per gram. Having neither this information nor the assistance of a trained person, makes it even more difficult or rather impossible for them to calculate the total amount of calories they have been consuming each meal.

The three main food groups are Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate. Fat contain 9 calories per gram; Protein and Carbohydrate each contains 4 calories per gram. Because some people often tend to have a glass or two of alcoholic beverages during or after meal or even at some other point during the day,it is also important for them to know that each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. Please be careful - looking at just the total grams that each group of food contains can be a bit misleading!

Calculating Calories
Total Calories
Example
An individual eats a meal containing 140g(grams)of carbohydrate,80g of fat and 50 grams of protein. To calculate the total calories consumed from this meal, the individual may instead calculates the total grams of food consumed which is 270(i.e.140+80+50). Please note that he/she only has only accounted for the total amount of grams or weight of this meal, but have not calculated the overall amount of calories the body has obtained from this meal.

In the case above,560 (i.e.140x4)calories are from carbohydrates,720 (80x9)calories from fat,and 200 (i.e.50x4)calories from protein. This adds up to a total of 1480 calories (i.e.560+720+200). This is the correct method to manually calculate the total overall amount of calories obtained from this hypothetical meal above.

Total Percentage Calories
Using this same scenario above,the total percentage of this meal in the form of fat is(80/270x100)grams. For simplification,this is the total grams of fat divided by the total overall grams of protein,fat and carbohydrates all combined, multiply by one hundred, which is equal to
29.6%.

What percentage of this total gram of food is in the form of protein? (50/270x100)which is equal to 18.5%.

The percentage of carbohydrate is(140/270x100),which is equal to
51.9%

As you can see the entire meal represents 100%. Fat is 29.6%; Protein is 18.5% and carbohydrate which accounts for 51.9% - is a little over half of the entire
meal.(29.6% + 18.5% + 51.9%)= 100%
Conclusion
When it comes to food and calories,it's important that we know the total amount of calories per gram each food item contains,and also the dietary guidelines for Americans. Without this knowledge we are faced with the risk of becoming overweight, underweight or unhealthy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Healthy Eating - Tips For Reading Food Labels


When it comes to healthy eating, two of the biggest problems for most Americans are the inability to correctly read food labels,and not knowing what counts as one serving when choosing food to eat from each the five major food group.

According to American Dietetic Association,when Reading Food Labels you should look for the following:
1.Serving Size: It is very important to bear in mind that all the information listed on a food label in regards to calories and nutrients,is just for one serving of that food. Therefore, if you should consume more than one serving of that food,the calories and nutrients obtained will be more.

2.Calories:
When choosing food,choose wisely. Select food items that will provide you with all the nutrients you need without exceeding your daily caloric goal. Excess calories often leads to weight gain.

3.Total Fat,Saturated Fat,and Trans Fat:

-Consider choosing foods that contain less than 5grams(g)of total fat per serving. For an individual who needs to consume 2,000 calories per day,fifty to seventy-five g/dly is considered a good range. Try to select foods that contain fats that are healthy for the heart(i.e monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

-You should choose foods that contain less than 3g per serving of saturated fat and trans fat,as they are both considered unhealthy for the heart. An individual should not consume no more than 15grams of saturated fat and trans fat(combined)within a single day, if he/she need to eat 2,000 calories daily.

-Carefully review ingredients. For example, if a food contains partially hydrogenated oils,then it contains trans fat.(the label may still say trans fat-free,if it contains less than half a gram per serving.)

4.Sodium: Choose foods that are low in sodium. Your sodium intake should be less than 2,400mg/dly,(or eat no more than the amount ordered by your health care provider).

5.Total Carbohydrates and Sugars: Choose foods that contain less than 30g total carbohydrate and less than 15g sugars per serving,if you have high triglycerides.

6.Dietary Fiber:
-Your daily target should be 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber. This goal can be achieved by including foods with at least 5g of fiber per serving.