Sooner or later, most of us gets to a point in our lives where food is as much about health as it is about flavor. Our first reaction to this reality is usually anxiety over every single dish that's placed in front of us. This article is designed to take some of the mystery out of the low fat diet, so, while we're healing our bodies, we don't wreck our minds with worry. While some fats should be significantly reduced, others should be increased, creating a diet that balances fats. We do this by eating a variety of foods from various food groups which range from non-fat to low fat to high concentrations of good fats.
Contrary to the beliefs of some, a non-fat diet can be very harmful. Some fats are necessary for bodily processes and the lack of them can cause serious diseases. The healthy range of dietary fat is 10-40%, with 20-30% being optimum. 20% fat means that 20% of the calories in your diet come from fats. Since fats have twice as many calories as proteins or carbohydrates, reducing fat is the easiest way to plan a weight loss diet. The real balancing act comes in when we consider what types of fats we want to eat and what to avoid.
Avoiding Cholesterol, Trans-Fats & Saturated Fats: Cholesterol used to be the fat monster that would kill you, so you had to avoid it at all cost. Later research discovered we were throwing out the baby with the bath water, because some cholesterols (HDL) were, in fact, good for us, helping to fight the bad ones (LDL & VLDL) and prevent the very diseases we thought total cholesterol was causing. To further complicate things, diet and exercise alone didn't help some people, like me, whose bodies actually manufactured cholesterol to make up for the deficiency. A great many drugs have been developed for us so we can regulate the cholesterol our bodies produce. Saturated fats are still villains in the health world, and should be avoided as much as possible.
The best way to reduce cholesterol and saturated fats is to reduce your consumption of animal products; beef, pork, lamb, milk, cheese, eggs, Ice cream, etc. We use low (1%) fat milk. Sometimes we have to settle for 2% low fat milk and it tastes so rich we don't like it as much. Low fat can become a habit. Skinless poultry breasts, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses are low fat animal products. We've found ground turkey breast is a great substitute for ground beef in all our recipes. If you want a redder color, add paprika.
Trans-fats were the healthy choice when we were avoiding cholesterol, but now we've learned they are harmful, too. Margarine and many processed foods contain high levels of trans-fats. I still use a trans-fat margarine because I don't feel we eat enough of it to worry about. Remember, we're talking balance...not extremism.
Non-Fat Food Groups: Probably the best way to reduce the fats in our diets is to add non-fat foods. These include all fruits and most vegetables. Those high in fats, like avocados, usually have fats that are good for us in small quantities, so, add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Good Fat Foods: Because some fats actually help our bodies fight cancers and heart diseases, it's good to add foods high in these fats to our diets. For cooking oils and shortening, it's best to use those based on canola oil or omega 3. In fact, omega 3 oils are so good for us, many use nutritional supplements. All fish have good amounts of Omega 3 oils. Salmon and other deep-water fish have especially high concentrations of omega 3's. We should make sure these foods are a regular part of our diets.
To determine if a packaged food is actually low in fat, first, note the serving size. All the other amounts on the label are based on that amount, not the whole package. Two other items on the label you need to analyze are..."calories" and "calories from fat." With a pocket calculator (or cell phone) divide the smaller number by the larger. This should result in a number that looks like "0.25xx." The first two digits after the decimal point is the percentage of calories from fat, or 25% in this example. Finally, though you don't need to analyze the numbers, it's good to look at the saturated fat and trans-fat content...if these seem to be most of the fat, you might want to pass on the the product.
Once we get in the habit of eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating fish, and reading the labels of all packaged foods, we discover a low fat diet plan is not that difficult. We don't need to be nutritionists, vegetarians or health nuts to get the excess fat out of our diets. We don't even need to sacrifice tasty and convenient foods. All we need is a desire to develop a few new habits and stick to them.
A Healthy Life: Usually, we're seeking something more than just a balanced diet when we choose to eat right. We want a healthy life...not just a meal. Such a life requires balance in mind, body and spirit. You can get help to achieve this balance by the One who designed us...God. If you want His help to have a healthy life, visit Healing From God.
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Buying Low Fat Foods
Calories In Food List
Dangers Of Trans Fat
In Defense Of Food
List Of High Fiber Foods
Low Fat High Flavor Tips
Low Fat Restaurant Food
Low Sodium Foods
Minerals Good For Body
Vitamin Benefits List
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