More than 10,000 members of the American Dietetic Association recently convened in Boston for their annual meeting. A highlight was “The Great Fat Debate.” While most of us left the debate more confused that when we entered, some of the key points were:
• In terms of body weight, we need to pay attention to total calorie intake, and not grams of fat. That is, “eat fat and get fat” is not true. The true statement is, “eat excess calories and get fat.”
• Pay attention to the kind of fat you eat, and choose more fish and plant fats, such as in salmon, nuts, peanut butter (and other nut butters), olive oil, and avocado. These poly- and mono-unsaturated fats are beneficial to our health. Dip your bread in olive oil, instead of spreading it with butter!
• “Low fat” foods (such as fat-free frozen yogurt and lowfat cookies, muffins and other baked goods) can a negative impact on American’s health because they are often high in sugar and refined carbs. People tend to fantasize that lowfat means low calorie, and low calorie means you can eat as much as you want!!!!! Not true. Calories count.
The bottom line:
Limit your intake of fats that are hard at room temperature (butter, beef fat, shortening used in baked goods) and choose more of the fats that are soft or liquid at room temperature: olive and canola oil, fish-fat, avocado.
One reason why restaurant foods can taste soooo good is they have a high fat content. Fat—butter, olive oil, beef lard—adds both flavor as well as a nice texture to foods. French fries, chocolate chip cookies, Fettuccine Alfredo‑these all have an appealing taste and texture, thanks to their high fat content.
The trouble is, excess calories of fat can very easily turn into undesired body fat. Yet, you can enjoy an occasional temptation without it becoming a dietary disaster. The trick is to balance the rest of the day’s meals with lower fat and lower calorie choices.
You also might want to first visit the tempting food’s website to learn the nutrition facts. Calorie and fat info might ruin your appetite! For example, did you know…
• A Cinnabon has 880 calories, of which more than a third are from fat (36 grams fat).
• A Big Mac has 540 calories, of which almost half are from fat.
• A Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza has 610 calories, of which 43% are from fat (26 grams fat).
• A Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookie has 210 calories, of which 43% are from fat (10 grams fat).
• One slice of a Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake has 710 calories. My guess is more than half the calories are from fat. Their website nutrition information lists fat data as “not available.” Perhaps it is too scary to post!
If you are hankering for high fat food, the smarter choice is to indulge in healthful fats from nuts, peanut butter, salmon, avocado and olive oil. How about peanut butter on a banana?