The USDA Food Pyramid suggests we consume fats and sugars in moderation. That makes sense, given that overeating fats or sugars can cause a wide-range of complications. The problem with “moderation” is that most people don’t know how to break down what is in their food properly. You may think you’re eating something that is low in fat or doesn’t have much sugar. You could be wrong. Some items seem like they are good for you, but only turn out to cause problems in the long run. An example of this is low-fat yogurt. Although it claims to be low-fat yogurt, there is still more sugar than you think. Therefore you have to carefully read the label to determine if this low-fat yogurt is health-conscious. Fruit juice is also high in sugar content, yet counts as a serving of fruits. Many people are quick to pour themselves a glass of the delicious beverage without much thought to the sugars added. Food items that are high in fat are also surprisingly hidden among the “healthy” alternatives. Muffins, for example, are high in sugar and fat. That means they aren’t a perfect breakfast alternative. Unfortunately, pizza is also on the list of “excessive fats.” Bummer.
Choosing to limit your sugar and fat intake doesn’t mean cutting out everything that’s bad for you. Apparently, it’s impossible to live a fat-free and sugarless lifestyle. Many food items have natural sugars and fats in them. A healthier lifestyle just means you’re more conscious of the fat and sugar intake of your daily diet. If you notice a pattern of high fat or sugar, you can only adjust your diet to reduce the amounts you’re ingesting.
Benefits of Reducing Sugars & Fats
- Less risk of tooth decay
- Less risk of heart attacks or other heart-related complications
- Less risk of developing diabetes
- Lower blood pressure
- Maintaining a healthier weight
- More energy
Understanding A “Serving”
One of the ways you can be conscious of your fat and sugar content is knowing how to calculate your servings. There’s no right or wrong amount as each person lives a unique lifestyle. The amount you had have depends on how active you are and the types of other food you’re also eating. The typical recommendation for daily fat is around 50-75 grams. For sugar, it is about 25 grams.
To help you better understand your eating choices, let’s look at the food pyramid concerning sugar and fat:
- Dairy products are high in both sugar & fat.
- Meat is also high in fat but contains very little sugar.
- Fruits provide little to no fat content but are often high in sugar. Vegetables are usually higher in fats but don’t have a lot of sugar added.
- Finally, we arrive at the grains category. Grains have both sugars and fats. However, there isn’t a “high” content of either.
Here are a few recipes that will help you to reduce the fats and sugars in your current diet:
- Grilled Chicken Sandwiches (http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/grilled-chicken-sandwiches)
- Sage and Cream Turkey Fettuccine (http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/recipe/turkey/sage-and-cream-turkey-fettuccine)
- Basil-Tomato Chicken Skillet (http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/recipe/chicken/basil-tomato-chicken-skillet)
- Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya (http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/259845/chicken-and-shrimp-jambalaya/)
- Green Garden Minestrone (http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/recipe/stews/green-garden-minestrone)
Remember: Dressing and most flavor additives are commonly high in sugars and fats! You want to try to steer towards vinaigrettes and oil-based sauces.
Of course, this is just a guideline to follow along with it helps you to make more informed decisions about your diet and choose healthy alternatives whenever possible. Remember that it’s best to steer clear of many sugars & fats and always select the low-fat option.