Fats, Sugar and Salt

February 28, 2013

The massive amount of salts, sugars and fats in our diet has taken over health news this week, and it's about time!  Consumption of salty, sugary and fatty foods has skyrocketed in the United States. We now consume more than  three times the amount of cheese than in the 1970's -- 33 pounds of cheese per year, along with 70 pounds of sugar and six pounds of salt!  Journalist Michael Moss' new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked investigates how food scientists design foods to specifically target our "bliss point" of sugar, salt and fat when creating new food products, and the damage that diets with an overabundance of processed food has caused to  our national health. As shocking as this information may seem, Moss' work follows the 1990 work of the  past commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, David Kessler. In his book The End of Overeating, Kesslert presents strong arguments that extremely high levels of salt, fat, and sugar in the American diet  thus encourage us to overeat by stimulating the pleasure areas of our brains. Reducing fats, sugar and salt in our diets is made more difficult by the ease of access to processed foods and busy schedules, but it's vital to make the change to ensure a long, healthy life.  A few rules to keep in mind are: Reduce Fat Intake
  • Eat less cholesterol by limiting egg yolks to 4 per week and reduce meat and poultry a to maximum of 6 ounces a day
  • Reduce saturated fat intake of red meat, dairy products and saturated cooking oils
  • Eat less trans fat found in stick margarine and shortening
  • Limit total fat intake to less  than 30% of total daily calories
Reduce salt intake
  • Eat less canned and dried soups, fast foods, prepared meals, processed meats
  • Keep away from canned sauces and vegetables, look for low-sodium labels.
Reduce sugar intake
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, multigrain breads, and cereals
  • Eat at least 20-35 grams/day of dietary fiber from a wide variety of foods.
  • Experiment with recipes by gradually reducing the amount of sugar by 1/4th then l/3rd then 1/2.
  • Use sweet spices—cinnamon cloves ginger or nutmeg—to bring out sweetness in baked goods.
Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. Regular exercise improves control of blood sugar and is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.A
  • Always read the food labels for fat, sugar, and salt, and eat fresh foods rather than processed whenever possible.
  • Choose healthy snacks for your munchie attacks!
Americans eat 1.2 billion pounds of the worst dietary offender -- potato chip! The salt, the fat and high sugar content in the form of starch in potato chips create an immediate sense of pleasure, and it's true — you can't eat just one! So next time you reach for a chip, remember, a daily 1-ounce serving  of about 15 chips contains about 160 calories and cause approximately 1.70 pounds of weight gain every 4 years. So, drop the chips and grab a piece of fruit!  

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