You’ve all heard the advice, “cut down sugars and sodium and trim the fat”. You say: I know sugar when I see it”, but do you know you’re eating sugar when any of these ingredients appear on the food label?
corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, honey, molasses, syrup, lactose, mannitol
Any of the following ingredients indicate the food product contains sodium:
salt, baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, sodium nitrate, sodium saccharin, bouillon, meat tenderizer, and any of the flavored salts such as onion, garlic, celery.
Fats in food have received a great deal of press. “What are the good fats and the bad fats” we want to know. What about saturated and unsaturated fat? Very confusing.
Fat in food is composed of two major types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further classified as either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Foods contain combinations of the three types of fat. However, most foods contain a majority of one type.
Here is a list of saturated fats, which are said to be the least heart healthy as they raise the blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet:
lard, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, poultry fat, bacon fat and other meat fat.
Polyunsaturated oils are: safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil.
Monounsaturated fats include: canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil.
I like to reduce or eliminate my intake of nearly all vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, sesame oil, soybean oil, and related products such as margarine and vegetable shortening.
The two best oils I believe are high-quality virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Although coconut oil is a saturated oil, I feel it’s good points of being derived from a healthful food, helping regulate blood sugar, causing the body to burn up more calories, and its stability under high heat tend to outweigh its saturation concerns.
Avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. This means that the oil has been heated to such a high temperature that the structure of the molecules have been changed to make it more stable at room temperature. This, however, makes it more harmful for the body.
Despite all the criticism of fat, it is an important nutrient and serves important functions in the body. It is a source of energy, helps protect important body organs and is necessary for growth and body maintenance.
Diets in our country are high in animal products, fat, salt and sugar and low in vegetables, fruits and fiber. Cutting down, or eliminating the big three: sugar, sodium and fats - is a real challenge. It is worth the effort because our health depends on it.
To your good health and that of your family’s,
Health and Nutrition Advocate