Do you pay attention towards every calorie and crumb that you eat in the day but let the fat content go unnoticed? If yes it’s time to understand all about fat content and take it into consideration too. Not to forget, fats are as important as all the other nutrients that you consume every day.
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Greasy burgers, French fries and pizza, are all well known for their fat content and hence it’s no surprise when someone tells you that these are loaded with fat. But what you may not know is that many things that you perceive as low fat, may actually be just the opposite. These even include some vegetables and fish. One thing that we need to keep in mind, is that fat is an important component of our diet and not every fat is bad. What matters is that we closely evaluate the amount of fat that we consume day in and day out as well as the type of fat.
How much fat should you be consuming?
It is important to closely monitor the amount of fat grams that you have been consuming daily and to keep a tab on the right amounts of healthy fats. The daily recommendation of fat is no more than 20-30% of the daily diet. If you are consuming a 2000kcal diet, then you should probably be eating less than 65 gm of fat each day. However, it is easy to consume more than the required amounts of fats on a daily basis, especially in the case of invisible fats.
There are typically 2 types of fats which are commonly known as good or bad fats. Trans fats are evil as they are known to lead to a number of heart problems and other ailments. Some saturated fats are important, like ghee, but in limited quantities. On the other hand, unsaturated fats i.e MUFA and PUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids) are known to protect against heart diseases and obesity. However, that does not mean we eat them limitlessly. Unsaturated fats too need to be eaten in specific amounts because too much of any fat can have adverse effects on one’s health.
When taking note of the fat content, make sure that most of your fat intake comes in the form of unsaturated fatty acids and less than 20 gm comes from saturated and hardly any from trans fats (zero, if possible).
So, what is the fat content of the foods typically consumed by you?
Here is a quick glimpse of how much fat some of your favourite foods typically contain:
1. A hamburger: 36 gm
2. A fish sandwich: 24 gm
3. 10 French fries: 8 gm
4. One ounce of potato chips: 10 gm
5. One slice of cheese pizza: 8 gm
6. Three slices of cooked bacon: 10 gm
7. One ounce cheddar cheese: 8 gm
8. One cup whole milk: 7 gm
9. Two tablespoons of peanut butter: 14 gm
10. One teaspoon of butter or margarine: 4 gm
11. One serving of most breads, bagels, and cereals: about 1 gm
While the fat content of some of the foods might not look very high to you but it’s important to keep an eye on how much quantity of each have you been consuming. When was the last time you opted for just 10 French fries? Or 1 slice of pizza and 1 ounce of potato chips? So, think again before you indulge in junk food the next time.
Invisible fats in food we all love eating
While we might be aware of the fat content of most of the foods but there are a bunch of other foods that tend to contain loads of hidden fats.
1. Movie theater popcorn (because of the way it’s processed, addition of butter, cheese and sugar)
2. Packaged meals with added sauces, butter, oil and salt
3. Chicken and other poultry if consumed with the skin
4. Packaged salad dressings (usually very high in fat content)
5. Highly marbled meats like red meat, lamb and pork (The white marbling is a thick layer of fat, easily seen in a slice of bacon)
However, it is important to realize that packaged snack foods and meals are the biggest sources of hidden fats. These foods contain high levels of trans fats which are listed as partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortenings (read the ingredients’ label carefully), which are responsible for the longer shelf life of these foods. Trans fats can act like demons as they have been linked to various health problems like high cholesterol and heart diseases. Hence, the consumption of these fats need to be restricted as much as possible.
Given the fat content of these commonly eaten food items, if you are not careful you might easily exceed the daily limits. Hence it’s important to include good fats i.e unsaturated fats in your diet, limit saturated and eliminate trans fats. Take care of your health and your heart and waistline will say a big thank you to you some day.
About the Author:
Huda Shaikh is a Mumbai based clinical nutritionist and dietician. She has done Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from Dr. B.M.N College of Homescience, which is affiliated to the S.N.D.T University. She believes that it is important to eat well and exercise in order to have a healthy body and has helped people suffering from various ailments. A passionate cook, Huda has developed many healthy recipes thanks to her love for cooking.
The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.