Feature Articles: Weight Control
The Skinny on Fat
By Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD,
In the past few years, many people have restricted carbohydrates to lose weight. The main thing to remember for weight control is that calories are what really count.
Saturated fat contributes to higher cholesterol levels which puts us at risk for cardiovascular disease.
It takes 3,500 unused calories to add up to one pound of
weight gain. Protein and carbohydrates provide four calories per
gram of food but fat provides nine calories per gram of food.
Fat calories can add up fast!
Fat should make up 30% or less of our total calories. The
Daily Value for fat, based on a 2,000 calorie diet is 65 grams
per day. People needing more or less calories can adjust
accordingly. Saturated fat should make up 10% or less of fat
calories. A person consuming 65 grams of fat per day should
consume 6.5 or less grams of saturated fat.
Saturated fat is most restricted because it contributes to
higher cholesterol levels which puts us at risk for
cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat is hard at room
temperature. Examples of saturated fat include the fat you can
see in meat, butter, palm oil and coconut oil. The food label
must list the amount of saturated fat per serving making it easy
to track for yourself.
Polyunsaturated fat is considered the “neutral” fat. While
saturated fat increases cholesterol levels, polyunsaturated fat
decreases cholesterol levels. It helps decrease both the HDL or
“good” cholesterol as well as the LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Some
examples of polyunsaturated fats include soy, safflower and corn
Monounsaturated fats are the most healthy choice in the fat
category. They help lower the bad cholesterol but do not lower
the good cholesterol. Some examples of monounsaturated fats
include olive, canola and peanut oils.
Sixty five grams of fat can add up fast. One tablespoon of
canola oil has 14 grams of fat, one tablespoon of peanut butter
has 17 grams of fat, one tablespoon of butter has 11 grams of
fat, a three ounce hamburger patty has 18 grams of fat.
Balance, variety and moderation is the bottom line for healthful eating! Choose fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day; choose lowfat meat and dairy products; choose monounsaturated fat more often than the other types. All of these choices will contribute to a healthy lifestyle for you.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009