Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Improving your Metabolism

One of the most effective strategies for losing fat:
If you look closely on the food label, you can find the information you need to determine the percentage of calories from fat in a specific food product. Knowing this is actually far more important than simply knowing the number of grams of fat in the food product. Just as you want less than 25 percent of your total daily calories to be from fat, you also want to try to eat foods that get less than 25 percent of their total calories from fat. Because a food product has a low number of fat grams, it is not necessarily a low-fat, healthy food.

Take, for example, a reduced-fat whipping cream. Many people assume that since this product only has 1.5 grams of fat per serving, for example, that it is a healthy dessert topping (often justifying double or triple the amount on their dessert). However, this product contains actually 45 percent fat. On the other hand, a common nutrition bar has 5 grams of fat per serving. Many dieters would not touch this product for fear of so much fat, when in actuality, this prodcut contains only 12 percent fat. How can a food that only has 1.5 grams of fat per serving have a higher percentage of fat calories than a product that contains 5 grams of fat?

It is quite simple: The whipped topping only contains 30 calories per serving whereas the nutrition bar, in this example, contains 38o. The nutrition bar is packed with protein and carbohydrates, giving the product a lot more nutritious food value and more calories. Since the whipped topping only contains 30 clories, it has very little nutritional value and quite a bit of fat relative to the total volume of food and calories. So, when checking labels, be sure to figure out the percentage of fat calories in addition to the number of fat grams.

To determine the percentage of calories from fat of a food product, look for two important numbers: calories per serving and total grams of fat per serving. Since you want to know what percentage of the total calories are fat calories, you must first convert the grams of fat into calories. Remember, there are 9 calories per gram of fat. Therefore, to calculate the fat percentage of the food:
a. Multiply the number of grams of fat by the number 9 (there are 9 calories per gram of fat).
b. Divide this number by the total calories per serving.
c. The result is the percentage of fat calories (should be less than 25%).

And you're right, in addition to having a clear understanding of a product's nutrition label, you should also understand exactly what the difference health claims on products mean. The following is a list of health claims that are often misinterpreted by consumers:

Free: Example: "fat-free." This means that the food product has so little of the nutrient in it that it would not even show up on your dietary screen (usually > .5 gram/serving).

Low: Example: "low-calorie" or "low-fat." This means that the food product does not have much of a certain nutrient, but it has enough to make a difference in you diet. Specifically, low-fat means 3 grams or less of total fat, "low-saturated fat" means one gram or less; "low-cholesterol" means less than 20 milligrams; and "low-calorie" means 40 calories of fewer per serving.

Lean: This term refers to meat. "Lean" means one serving has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

Extra lean: This term also refers to meat. This means that one serving has less than 5 grams of total fat and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Less: This means there is 25 percent less of a certainingredient or nutrient as compared to a similar product.

Reduced: This means the product was nutritionally altered to meet a health claim.

Shopping for low-fat, healthy food products and ingredients is absolutely critical to the success of your weight management program. When you come home from a hard day's work, the very last thing you'll want to do is slave over the stove coooking and preparing a healthy meal. You must develop a plan each week and have foods that are healthy and easy to put together in ten minutes or less. So, it's good that you're making an effort to understand labels and health claims better.


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