Buying Low Fat Foods

by Glen D. Williams - Date: 2007-02-03 - Word Count: 754 Share This!

For various reasons, many of us are choosing to lower the fat in our diets. This desire to be more healthy makes the supermarket a new and scary place, where we have to investigate health claims on packages and ignore tempting ready-to-eat counters unless they offer nutrition labels for their hot foods. With a little practice, you'll discover that balancing the fat in your diet is easy. This article will help you make the right choices to add low fat food to your regular menu.

Why Buy Low Fat Foods? Since a lot of flavors we enjoy are contained in the fats, what would get us to change? It's a good question that far too many ask too late in life, after their medical condition forces the choice. After we're ill, the choices are usually "eat cardboard" or "die." That's no way to live! If we're willing to exercise a little self-control before we're ill, we can have the flavorful foods we want and still lower our fats to reduce chances of heart attack, cancer, stroke, kidney failure and other problems associated with too high a fat intake. As an added benefit, because fats have twice the calories as proteins and carbohydrates, reducing the fats in our diets is a great way to lose weight without dieting. We just have to take a few simple steps to get started.

Not Buying Low Fat Claims: The first simple step to buy low fat foods is to ignore the health claims on packages in the supermarket. Ever seen the claim, "all natural?" This is often used to get you to think you're buying healthy food. Consider that fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt are all 100% natural, and you can see what good that claim really is. "Lower Fat" is another popular package claim that bears suspicion. How much lower? Lower than what...pure lard? Of course, the words healthy, wholesome, nature, goodness, pure are all used to imply, but not commit to the health value of the product. Fortunately, thanks to the Government, there are ways to actually determine if a product is low-fat...enter the nutrition label.

Fat And The Nutrition Label: This is the easiest way to determine if a packaged food is actually low in fat. Now, bear with me a bit, because these can be deceptive, too. First, note the serving size. All the other amounts on the label are based on that amount, not the whole package. If you're only managing your fat intake, there are only two other items on the label you need to look at. You can ignore that whole table of amounts and Daily Value (DV). Look, the label can break fats down into a dozen or more categories, but I believe if we keep this thing simple we might actually do it. Instead of that stuff, look at "calories" and "calories from fat." With a pocket calculator (or cell phone) divide the smaller number by the larger. This should result in a number that looks like "0.35xx." The first two digits after the decimal point is the percentage of calories from fat, or 35% in this example. Depending on who you listen to, to be healthy, your menu should contain around 30% fat. Don't freak out on me, now! This doesn't mean you can't have anything over's a balancing act.

Balancing The Fat In Your Diet: The way to get to a 30% fat diet and still enjoy the flavor of those foods with a little higher fat is to balance the things you eat. If you eat only pre-packaged, prepared foods, your choices will be limited to those packages that actually have around 30% fat, but this includes many very good choices. I use several tasty frozen entrees for convenience and have no trouble staying between 20% and 30% fat. But, what if you cook your own do you know how much fat you're getting? This is where a list of low fat foods can come in handy. You can balance out the higher fat foods (bottom of list) with the lower fat foods (top of list) to come up with an acceptable amount of fat in your diet. That's really all there is to balancing the fats in your daily diet.

So, there you have it! The tools to avoid the false health claims, read the nutrition label and balance the fat in your whole diet. You have power to make the right choices in the supermarket so you'll make the right choices at home. So, let's get started!

Related Tags: nutrition, diet, diets, balance, weight, medical, healthy, eat, buying, lose, menu, low fat foods

Glen Williams is Webmaster for, founder and CEO of EHF, Inc. He has done extensive research on personal and family health and fitness issues and has been helping and advising people on health since 1987. You can comment on his articles at Health And Fitness Forums.

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