Fat Grams & Carbohydrates: Correct Amounts of Fat and Carbohydrates for Proper Health & Nutrition

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Understanding Fat

To understand why you need to include fat into your diet, you must know more information about it. Fat is present in most foods in the form of a triglyceride. A triglyceride is a combination of three fatty acids and glycerol. But not all fats are bad. There are three different types of fat: unsaturated, saturated and transaturated. Unsaturated fat is the most healthy of the three. The two types of unsaturated fat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated raises your good HDL cholesterol and lowers your bad LDL cholesterol. It also helps protect fat from building up in the arteries and prevents belly fat. Monounsaturated fat can be found in olive oil, olives, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fat lowers LDL cholesterol and contains essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps boost brain function, strengthens the immune system, and increases good moods. Omega-6 fatty acids keep your skin and eyes healthy. Salmon, mackerel, herring, flaxseed, walnuts, and tofu are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can find omega-6 fatty acids in corn-fed chicken and beef and farm raised fish. Be aware that consuming high amounts of foods with omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation. Saturated and transaturated fats are the two to stay away from. Saturated fats will increase your cholesterol level and increase your risk for heart disease. Saturated fat is found in meats, poultry, and dairy products such as butter and whole milk. Transaturated fat is used in foods to prolong packaged foods shelf life. It will increase your bad LDL cholesterol and decrease your good HDL cholesterol. Transaturated fat 100% promotes heart disease and can increase inflammation throughout the body. This type of fat is found in margarine, dough-nuts, French fries, and other processed foods.

Understanding Carbohydrates

A carbohydrate is present in any foods containing a starch, sugars, celluloses, and gums. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the body, therefore, important to include in your diet. The two types of carbohydrates includes simple and complex. A simple carbohydrate with a single sugar unit is called a monosaccharide. Glucose, fructose, and galactose are monosaccharides found in fruits, vegetables, and milk. When a simple carbohydrate is made up of two sugar units it is called a disaccharide. Disaccharides include sucrose and lactose which are found in table sugar and milk. Maltose is also a disaccharide that is used in cereal grain germination, but is the least common. A complex carbohydrate is made up from a single sugar unit or pairs of single sugar units. A polysaccarid is a complex carbohydrate found in starch, fiber, glycogen and dextrin. This type of carbohydrate is less soluble and more stable but can be broken down and turned into glucose and used for energy.

What Should Your Daily Fat Intake Be?

Depending on your daily activity, 10 - 30 percent of your daily food intake should be fat. For a man this is about 30 - 80 grams of fat and for a woman is 20 - 60 grams. When choosing what fats to include in your diet look for foods that are low in saturated fat and have no trans fat. Learn to read your labels and to include foods such as fish, chicken, and nuts which are unsaturated fats. You can includes some saturated fats but it needs to be less than 10% of your daily intake. Try to stay away from trans fats completely.

What Should Your Daily Carbohydrate Intake Be?

The key to eating carbohydrates is to eat the right ones. The average person needs to have 300 - 350 grams of carbohydrates daily. Twenty five of these grams need to come from fiber. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and breads that are whole grain. White bread breaks down into sugar after eaten and can cause a weight gain. Whole grain breads are packed with fiber and protein that help promote weight loss.