Posted by: noed | September 21, 2011

Fats and sugars

Fat facts

Fat transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K around the body
It can often improve the flavour and perception of foods, increasing their palatability
It supplies essential nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids (EFAs)
EFAs must be supplied from the diet, and are thought to have a positive effect on heart health and the immune system
It has a key role in membrane structure
It cushions, and so protects, the internal organs
It’s stored in adipose tissue (a thick layer of tissue under the skin) as a long-term fuel reserve. Excess fat may also accumulate around your organs, especially in the abdominal cavity
Fat is a concentrated source of energy. Just 1g provides nine calories – more than double the calories in 1g of protein or carbohydrate.

This means it’s much easier to consume too many calories when eating high-fat foods. People trying to manage their weight should reduce fatty foods to help cut calories. We all need some fat in our diets, but small quantities of EFAs are the key to good health.

The two types of fatFat can be divided into two main groups – saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fat is generally solid at room temperature and is usually from animal sources. It’s found in lard, butter, hard margarine, cheese, whole milk and anything that contains these ingredients, such as cakes, chocolate, biscuits, pies and pastries. It’s also the white fat you can see on red meat and underneath poultry skin.

The vaue of saturated and unsaturated fat in our diets isn’t fully understood yet but generally, eating too much saturated fat is associated with increased blood cholesterol concentrations and an increased risk of heart disease. Eating less helps to minimise the risks it poses to heart health. Polyunsaturated fats contain inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and it’s the balance of these with omega-3s which is important.

Trans fats, or hydrogenated unsaturated fats, are used in the food industry but are increasingly recognised as being unhealthy.

Unsaturated fat is usually liquid at room temperature and generally comes from vegetable sources. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both included in this group. Unsaturated vegetable oils are generally a healthier alternative to saturated fat and can be found in sesame, sunflower, soya, olive and rapeseed oil, soft margarine and in foods such as oily fish, including mackerel, sardines, pilchards and salmon. Where possible, you should ensure the fat you eat is unsaturated.

Did you know…?
A jam doughnut contains 10.9g fat
A slice of malt loaf contains 0.7g fat
A teaspoon of peanut butter contains 5.4g fat
A pint of whole milk contains 22.8 g fat
A handful of mixed nuts contains 21.6g fat

How much is enough?

Government guidelines recommend fats make up no more than 35 per cent of the energy in your diet, and that saturated fats should provide less than 11 per cent of total energy intake.

For the average woman, this means about 70g of total fat a day; for men, roughly 95g.

The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed that, on average, UK adults consume about the right amount of fat, but that the intake of saturated fats is currently too high for good health (at present they provide about 13 per cent of total energy).

To reduce the amount of fat in your diet, try the following:

Look for alternatives to cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks, which are often high in fat – try fresh fruit, dried fruit and cereal-based products
Trim any visible fat off meat and poultry
Buy lean cuts of meat and reduced-fat minces
Poach, steam, grill or bake food rather than fry it
Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed
Opt for low-fat dairy products
If you use lard, butter or hard margarine, switch to vegetable oil and low-fat spreads

Sugary foods
There are two types of sugar – those found naturally in fruit and milk (which are fine and don’t need to be cut down) and those that are added to the diet.

These added sugars can be found in a variety of foods including confectionery, soft drinks, desserts and breakfast cereals. Added sugars are a great source of energy, but provide no other nutrients.

Sugary foods and drinks pose a threat to dental health, especially if consumed between meals.

Even the sugars in honey and fruit juices can cause tooth decay if good oral hygiene isn’t followed and you consume a lot of these foods.

Only have sugary foods at mealtimes, when other dietary and oral factors can help to minimise the risk they pose to your teeth.

Sugary drinks have been identified as a possible cause of obesity. These drinks do not trigger the same sense of fullness as food with similar calories, increasing the risk of overeating.

How to reduce consumption of sugary foods
Swap sugary drinks for water, low-fat milk or artificially sweetened drinks to reduce your calorie intake
Try swapping sugary snacks for fruit or bread-based options such as fresh whole fruit or teacakes/malt loaf
Try to halve the amount of sugar you put in hot drinks, or cut it out completely
Buy reduced-sugar varieties of jam and marmalade
Choose canned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup

For more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/healthy_fatsugar.shtml

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Posted by: noed | September 21, 2011

Healthy weight-loss diet

A sensible rate of weight loss is around 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) a week. To achieve this, you need an energy deficit of 3,500kcal to 7,000kcal a week, which means eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories a day.

You can do this by replacing high-fat foods with those that are low in fat such as fruit, vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates and lower-fat dairy products, and by being more physically active.

It’s also important to watch the size of your portions. This can be difficult, because over time you can lose touch with what’s a sensible amount of food.

Meat, fish and alternatives
Meat, fish, eggs and alternatives, such as beans and lentils, provide protein, which is essential for growth and repair. These protein-rich foods, meat in particular, are also good sources of iron, selenium, zinc and B vitamins.

Lean sources of protein can also help to curb your appetite. To help reduce the calories you get from fat, remove the skin from chicken, cut off obvious bits of fat from lamb, pork and beef, and use minimum oil for cooking.

Aim to eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines or trout.

You should have two portions of protein-rich foods every day. A portion is equivalent to:

Meat and fish the size of a pack of playing cards
Two eggs
Four tablespoons of lentils or beans

Bread, cereals and potatoes
Starchy carbohydrate foods, such as bread, potatoes, rice and breakfast cereals, provide us with energy and other nutrients, including iron and B vitamins.

Starchy foods should make up about a third of your total daily energy intake.

Choose unrefined types that are higher in fibre. They’ll make you feel full for longer and help to control hunger.

A balanced diet should contain about five portions of starchy foods each day. A portion is equivalent to:

Three tablespoons of breakfast cereal
One large slice of bread
One chapatti
Three heaped tablespoons of pasta
Two egg-size potatoes
Two heaped tablespoons of rice

Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables provide essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and contain many other compounds associated with good health.

Everyone should aim to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in their diet.

Because fruit and vegetables are bulky and contain a lot of water, they can help to control your calorie intake. Aim for at least five portions a day.

A portion weighs about 80g and can include fresh, canned, frozen and dried fruit and vegetables. A portion is equivalent to:

Two large tablespoons of vegetables, such as peas, carrots, swede or broccoli
Whole fruits, such as one apple, one orange, one pear
A handful of grapes
Two tablespoons of strawberries or raspberries
One small glass of fruit juice
A handful of dried fruit

Milk and dairy foods
Foods such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are an important source of calcium as well as providing protein and vitamins. Choose low-fat or reduced-fat versions to reduce the amount of calories in your diet.

Aim for around three portions of dairy foods a day. A portion is equivalent to:

A medium-size glass of milk
A small pot of yoghurt
A small matchbox-sized piece of cheese

For more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/your_weight/active_loss.shtml

Posted by: noed | September 21, 2011

How to lose weight

Cut calories
A gram of fat contains twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein. Reduce high-fat foods in your diet, choose lower or fat-reduced options, use cooking oil and spreads sparingly and remove excess fat from meat.

Include lower calorie options in your diet, such as fruit and vegetables. Bulky fibre-rich foods are also a good choice.

Try switching from white to wholemeal bread, or choose a wholegrain breakfast cereal.

Think about portion sizes
Portion sizes have increased over the years, especially when it comes to ready meals and snack foods. This means we’re consuming extra calories, but we adapt quickly to eating bigger portions and don’t tend to feel fuller as a result.

Downsize potatoes, pasta, rice and fatty and sugary foods, and super size fruit and vegetables.

Watch what you’re drinking
Cut sugar-rich drinks and alcohol, and instead choose water, tea, coffee or artificially sweetened drinks.

Sugary drinks add extra calories to your diet but don’t make you feel full or satisfied.

Keep a balanced diet
Remember the principles of a balanced diet – include plenty of fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day), unrefined foods with more fibre, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.

Get active
Becoming more active doesn’t necessarily mean sweating it out in a gym. Instead, try the following:

Choose activities you enjoy and try to spend more time each week on these
Incorporate more activity into everyday life
Buy a pedometer and increase the number of steps you take each day
Another good way to become more active is to focus on spending less time sitting down. At home, limit the time you spend watching TV or in front of a computer screen. At work, take regular breaks and if you want to talk to a colleague, walk to their desk instead of sending an email.

Fad diets don’t work
Diets that promise quick, effortless weight loss are best avoided. You may lose weight initially, but they’re often difficult to follow in the long term. Often they’re also very restrictive and may not provide all the nutrients your body needs.

Fad diets are those that:

Promise a quick, easy fix with rapid weight loss
Suggest that certain foods ‘burn fat’
Promote the eating of just one of two foods
Have lots of rules about how to eat
Sound too good to be true

Yo-yo dieting
Many people who lose weight tend to regain it over time. You can minimise the chance of this by making permanent changes to your lifestyle – by switching to low-calorie drinks and low-fat spreads, for example, or by eating smaller portions. Regular physical activity appears to be especially important in maintaining weight loss.

The following factors are important for maintaining weight loss:

Small, permanent dietary changes
Regular physical activity
Realistic goals
Regular weighing
Support from family and friends
Although no one would suggest yo-yo dieting is a good thing, there’s little evidence it’s harmful to health. However, it’s disappointing and can reduce your confidence and motivation.

Recognise that in the period immediately following a diet you’re at high risk of weight gain and you need to take specific steps to avoid it.

Remember to weigh yourself regularly. If you notice your weight increasing, take action immediately. Don’t let a minor lapse become a major problem.

For more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/your_weight/active_how.shtml

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