Fat Nutrition

The energy value of fats is 9 kcal/gram (kilocalories per gram), which supplies the body with important sources of calories. Calories are units of energy. The breaking of bonds within fat molecules releases energy that the body uses. A kilocalorie is the unit used to measure the energy in foods. It is the equivalent of "calories" listed on Nutrition Facts labels on food packaging.

Some of the foods known to contain large amounts of fat include the obvious examples, such as butter on toast, fried foods, and hamburgers. But many of the foods that people consume on a daily basis have hidden sources of fat that may not be obvious to the person eating them. These foods include cookies and cakes, cheese, ice cream, potato chips, and hot dogs. One way to avoid foods that contain high amounts of fat is to look at the Nutrition Facts label located on the packages of most foods, where the total fat content of the food is listed.

Actual intake of fat can vary from 10 percent to 40 percent of the calories consumed daily, depending on personal or cultural regimens. Limiting one's daily fat intake to less than 30 percent of total calorie intake and increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to be beneficial in maintaining a healthful diet.

New food-labeling regulations scheduled to take effect in 2006 require manufacturers to list trans fat content on their products' Nutrition Facts panel. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consumption of foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, or trans fat should be avoided. [Photograph by Akira Ono. AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.]

New food-labeling regulations scheduled to take effect in 2006 require manufacturers to list trans fat content on their products' Nutrition Facts panel. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consumption of foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, or trans fat should be avoided. [Photograph by Akira Ono. AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.]

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