Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Get Healthy Challenge: Week 14

Welcome to Week 14 of Our Get Healthy Challenge! If you're just joining us, here is what you missed so far - so you can get all caught up. This series is running for the next six months with pro nutritionists, The GetReal Gurls. They are helping us make small changes every week that build upon each weekly task. Our challenge this week?

This week’s challenge is all about FAT. Not the fat on your body...the fat that you EAT. Fat is an important component of a healthy diet. In fact, fat should make up about 30% of your daily calories. If you’re a dude and eating a 2000 calorie diet, this would equal about 67 grams of total fat per day. If you’re a hip girl (☺) and eating an 1800 calorie diet, this would equal about 60 grams of total fat per day.  How much is 60 grams of fat? Let’s take a look at a few examples:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil = 14 grams
1 tsp of margarine = 4 grams
½ avocado = 15 grams 
36 chips (50 gram servings) = 18 grams
¼ cup almonds = 8 grams

Some people eat too much fat, while others don’t eat enough. Both can be a problem. When you eat too much fat, you significantly increase the calories in your diet (fat has the most calories with 9 calories per gram vs. Protein and carbs which have only 4 calories per gram). Too much fat also increases cholesterol levels in your body. 

On the flip side, too little fat means you’re not getting all the essential fatty acids your body needs (think omega-3 and 6, monounsaturated fats, etc.). Fat is an important component of many bodily processes and organs (think brain, eyes). Also, if you’re eating too little fat, you might be replacing those calories with carbs, which isn’t good either. Eating more refined carbs can increase triglycerides which is bad for your heart. 

Here is your Do it! Post it! Challenge for the week – take a closer look at fat:

Do it! Track what you are eating for 2-3 days this week with a special attention to HOW much fat you are eating and WHERE it is coming from. Make sure to check ALL food labels for the fat content – most packaged foods have some fat. Don’t worry about fruits and vegetables (except for avocado) – their fat content is negligible.

Post it! Do you have to increase or decrease your fat intake? Where does most of your fat come from (cooking oils, salad dressing, nuts, packaged foods, snack foods?)

--- A. & M.

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