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Carbohydrates and Fats - The Fundamentals

When people go on diets, the first thing they usually do is to cut down on their consumption of carbohydrates and fats. But some people do this too zealously, eliminating too much of these substances from their diet. Although carbohydrate and fat intake needs to be limited, your body still requires some amounts of these substances to function properly.

Fats have a variety of important roles in providing the body with the necessary nutrients. Most vitamins can only be absorbed by the body when combined with fats. That is, it won't matter how much vitamin A, D, E or K you consume everyday.

Without the all-important fats, these vitamins will just exit your body without being taken advantage of. Also, fat is the primary source of energy in the body, so they are particularly important for active people who are always on the go.

Most people consume normal amounts of fat in their daily diets. These can be taken from meats and some plants. It has been proven that excessive amounts of fats are just as dangerous to your health as having too little fat content in the body.

When going on a low-fat diet, it is essential that you show your diet plan to your doctor first for approval as many of these diets can cause many health problems for you.

All this talk about fat can be quite confusing. What we are saying is that essentially, there is good fat and there is bad fat. Bad fat mainly comes from the saturated fats and trans fats that are contained in most processed food items today. Cholesterol is also another kind of fat we want to keep at a low level in our bodies.

Many cases of obesity, stroke and heart problems have been traced to the excessive amounts of saturated fats and trans fats in the body. These fats, which take on a solid form at room temperature, usually come from meats such as bacon, and some dairy products like ice cream and butter.

Cholesterol, on the other hand, can be taken from egg yolks and organ meats. Both cholesterol and the harmful fats should be limited as much as possible.

An easy way to avoid foods that contain these harmful substances is by merely checking out the nutritional information printed on the label. The next time you go grocery shopping, make sure you check the ingredients of the items you plan to buy. If they contain too much trans fat, you would be better off putting it back on the shelf.

This does not mean that you should avoid all items that have fat in them. As we said, fat is also an important part of the body's processes. Instead of trans fat, you should look for items that contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

This would mean that you will choose olive oil or corn oil instead of the regular cooking oil. The difference between the good and bad fats is that the good ones remain in liquid form even in room temperature.

In the past few years, nutrition experts have been actively advocating the consumption of certain fish which have been found to contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are said to be good for the heart because they can bring down the body's cholesterol count.

Carbohydrates are another kind of substance that is needed by the body. It can be taken from grains, dairies and some fruits, but it does not always come in a nutritious form.

Whole grain breads are one of the best sources of carbohydrates. You will want to avoid white bread, soda and other sugary and starchy foods because these foods will just make you gain weight without giving you any substantial nutrition.

The key to healthy eating is to keep a balance between all kinds of good foods. Americans today do not have this balance, which is why many of us are facing health problems such as obesity. A good initial solution to this is to avoid using too much salt.

This seemingly innocent seasoning is actually the cause of several health problems such as high blood pressure, water retention and weight gain, as well as high cholesterol levels.