October 13, 2012

Balanced Diet - II


5. Manage Consumption of Fats

Keep total fat intake between 20 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. This means that for a diet of 2,000 calories daily, calories from fat should be between 400 and 700.

Why not lower than 20 percent? Remember that some fatty acids are essential nutrients, and fats also carry fat-soluble vitamins. Consuming less fat than 20 percent of daily calories could be unhealthy. Keep consumption of saturated fats, especially trans fats, as low as possible. Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. Consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.

Remember: High fat intake, especially of saturated fats and cholesterol, is associated with such conditions as heart disease and high blood pressure. Although other factors contribute to these diseases, such as heredity and smoking, following this dietary recommendation should increase the chances of staying healthy.

6. Manage Consumption of Carbohydrates

Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are the sources of the most healthful carbohydrates. Avoid prepared foods high in added sugars. Reducing refined sugars and starches in the diet has the added benefit of helping reduce tooth decay.

7. Manage Consumption of Sodium and Potassium

Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 tsp or 5 ml of salt) of sodium per day. Sodium, as noted earlier, appears to contribute to high blood pressure. For people who already have high blood pressure, it is especially important to cut down on sodium in the diet. The best ways to do this are to decrease the use of salt in the kitchen and at the table and to limit the intake of prepared foods that are high in salt, such as potato chips, salted nuts, pretzels, pickled foods, cured meats, and salty condiments like soy sauce. Reduce the harmful effects of sodium by eating potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

8. Manage Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

People who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation— defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Alcoholic beverages are high in calories while providing few other nutrients. Heavy drinking may cause a variety of serious diseases. Moderate drinking—one or two drinks a day—appears to do little harm and may, in fact, be of some benefit. Many people, including children and adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, people taking medications that interact with alcohol, and people with certain medical conditions, should avoid alcohol completely. In addition, alcoholic beverages should be avoided by people engaging in activities that require attention, skill, or coordination, such as driving or operating machinery.

[source: professional cooking sixth edition]

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