Reducing fat in the diet has become a healthy American habit, but there are some foods that may be harboring more fat than you know, warns the California Dietetic Assn.
"While there are many health risk factors other than diet, to keep your diet at its healthiest we suggest curbing artery fat intake to 30% of total calories," said Cheryl Loggins, a registered dietitian with the group.
"Unfortunately, many people are erringly cutting out the foods they need to stay healthy just to save on fat, such as dairy foods and meats," she added.
Dietary Balance Needed
According to Loggins, the foods we need to stay healthy include low-fat dairy foods, lean meats and meat alternates, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits and whole-grain breads and cereals.
"If carefully selected, a diet consisting of these foods will not exceed the 30% recommendation. And, fat aside, it will provide the average adult with all the nutrients necessary to staying healthy and active," she said.
Unless you're dealing with pure fats such as oils, margarine or butter, you may not know how much fat is in the foods you eat. How do you make educated cuts?
High-fat extra foods such as gravies, sauces, pies, chips, salad dressings and sandwich spreads should be the first on the list to cut back on.
Using the standard that women should keep fat intake to 60 to 70 grams daily and men to 85 to 95 grams daily, the following list gives an idea of the number of grams of fat in a serving of foods from the nutrient-based food groups:
Dairy group foods (men need two daily servings; women need three for calcium):
Skim milk, contains no fat.
Low-fat milk, 5 grams fat.
Low-fat yogurt, 5 grams.
Low-fat cottage cheese, 5 grams.
Whole milk, 10 grams.
Meat and meat alternates (adults need two daily three-ounce servings for protein and iron):
Roast beef, 10 grams fat.
Fresh chicken, no skin, 6 grams.
Cod, flounder or sole, 5 grams.
Refried beans, 5 grams.
Hamburger, 15 grams.
Frankfurters, 20 grams.
Vegetables and fruits (adults need four daily servings for vitamins A and C and fiber):
All fruits, no fat.
Broccoli, peas, corn, carrots, squash, spinach, turnips, potatoes, asparagus, no fat.
Potato salad, 5 grams.
French fries, 10 grams.
Avocado, 15 grams.
Breads and cereals (adults need four daily servings for B vitamins and fiber):
Rice, 7 grams.
Whole-wheat bread, 7 grams.
Pancakes, muffins, biscuits, 10 grams.
"Cutting out all high-fat foods is not only difficult, it takes some of the joy out of eating, so we don't recommend you cut out all fat," Loggins said. "Just don't make an entire meal out of high-fat foods. Shoot for an average of 30% of calories from fat."