Carbs, fats, fruits, nuts, sugars, watch out!!

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How many carbs are too many? Low-fat foods are getting harder to find. Most people don’t eat enough fruit. Be on the watch for nutty health claims. Watch sugar intake for calories and nutrients. So many articles, so little space!

      Rifling through the unused material in my files, I noted some great tidbits floating in a bulky sea. I decided to skim through them and pass the cream to you. Our questionable eating habits are always on trial. We like to be reminded with fast, friendly words – not sentenced with long, laborious warnings.

      The key to carb consumption is: pay attention to what you eat. The grains group includes bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. One serving of any of these is one-half cup. Women should have between six to nine servings; men, nine to 11 servings (that’s 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 cups max), depending on how active a person you are. Try to measure how much you’re eating. Most people tend to underestimate their portion sizes when they simply guess.

      Where fat-free is concerned, Americans have over-indulged on “fat-free” or low-fat” foods without considering calorie content. Now, some nutritionists hope that we are gaining savvy with “no-fat/low fat” claims, deciding that we might as well have the real thing and just eat less of it. To prevent weight gain, you have to consume only as many or fewer calories than you expend. For a healthful diet, balance is the key.

      Eating healthy means eating variety. In a 2001 study, those who scored the best diets ate two to four fruits a day. Get more fruit by keeping it available and convenient. Add fruit to salads and stir-fry. Drink a glass of juice in the morning. Make fruit sauces to accompany meat

dishes.

      Although there is evidence to suggest that adding nuts to a low saturated fat and cholesterol diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, pecans, pistachios, walnuts and peanuts can make the claim; Brazils, cashews, and macadamias don’t make the cut. Beware. Popping a handful of nuts will only add to your weight. One and a half ounces of nuts (about one-third cup) contain 250 calories. Substitute the nuts for other high calorie foods like chips, a chocolate bar, or 20 oz. of cola, or, use the protein in a stir-fry.

       As for the added sugar we take in through candy, soft drinks, and other sweets, these empty calories provide very few vitamins, minerals, proteins or phytochemicals. Only 10 percent to 15 percent of our total daily calories should be from added sugars. Again, we should keep track of what we eat.

       I don’t usually eat fruit in the morning. I do usually have a little chocolate in the evening. Even when I’ve had enough protein for the day, I often grab a handful of nuts at night. I need to fight off my bad habits. With obesity at an all time high, better get a handle on our handles with variety, moderation, and by just plain paying attention.

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