We are all familiar with the fact that pizza, French fries and cheese burgers all contain high amounts of fat; but did you know that even healthy fish and certain vegetables can contain a high level of fat? It is important to bear in mind that fat is an essential part of a healthy diet; and although not all fat is bad, it is wise to evaluated the fat content of your meals in the same way you evaluate the calories.
How Much Fat Is Okay?
Paying attention to the number of grams of fat you eat each day will help you to make sure that your body is getting the correct amount of fat it needs and no more than that.
According to Anne Wolf, RD who is a researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the recommendation is that the fat content in your diet should form no more than 30% of your total daily calories. Taking the average daily calorie intake of 2,000 calories, this means that most of us should not be eating more than 65 grams of fat per day. Wolf says we are typically eating far more fat than we need.
There are two kinds of fats which are generally considered good fats and bad fats. Trans and saturated fats are not good for us since they are linked to a number of health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The good fats – unsaturated fats – can actually provide protection to your body from some of these conditions. Having said that, this does not mean that there is no limit to how much of these you can eat. Too much of any fat can lead to weight gain.
When tracking the fat content of your meals, take care to make sure that the majority of the fat you ingest is in the form of unsaturated fats. Saturated fats should form no more than 20 grams of your total, and you should eat hardly any trans fats at all.
Fat In Everyday Foods
If you take into account the types of foods that regularly make up your daily meals, think about the fat content. There are the details on the fat content in some of the most commonly eaten foods:
The average fast-food hamburger contains 36 grams of fat
The average fast-food fish sandwich contains 24 grams of fat
Just 10 French fries contain 8 grams of fat
Just one ounce of potato chips contains a whopping 10 grams of fat
Once slice of cheese pizza contains 8 grams
Two ounces of bologna contains 16 grams of fat
One hot dog contains 14 grams
Three slices of cooked bacon contains 10 grams of fat
One ounce of cheddar cheese contains 8 grams of fat
One cup of whole milk contains 7 grams
Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 14 grams of fat
One teaspoon of butter or margarine contains 4 grams of fat
One serving of most cereals, bagels and breads contains approximately 1 gram of fat
Although some of these numbers may not look too bad, bear in mind the serving sizes of each food. For example, it is highly unlikely you will eat just 10 French fries or only one slice of pizza.
High Fat Foods That Will Surprise You
The foods mentioned above are no surprise when it comes to fat content; but there are a number of foods that you may not realize contain high fat levels.
Movie theater popcorn
Packaged meals that come with added oil, butter or sauces
Red meats that have a lot of white marbling (the marbling is fat)
The skin of chicken and other poultry
The biggest culprits when it comes to hidden fat sources are pre-packaged meals and snack foods. These often contain the dangerous trans fats which are generally listed in the ingredients as vegetable shortening or partially hydrogenated oil and are the reason these foods have a longer shelf life. Trans fats are extremely unhealthy and bad for your cholesterol levels and your heart.
It is common knowledge that vegetable oils and olive oil are high in fat; and avocados, olives, nuts and certain types of fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon also contain high amounts of fats. However, the fats in these foods are all unsaturated (good) fats; although it is still important to control how much of these you eat in order to maintain your weight.
Considering the high fat content of so many foods, it can be easy to exceed the daily fat allowance by lunchtime! If you are aware of you fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead of trans and saturated fats, you will be protecting your heart health and be maintaining a healthy weight at the same time.