Anyone who decides that fatty foods in general are evil and/or sugary foods in general are evil is making a big mistake. In fact, fatty foods and sugary foods are essential to a good diet. What’s essential, though, is that people choose foods that health experts regard as good fats and good sugars instead of bad fats and bad sugars.
What do the numbers say
The USDA’s recommendations for how much food, including how much fat and sugars you should eat daily is based on your gender and activity level.
The USDA says that sedentary women and elderly people should eat roughly 1,600 calories per day, active women and sedentary men should eat about 2,200 calories per day, and teenage boys and active men should eat about 2,800 calories per day. In addition, children and teenage girls should eat about 2,200 calories per day.
Health experts also point out that heavier people need more calories, which are a measurement of energy, than lighter people to carry out their daily activities, so they should eat more than the average recommendations, while lighter people should eat less.
Recommendations on fats
The USDA recommends that Americans limit their fat intake to 30 percent of their calories. Consequently, people who eat 1,600 calories daily shouldn’t eat more than 480 calories of fat daily, while people who eat 2,200 and 2,800 calories daily should limit their fat intake to 660 and 840 calories daily respectively.
However, you will be making a big mistake if a large percentage of the fat you eat comes from meat and dairy products. These foods are high in saturated fats. The USDA recommends that you limit your saturated fat intake to 10 percent of your daily calories.
A study has shown that butter, whole milk, cheese, and beef have high levels of saturated fats and they increase your risk of heart disease by increasing the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood.
The good fats
There are two types of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
These good fats can help lower LDL (blood cholesterol), prevent abnormal heart rhythms, and prevent heart disease.
Foods that contain a lot of the healthy unsaturated fats include:
- Fatty fish with a lot of omega-3 fatty acid, including mackerel, sardines and salmon
- Most nuts
- Peanut butter
Recommendations on sugars
There are three kinds of foods; fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The USDA recommends that 55 percent of the calories in a diet come from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fats, and 15 percent from proteins.
This means that you should eat a lot of sugary food because all carbohydrates are made of sugar. In fact, carbohydrates are the primary ingredient in beans, breads, cereals, fruits, pastas, and vegetables.
Every gram of sugar (and protein) has only four calories compared to the nine calories in a gram of fat so you should eat 220 grams of carbohydrates if you’re on a 1,600-calorie per day diet, 302.5 grams of carbohydrates if you eat 2,200 calories daily, and 385 grams of carbohydrates if you eat 2,800 calories daily.
What do the experts say?
Historically, health experts have divided carbs into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates and have recommended that people eat as many complex carbohydrates as possible and as few simple carbohydrates as possible.
Glucose, which is sugar in its purest form, is a simple carbohydrate.
Complex carbohydrates, even when they’re very sugary, often have lots of fiber, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Starches are also a complex carbohydrate.
In recent years, nutritionists have relied more and more on something called the glycemic index, which measures how fast food increases the amount of blood sugar.
High blood sugar increases your risk of several diseases. Foods with lower glycemic indexes are healthier for you.
A balanced diet is the key to success
People who are interested in eating a healthy diet should eat fatty foods if they’re polyunsaturated or monounsaturated and should eat sugary foods if they have a lot of fiber.
A balanced diet is crucial. The USDA food pyramid recommends six to eleven servings of grains per day, and that includes bread, rice, cereal and pasta. The pyramid also recommends three to five servings of vegetables daily and two to four servings of fruits daily as well as two to three servings of foods in the meat and milk groups daily.