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Reducing the Fat in Our Diet

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What is Fat and why do we need it? The fat in our food is the most concentrated source of energy (calories). One ounce (28g) of fat provides us with 250 Calories, which is twice as many as the same amount of either protein or carbohydrates. We need energy (calories) for growth, to keep our bodies running smoothly and to carry out all our daily activities. The energy (calories) in our diet should come from a variety of foods and not just from fat. Our bodies are very efficient at converting the food we eat into energy and rarely waste anything. If they get too much energy from food they convert the excess into fat. Some body fat is necessary as it cushions and protects organs like the liver and kidneys. It also helps to keep us warm. Certain foods, which contain fat, are also important as they contain the vitamins A, D, E and K and some essential fats, which our bodies cannot make for themselves. How much Fat should we eat? Ideally fat should provide around 1/3 of the total calorie intake in our diet. In reality, people in Britain get too many calories from the fat in food. Most fats contain a certain amount of both saturated and unsaturated fat. In general, saturated fat comes from animal fats and the fat tends to be hard (e.g. ...read more.


The excess sodium could be a contributory cause of permanently high blood pressure for people with fairly normal blood pressure. People with raises blood pressure are more likely to develop various types of heart problems and kidney disease. It is therefore important to look at ways o keeping blood pressure low, by reducing our salt intake. Question 4) Where do the main sources of salt come from ? Sources of salt in our diet:- 15% present in fresh foods e.g. milk, vegetables and meat 15% salt we add in cooking or at the table 70% processed and convenience foods, which have added salt Question 5) How can we cut down on our salt (sodium) intake ? Answer) When buying processed and convenience foods check the ingredients label to see if salt is present, check to see how high up the ingredients list it comes (the higher the more there is in the product). Look for 'low in salt' or 'no salt added' products. Try not to add salt when cooking, add salt only after tasting, if at all. If salt is needed use herbs or spices as an alternative or 'LoSalt', which gives the flavour of common salt but only, contains 1/3 of its sodium content. It replaces 2/3 of the sodium content in common salt with 2/3 of potassium. Therefore, 'LoSalt is a blend of 2/3 potassium chloride and 1/3 of sodium chloride (common salt) ...read more.


Dietary fibre is the name given to insoluble Non-Starch Polysaccharides (NSP). It is found in the cell walls of fruit, vegetables and cereals. It cannot be digested. What is the function of dietary fibre and how does it affect the transit time in the digestion process ? The most important function of dietary fibre is to hold water, like a sponge. This makes the faeces soft and bulky so they can pass easily through the large intestine. The rate at which food passes from the mouth to the anus (the transit time) is less in a diet high in dietary fibre. What bowel disorders can occur as a result of lack of fibre in the diet ? If there is a lack of fibre in the diet the faeces become small and hard. This makes the faeces difficult to pass out of the body. A person will feel uncomfortable and will become constipated. If the muscles tighten into a painful spasm this is called irritable bowel syndrome. The wall of the large intestine can also develop weak points, which will stretch into pouches (diverticula). There is some evidence that a high fibre diet will prevent large intestine cancer. How much dietary fibre should we eat ? The average person should eat 18g of dietary fibre a day, however they only eat on average 12g. High Fibre sources include: Wholemeal/ wholegrain products Fruit/vegetables, which may also help to keep blood cholesterol levels down Oats/bran Fibre in the diet is also a good source of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. ...read more.

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