By Beverly André Davis

I have a friend who seemed to have been on a strict diet all her life. Yet she seem to have difficulty losing the unwanted pounds. She finally decided to take herself in hand and look critically at the factor or factors that might be preventing her from shedding those unwanted pounds. First she looked at heredity. Did she have her parents to thank?

The experts believe that although heredity plays an essential role in some cases there are other factors that is worth consideration in the scale of unwanted pounds and difficulty in trimming off the excess baggage.

Some glandular diseases   and medications often play a role in putting on those unwanted pounds.

Many women date their weight gain to pregnancy and not shedding it after the birth of the child. “ Men can blame a sedentary lifestyle with notable lack of physical activity.”

However lifestyles, diet and physical activity are most important in fighting obesity.

However, one of the main reasons  for lack of weight loss despite dieting is regular consumption of fatty foods. In my friend’s case fatty foods was ruled as the culprit.  Although for years she reduced the amount she ate and kept up her exercise she could not shake off those pounds. She was addicted to mayonnaise. She ate little however she piled on the calories  with thick spreading of mayonnaise which is high in fat.

Health authorities recommend that our total intake of fat should be reduced to 30 percent or less of our total calories. Unfortunately, we eat too many foods that are high in fat. The average 2000 calories  diet contains 89 grams of fat (equivalent  to 8 teaspoons of butter).

Fat is hidden in many foods that we eat. Consequently, many people are unaware of which foods are high in fat or how much fat they consume.

Animal foods are the major fat culprit in our diet. One third of the fat in our diet comes from meat products and one fifth from milk and milk products.

Health authorities recommend that we consume 30 percent or less of our total calories as fat. 10 percent or less as saturated fat.

It is difficult to know how much fat is in foods. If there is nutrition information on a food label you can calculate the percentage of calories from fat in a serving of food.

For those who are good at maths a helpful nutritionist devise this method of calculating the number of calories from fat that is consumed in one serving:

  1. Multiply the number of grams of fat in one serving by nine to get the number of calories from fat.
  2. Divide the number of calories from fat by the total calories of one serving of food.
  3. Multiply the answer by 100 to determine the percentage of calories from fat in that food.

The following foods are high in calories from fat: Cream cheese, Bacon, sausages, cheddar cheese, peanuts and Brazil nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, peanut butter, pork especially spare ribs, lamb chops, poultry especially with the skin on, sirloin roast, beef, whole milk, butter, chocolate bars, potato chips. Most of these foods are delicious and hard to ignore. However moderation will keep the pounds away.

A low fat diet is good for your health and can taste good too. You can still enjoy  a full range of flavours and favourites while choosing the types and amounts of food for a healthy diet modified in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

A fat reduced diet does not mean never being able to eat the foods you love. It means making gradual changes to control and modify your present diet to make it a healthier one. You can accomplish this by consuming:

*High fat foods less often

*Lower fat substitutes for example skim milk products instead of whole milk

*Smaller portions.

*Foods cooked by low fat cooking methods.

Here are some more specific guidelines:

  1. Use lean meat fish and poultry. Avoid well-marbled meats. Trim all visible fat off meat and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
  2. Eat more poultry and fish in preference to red meats.
  3. Eat controlled portions of meat, two to three ounces in one serving.
  4. Choose cooking methods that require little or no fat or oil. Grill, bake, brol, bar-b-que or steam instead of fry.
  5. Have meatless meals each week, using cooked dried peas, beans and lentils in casseroles, salads, soups or stews.
  6. Use the turkey-ham products instead of high fat luncheon meats, bologna and salami.
  7. Use smaller portions.
  8. Cook foods in wines, vinegars, fruits and vegetable juices, broths, herbs and spices instead of rich sauces.
  9. Fruits and vegetables and breads and cereals are usually high in complex carbohydrates. So fill up on these foods but be sparing with the fats you put on them.
  10. Most importantly to get rid of fat you must burn energy. Exercise consistently – not harder.