Remember that a calorie is always a calorie whether it comesfrom fat or carbohydrate. Reducing fat and saturated fat in yourfamily's diet is important to maintaining heart health and reducingcalories. However, fat-free or reduced-fat food choices aren'talways low in calories. They can be high in sugar or othernutrients that increase calories.
Some reduced-fat or fat-free foods provide almost the samenumber of calories as the regular food. They are not the solutionto weight loss. This is especially true if you think you can eatmore of a reduced-fat food than you would eat of a regular item.For example:
- A 30-gram serving of reduced-fat chocolate chip cookies (three cookies) contains 118 calories, while an equal serving of the regular version has 142 calories.
- A one-ounce serving of baked tortilla chips has 113 calories, versus 143 calories for the same amount of regular tortilla chips.
- A two tablespoon serving of fat-free caramel topping contains the same number of calories (103) as an equal amount of homemade caramel topping with butter.
It is important to limit fat and sugar in your family's diet.Fat has twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrate, so it'seasy to see that reducing fat is important to energy balance.
Sugar is found naturally in some foods, like fructose in fruitsor lactose in milk. However, sugar is added to many prepared foodsand drinks like high-fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages andbreakfast cereals.
Health experts offer several reasons why it is important to cutback on the consumption of these products or cut out sugar fromyour diet in other ways:
- Studies show that people who consume many foods and drinks with added sugar tend to consume more calories than people who consume fewer of these foods. They also show a link between weight gain and drinking sweetened beverages. Cutting back on added sugars, especially from sweetened beverages such as regular soda and fruit punch, can help you and your family maintain a healthy weight.
- Added sugar provides calories but no additional nutrients. An eating plan that helps you and your family maintain a healthy weight is one that focuses on getting plenty of nutrients within your calorie needs.
- Many children and teens, especially girls, don't get enough calcium, a mineral that's important for strong bones and teeth and other body functions. Giving your children fat-free or low-fat milk instead of sweetened beverages can give their bodies a boost.
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