They’re NOT a food group! Fats and Sweets
On the old pyramid, fats and sweets were their own food group. Not this time though! When it comes to fats, most people know that there are good fats and there are not-so-good fats. Good or bad, all fats have the same amount of calories in them.
When trying to lose weight, pay attention to the calories, regardless of good or bad fat.
However, for heart health and overall health, the type of fat is very important. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are found in nuts, seeds, avocados and oils.
Not-so-healthy fats are saturated and trans fats, which are found in meat and dairy as well as many boxed foods or foods you get at restaurants.
It’s important to know what you’re looking for on the food label. When looking at fat, don’t focus on the total fat, rather see how much of the not-so-healthy fats are in it. Sugar is listed on the food label under the carbohydrate section. However it doesn’t tell you if it’s a healthy sugar (from fruit or milk) or an unhealthy sugar (from table sugar or corn syrup). By looking at total carbohydrate and fiber, you will know if there are too many added sugars or not.
Supermarket Smarts: Buy It or Bypass It?
Here is a guide for how to determine if you should buy an item or not. If the item is one part of a meal, or a snack, use the chart for ‘Snacks’. If the item is going to be most or all of your meal, use the chart for ‘Meals’. In order to qualify as a buy it, it needs to meet ALL the ‘Buy It!’ criteria.
Snacks Buy It! Bypass It!
Calories < 200 > 200
Saturated + Trans Fat < 2 g > 2g
Sodium < 350mg > 350mg
Carbohydrate < 30g > 30g
Fiber* > 3g < 3g
Meals Buy It! Bypass It!
Calories < 600 > 600
Saturated + Trans Fat < 5 g > 5g
Sodium < 800mg >800mg
Carbohydrate <65g > 65g
Fiber* >5g <5g
*When you’re looking at fiber on the food label, don’t expect to find any if it’s a dairy or meat product. Only plant products have fiber in them. So if it’s a dairy or meat, just ignore the guide for fiber. If you see fiber on a dairy product, you know that it has been added.
For a printable chart of this information, click here.