Monday, December 31, 2012

Know your Fats...The Good the Bad and the Ugly

We all know that we should limit the amount of fat in our diets but do we really understand the different types of fat. Are some fats worse than others?  Is there such a thing as "Good" fats?  The answers are YES!

Even though we should limit fat in our diet we should understand that some fat in our diet is essential.  But more importantly the types of fat we are eating can affect our health greatly.

Types of Fat
There are essentially 4 different types of fat.
  • Trans Fats
  • Saturated Fats
  • Monounsaturated Fats
  • Polyunsaturated Fats

The Good
Both Monosaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are what would be considered "Good Fats".  These types of fat are found mostly in fish, nuts, seeds and oils from plants. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help lower your blood cholesterol level when you use them in place of saturated and trans fats. But a moderate intake of all types of fat is best.

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Walnuts
  • Liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.
The Bad
Saturated fat is considered to be a "Bad Fat".  A diet high in saturated fat is the main cause for high cholesterol.  You can find saturated fats in animal or diary products and occasionally in some plants. Saturated fat is not the WORST fat out there but should be limited.

  • Animal Products:
    • Beef
    • Beef Fat
    • Veal
    • Lamb
    • Pork
    • Lard
    • Poultry fat
  • Diary Products: 
    • Butter
    • Cream
    • Milk (Mostly your higher percent milks like 2% and Whole)
    • Cheeses and other dairy products made from whole and 2 percent milk.
  • Plants:
    • Coconut
    • Coconut oil
    • Palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils)
    • Cocoa butter.
The Ugly
Trans Fats are on "The Ugly" list in regards to fats.  They are classified by some doctors as the worst fat of them all. Trans Fats also known as Trans Fatty Acid should be either consumed very very little if at all. Essentially Trans fats should be less than 1% of your daily calories. Trans Fat used to be more common but are becoming less common due to the "bad rap" they receive.  The biggest concern with Trans Fats is that it raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol.
Trans Fats are most commonly found in highly processed foods or commerically baked goods such as:
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Crackers
  • Donuts
  • French Fries
  • Shortenings
  • Some margarines
More commonly now you will find products that say "0 grams of Trans Fat" but you may need to take a closer look to get the full story. In the United States if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. Though that's a small amount of trans fat, if you eat multiple servings of foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, you could exceed recommended limits.

As I mentioned before a nutrition label may say "0 grams of Trans Fat" but that may not be the full story.  When looking at the ingredients you want to look for the words "partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil. That's another term for trans fat. The word "shortening" also is a clue: Shortening contains some trans fat.

However, if a food label says "fully" or "completely" hydrogenated oil this does NOT contain Trans Tat. Unlike partially hydrogenated oil, the process used to make fully or completely hydrogenated oil doesn't result in trans-fatty acids. However, if the label says just "hydrogenated" vegetable oil, it could mean the oil contains some trans fat.

The Scoop
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25–35 percent of your total calories each day;
  • Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories;
  • Limit trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories;
  • The remaining fat should come from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils;

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Exercise Ideas

Be Creative!
Typically, when we think about being physically active outdoors we automatically think of activities done mostly during the summertime. However, there are also a wide range of fun activities perfect for that beautiful winter day. The list of winter recreational activities could include:
  • Ice Skating
  • Building a snowman or fort
  • Sledding/Tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowboarding
One of the wonderful things about being in Utah is that we have a lot of wonderful resources close by. The mountains are easily accessible and can provide hours of entertainment and also a great chance for exercise.

Use Your Resources!
Participating in the activities above does not have to be expensive. For example, the University of Utah has equipment you can rent for a great price. Campus Recreation is the perfect resource to use if you want to try something new without make a large investment of money. You don’t even have to be a student to take advantage of these resources.

For all you BYU fans out there (myself included) Outdoors Unlimited on the BYU campus has similar resources available for all your outdoor recreational needs.


University of Utah Campus Recreation
Brigham Young University Outdoors Unlimited

Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Mini Date-Nut Snowballs
From Elli Krieger for Food Network Magazine
Preparation Time: 10 minutes                                  Portion: Serves 6 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
3 1/2 ounces pitted dried dates (about 14)
15 small raw almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
Spread the coconut on a plate.  Put the dates, almonds, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped
Form rounded 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture into balls with your fingers, then roll in the coconut, pressing to coat.
Per serving (6 piencese): Calories 100; Total fat 3 g (saturated 2 g);  Cholesterol 0 mg;
Sodium 150 mg; Carbohydrates 20 g; Fiber 3 g, Protein 1 g

Mexican Bean Dip
From Meals in Minutes cookbook
Preparation Time: 10 minutes                                  Portion: Serves 6; 1/4 cup per serving
16 ounce can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen chopped green bell peper or 1 small green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons of salsa
2 tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 medium limes)
1 teaspoon bottles minced garlic or 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
In a food processor or blender, process all ingredients for 45 seconds, or until fairly smooth.  Serve or cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Per serving (1/4 cup): Calories 77; Total fat 1 g (saturated 1 g);  Cholesterol 0 mg;
Sodium 22mg; Carbohydrates 14 g; Fiber 3 g, Protein 5 g