Nutrients aren’t that complicated to understand. There are only six classes of them: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. To make it even simpler: water, minerals, and vitamins don’t provide calories. So, at Fantasy Healthball, we pay special attention to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Fat has more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates, which is why fats should be eaten only sparingly. You get the calories without the healthy nutrients. This is really why it is so important to pay attention to what you are putting in your body. You are going to get calories from most foods and drinks, so you want to keep an eye on whether you are eating low or high calorie foods and how much healthy nutrients are in your food.
The way to do this is to become a student of nutrition labels. You should study them like a rookie studies the playbook. The ingredients most often appear below the “Nutrition Facts” and are listed in the order of quantity. There is more of the first ingredient than the second, and so on. If you are trying to cut back on sugar, for example, you want to make sure it is not included in the list or at least listed towards the end.
Click below on the sample “Nutrition Facts” for a generic bag of barbeque potato chips (from our favorite nutrition facts source). Notice the high calorie content, the high fats and saturated fats, and the high sodium. Granted, this is for the whole bag, but you can’t eat just one!
Watch out for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils, known as trans fatty acids or “trans fats.” You want to limit your intake of these. Trans fats are found at high levels in foods such as French fries, donuts, and vegetable shortening. You will also want to limit saturated fats such as butter, candy bars, and cake. As of January 1, 2006, food manufacturers had to include on their nutrition labels the amount of trans fats. The FDA has required that saturated fats and cholesterol be listed on food labels since 1993. Saturated and trans fats raise cholesterol in the blood, which contributes to heart disease. So, if you find yourself eating too much of this kind of food, we recommend choosing the “limit consumption of oils, trans fats, and saturated fats” and the ”eliminate high-fat processed foods and sweets” as part of your seven challenges for the week. Remember, we are here to help. Find out more great nutrition info and how you can take on the NFL pros and play Fantasy Healthball! — Jim Ballard
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