Fats Oils and Sweets Food Group Guide

Using fats, oils and sweets sparingly would be a smart health choice. In the food guide pyramid, fats, oils, and sweets live in the penthouse. And how many of us can afford to reside in the penthouse with them? Not many! We all wish we could, but we can’t. Sometimes, we even visit too often, but it is just too expensive healthwise to stay for very long.

However, in moderation, these foods aren’t terrible for most people. Some fat in the diet and the body is necessary for life. Fat is a source of energy, it insulates the body and protects the internal organs, it helps regulates hormone production, and is critical for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D, E, and K). Thus, a cookie now and then is fine (believe me!), but some of us have a problem with moderation (believe me again!), so you must be conscious of how and what you eat. Many foods pretend to be “low-fat” or “reduced-fat,” like certain peanut butters or salad dressings, but they are only “low” or “reduced” in relation to their very, very high-fat versions, so be careful. ”Low-fat” desserts often add extra sugar to replace the small amount of fat taken out, so the total calorie count is about the same. Make sure you read the labels carefully.

Always be careful with “add-ons” like cream sauces, gravies, jellies, margarine spreads and butter. They add calories quickly, so beware. As an alternative, use non-fat yogurt or applesauce on your toast instead of butter and jelly. Use non-fat salad dressings.

Although the American Heart Association recommends that 30% or less of your daily calories should come from fat sources (less than 10% from saturated fat), I would recommend an amount closer to 20% of total calories from fat. Everyone is different, however, so find what works best for you. But if you are currently gaining weight and want to lose excess body fat, you may be spending too much time in this penthouse, especially if you aren’t taking the stairs!
My recommendation is that if you’re eating foods in the fats, oils, and sweets food category too often, you’d better make up for it by doing regular exercise.