Do you think you know everything there is to know about healthy low-fat eating? Try this simple quiz (presented by the American Dietetics Association) to help you see just how up-to-date your nutrition knowledge is:
1. What constitutes a nutritious, low-fat snack food? a. pretzels b. apples c. popcorn, air-popped d. all of the above
2. Which offers healthful, low fat-choices?
a. Chinese b. Italian c. Mexican d. all of the above
3. If the label says “fat-free” it means that you can have all you want. True or False?
4. What is the best way to cut back on fat in the food you eat at home?
a. buy foods with less than 30 percent calories from fat.
b. eliminate all fat from your diet.
c. reduce the fat in your favorite recipes and add more fresh herbs and spices
d. buy only foods that say “low fat” or “fat free.”
e. all of the above
Answers: 1. (d) all are nutritious and can be eaten at any time. 2. (d) all offer healthy dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, linguine in marinara sauce, and beans (not re-fried) that are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber and low in fat. 3. (False) sometimes modifying a food item to lower fat can also increase the carbohydrate content. 4. (c)
In this day and age of increasing health awareness, it is very important to become familiar with certain food terms. Once upon a time, words such as “low-fat” or “light” may have been used to describe foods that were in reality, just the opposite. There was nothing that could be done to food manufacturers for putting out such misinformation to the public. This was often used as a ploy to increase food sales. Often, consumers were left confused as to why they were not seeing the positive results expected from changing to healthier eating habits.
This changed in the early 90’s when the Food and Drug Administration began requiring that food labels become more clearly defined and standardized. Today food manufacturers must adhere to the following guidelines when labeling their food products:
Light – 1/2 the fat, 1/3 the calories, or 1/2 the salt of the regular food item
Free – little or none of the substance cited is found in the product (for example, calorie-free means less than 5 calories per serving)
Low – does not exceed the dietary guidelines for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, or calories:
Low-fat – 3 grams or less per serving
Low-saturated-fat – 1 gram or less per serving
Low-sodium – 140 milligrams or less per serving
Low-cholesterol – 20 milligrams or less of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving
Low-calories – 40 calories or less per serving
Reduced – less than 25 percent of a nutrient (e.g., fat) or calories compared to the regular product.
– Kenner Army Health Clinic