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Finding a balanced diet whats it all about?

May 25, 2008
So your looking to eat healthy? Well one of the best ways to get started is to get the balance of carbs,(carbohydrates), proteins and fats right first. The reason is, these are the essential foundations of any diet plan and everything from there is just a question of balance and adjusting to suit your likes and dislikes.

With around 4 calories being produced by one gram of protein it is not suprising that we are encouraged to eat plenty of protein rich foods such as eggs and dairy products (which of course also contain fats), red meats fish and steaks.

Carbohydrates also have around 4 calories per gram although this is of course rather a less scientific measurement as by their chemical nature carbohydrates are wide and variable and are available as both naturally occuring carbohydrates and also man made carbohydrates.

Those natural carbohydrates i.e those found in nature as plants include potato's,rice, bread products and oatmeal.But we can also find more complex carbs in foods that are manufactured examples of which are cookies,white bread,candy and most forms of cake.

But you probably won't be suprised to learn that from each gram of fat there are a massive 9 calories. That's right a shocking 225% more calories than either carbs or protein.But few people fully understand the implications of this fact.

But of course as I am sure you know there is more than one type of fat they are classed as good fats (mono unsaturated fats and poly unsaturated fats) and bad fats (saturated fats) and the less widely know very bad (trans fats or trans fatty acids to give them their full name)

But your body needs a balanced diet, so you have to ensure your are getting adequate amounts of all 3 food groups to live a healthy life. If you maintain this balance correctly you will not become fat or have any problems with obesity.

It is only when people get their diet out of balance and favor more of the fat containing foods they start to experience problems with their weight. Also getting a little more scientific carbohydrates is broken down by the body in to sugars so these should be only eaten as stated as part of an overall balanced diet.

As we have seen there are significantly more calories found in a gram of fat than a gram of protein or carbohydrate so to keep a good diet it requires a good balance of protein and carbs with some fat.

Let's examine the different types of fat individually.

Mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA's). Mono unsaturated fats are found at room temperature normally in the form of vegetable oils,nuts and seeds.

Polyunsaturated fats (Poly unsaturated fatty acids):- These are are found mainly in vegetable oils, fish and seafood. They are liquid or soft at room temperature. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are types of poly unsaturated fats and are considered essential fatty acids because our bodies cannot make them themselves, thus they must be obtained through the diet. Some times referred to as PUFA's.

Saturated fats (Saturated fatty acids) are usually solid at room temperature and are found mainly in foods from animal sources like meat, dairy products and butter. Some vegetable oils such as coconut, palm kernel and palm oil are also full of saturated fatty acids.

Trans fatty acids:- They are sometimes known as trans fats or hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats. This means that they have been chemically altered by the addition of hydrogen to make them solid at room temperature. Trans fats are found in foods such as some margarines, used extensively in the fast food industry and in processed snacks.

Just as a quick rule of thumb but it's by no means an exhaustive or totally fool proof system. If the fat comes from an animal such as the fats found in butter, pastry or shortening, it is saturated fat and if it comes from a plant such as olive oil, sunfower oil or nuts it is most likely unsaturated fat. Remember unsaturated fat is good fat.

All fat will make you put on weight, so always keep it in check and maintain a healthy balance.
About the Author
Are you seeking help and diet advice you will love the latest free report by Graham Foster "82 weight loss tips to lose 22.5 pounds of ugly fat in just 5 short weeks"
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