Learning the Nutritional Values of Food

 

Part of healthy living is learning how to compare not only junk foods to healthy foods, but taking a step further to compare items within the healthy group.

Common sense and countless studies have proven that natural foods comprise the healthiest diet. Getting away from the processed, refined foods and those with chemicals and additives will always help you to live a healthier lifestyle.

With that in mind, there are things to be aware of even when you choose to eat these natural items. For example, eating pineapple cannot be considered the same as eating blackberries. Pineapple is very high in sugar while blackberries are very low. Therefore, it would be better to set a goal of how much "sugar from fruit" you wish to intake per day, rather than how many "servings of fruit" per day. See the below comparison:

 

Healthy Eater #1

 

CALORIES

SUGAR (g)

Banana, one medium 105 14.4
Pear, one medium 96 16.3

Apple, one medium

72

14.3

Grapes, 20 pieces

68

15.2

Totals 

341

60.2

Healthy Eater #2

 

CALORIES

SUGAR (g)

Cantaloupe, 1/8 of a medium melon

23

5.4
Strawberries, 1c. whole 46 6.7

Grapefruit, small 3 1/2" diam. (5oz)

32

7.0

Blackberries, 1c. (5.1oz)

62

7.0

Totals

163

26.1

 

As you see, both healthy eaters are consuming four servings of fruit in the day. However, eater #1 is consuming more than double the calories and sugar than eater #2. You've surely heard people say, "But it's GOOD sugar", but ALL sugar not burned turns into fat in the body. Your intake of sugar should be carefully monitored.

Fats are another concern and should be eaten in moderation. The body needs some fat, therefore it is not healthy to eat a completely fat free diet. Animal fats are the least desirable fats, health wise. But in moderation can surely be part of a healthy lifestyle. Chicken is a much healthier alternative to beef, for example. With minimal fat, it is packed with protein. So, if you choose to eat some sort of meat every day, you would be wise to keep the red meats to a minimum and eat mostly white meats and fish. Good fats can come from nuts and olive oil, supplying the body with essential fats -- for those who don't care to eat meat.

In the following charts, we compare nutrition information for common healthy foods in several catagories: cheeses; meats/fish; fresh fruits & nuts. They are sorted by the nutritional component that is the "danger zone" of that type of food. For example, the concern when eating cheese is not getting too much protein but rather getting too much fat. With fruit, sugar is what we should watch out for. Except for the meat/fish page, there are two charts. One is sorted by a typical serving size and the other is sorted per ounce for comparison.

 

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