E V E R Y D A Y SURVIVAL | Connecting You to Helpful Ideas
erhaps you’ve noticed that
not all food is good for you.
For instance, food products
with added sugar (in any of
its various forms) shove a lot
of calories your way without
providing much nutrition.
And when those calories
aren’t burned up through
activity, they get stored as fat.
That’s one reason our country faces an obesity epidemic.
It’s helpful to distinguish between “energy-dense”
and “nutrient-dense” foods. Energy density refers to the
calories in a single serving. Nutrient-dense foods are full
of the things your body needs to function efficiently.
All foods have calories, unless they have been
engineered to be zero calories, in which case they have
zero nutrients as well. When it comes to foods with
high calorie density, sugar and fats are two of the major
problems. Sugar, for example, contains about 16 calories
per teaspoon, so foods with a lot of it have a higher energy
density. Sugar is considered a “simple” carbohydrate.
Fat contains more than twice as many calories per
gram as either carbohydrates or proteins. There are 9
calories per gram for fat vs. 4 calories in each gram for
carbs or protein. It is important to know that there are
three kinds of fat:
• saturated fat, which is solid at room temperature,
like butter or cheese
• trans fat, vegetable oil that is blended with hydrogen
to prolong the shelf life of processed food; it is often
labeled as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”
• unsaturated fat, which is liquid at room temperature,
like vegetable oil
Saturated and trans fats are considered “bad” fats
because they raise your body’s “bad” cholesterol known
as LDL. But fats aren’t inherently unhealthy. There
are two types of unsaturated fat, polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated, both of which increase the “good”
cholesterol called HDL. Unsaturated fats contain omega- 6
and omega- 3, which are essential for brain function. But
remember, all three varieties of fat are high in calories so they
add to a food’s calorie density. Be careful (continued on p. 20)
Is Your Diet?
All foods are not
By Jon Caswell