Obesity is now considered to be pandemic. Mexico now has the highest number of obese people in the world, followed by the U.S., where 35% of the population is now classified as obese. In China, there are now more overweight people than underweight people.
Obesity is associated with serious health risks, mainly heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Gout is also a major risk. These conditions, which used to affect mainly adults, are being seen more and more commonly in children.
To promote weight loss, the following food categories should be avoided:
Soft drinks are loaded with sugar, but because it is in liquid form, our bodies are less able to identify the calories from sugar in soft drinks than the calories in solid foods. So, drinking sugary fluids does not make us eat less food. We eat just as much as we usually do, and then add calories from soft drinks as though they did not exist. Soft drinks are therefore an important contributor to the obesity pandemic.
In light of the obesity pandemic, public health officials now recommend that adults and children limit their intake of saturated fat to 7% daily. Given that the standard food intake for an average adult is about 2000 calories per day, 7% saturated fat is equal to about 15 g, or about three scoops of ice cream.
The three biggest sources of saturated fat in the North American diet are, in order, cheese, red meat, and baked goods.
Cheese, eaten mainly as a pizza topping and, more recently, a pizza crust filling, accounts for over 14% of the saturated fat consumed in North America. When choosing cheese, avoid pizza and eat low-fat varieties in moderation.
Red meat accounts for about 13% of the North American diet. Americans on average eat one serving of red meat per day. Experts recommend that red meat consumption be limited to a maximum of two servings per person per week. According to the USDA, low-fat meat has a fat content of 3% or less. However, extra-lean red meat sold in grocery stores contains 5% saturated fat, and lean red meat has 10% saturated fat. A 3 oz serving of lean red meat contains over 4.5 g of saturated fat, which is about one-third of the recommended daily allowance.
Grain-based desserts, such as cookies and cakes, are laden with saturated fat in the form of oils. The desserts that are fat free have had the fat replaced with sugar (high-fructose corn syrup), which is converted to fat in the body.
Cutting these food categories out of the diet can make a big difference for people trying to lose weight.
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