Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

CSPI's (Fat) Savings Plan

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

CSPI's (Fat) Savings Plan

Article excerpt

Don't tell me. You don't know what percent of your calories come from fat or saturated fat?

Here's how to figure it out: Just keep a food diary of everything you eat for seven days. Not just what you eat, but exactly how much (was that one ounce of cheese or two?). And don't forget to include each of the ingredients in restaurant meals, too (how much onion and celery was in that Chow Mein?).

Then plug it all into CSPI's Nutrition Wizard--that actually is easy--or simply look up all the calorie counts and grams of fat in a nutrition handbook. (The USDA has a 21-volume set for $150, but it doesn't have brand names. You'll have to look on labels--or write to companies--for those, but they probably won't have saturated fat. Sorry.)

Once you've got all those numbers, multiply the grams of fat (or saturated fat) by 9, divide by the total calories, multiply by 100, and presto! You can tell your friends that YOU know what percent of your calories come from fat.

I've done it...eight years ago. And I'm planning to do it again (maybe when my one-year-old graduates from high school).

Rather than figure out how much fat you're eating, you can calculate the fat you're not eating when you make substitutions in your diet. It's less precise, but a lot easier. Here's how:

If you eat an      You need to save:
"average" diet      Total    Saturated
and your age is:   Fat (g)    Fat (g)
Children
  2-3               15          8
  4-10              21         10
Females
  11-18             25         13
  19-50             49         20
  51+               42         17
Males
  11-14             28         14
  15-18             33         17
  19-50             65         25
  51+               51         20

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