Monday, September 28, 2009

What Are Hidden Fats?

I've been reading that when watching one's calories it is important to also watch for "hidden fats".  What exactly are these?    Linda H.

Dear Linda,

Hidden fats are those that are not at first apparent in a food.  You know you are adding fat to your food when you put butter on your bread, or dressing on your salad.  But when are there fats present that you may not be aware of?

Unless you are a cook or a baker, you may not know that fats are used in preparing many foods.  Butter can be used to cook fish, for example.  You may order what you believe to be a low-fat menu item that actually has more calories provided by the butter the fish is cooked in, than calories from the fish itself!  When ordering in a restaurant, ask how a meal is prepared.

Baked products, like pies, muffins, and croissants, use lots of shortening to result in a moist or flaky texture.   Some people mistakenly believe if they don't put butter on their muffin or croissant that they're having a low-fat breakfast or snack.  In fact, the fat contained in one of these treats can contribute over half the calories.

There are also fats naturally occuring in many animal products: milk, cheese, or yogurt that does not specifically state "low-fat" or "fat-free" can also have as many as half the calories contributed by fat.  This means a 'fat free' version would cut your calorie intake in half!
Meats and chicken also have fat in them.  Leaner cuts can save calories, but the fat does serve a purpose in keeping the meat moist and tasty.  You need to find a happy medium between enjoying your food--fat included--and limiting the amount of fat you take in throughout the day.

There are many sites available on the internet where you can look up fat content of foods to find out where the hidden fats lie.  Ingredient labels are also helpful when purchasing packaged foods and they will always tell you exactly how many grams of fat are included on the "nutrition facts panel".

Being well-informed will be your best weapon against excessive fat intake.

No comments:

Post a Comment