Moderation Is the Key
Husna T. Ghani
Diet. Die-t. No wonder the first three letters of the word “diet” spell D-I-E. We kill ourselves by food extremism. As a nation we are extremists. On one extreme we starve ourselves with crash diets….such as the watermelon diet, the grapefruit diet, the banana diet, the boiled egg diet, or the “I’ll just watch you eat while I cry internally from hunger” diet. On the other extreme, we gluttonize ourselves until we can’t breathe… with “dumpster-size” movie theater popcorn, a gallon of pop, nachos, and a box of “mega mondo” sugar candy….before we go out to dinner.
So what are we talking about? Moderation. What happened to moderation and common sense?
Let’s start with the basics. Once eaten, our food breaks down into carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, proteins have 4 calories per gram, and fats have nine calories per gram.
Carbohydrates are needed for energy. However, carbohydrates break down into sugar, which in turn eventually becomes fat if unused. Therefore, moderation is the key. Proteins are needed because they are the essential building blocks of muscle and skin. Proteins break down into amino acids which aid in body development and function. However, too much protein can be tough on kidney functioning. Therefore moderation is the key. Although fats have the most calories per gram, they are necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails, for vitamin absorption, proper brain function (neurons have a myelin sheath that is made from fat), and for numerous other body functions. However, too much fat can cause damage (which you already know). Therefore moderation is the key.
What’s the key word? Yup, it’s “moderation.” So we know what our food is made up of and what it breaks down into. Now let’s discuss what our food labels are made up of and what they can tell us. Food labels can be misleading. Not that I’m cynical about the marketing intentions of corporations (okay, maybe I am). Let’s take a look at the food label for one serving of granola and analyze the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content.
So to summarize this, not even 10 percent of the serving is protein and nearly 90 percent will break down to sugar and fat. So that’s the breakdown of the “healthy” granola bar.
So what do we do as mere mortal humans trying to overcome the evils of bad nutrition? First we grab a superhero cape. Then we educate ourselves. After that, we try to make healthy food choices. Lastly, we need to avoid being “food extremists.” Moderation is the key!!!
|Serving size: 2 bars (42g)|
|Amount per serving|
|Calories 180||Calories from Fat 50|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6 g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 0.5 g||2%|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 160 mg||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 29 g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Sugars 11 g|
|Protein 4 g|
|Vitamin A 0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C 0 mg||0%|
|Calcium 0 mg||0%|
|Iron 1.08 mg||6%|
TOTAL CALORIES 180
FAT CALORIES = 6 grams x 9 (calories per gram of fat)
= 54 fat calories
So the percent fat would be: 54 fat calories/180 total calories (multiply by 100 to convert to percent)
= 30% fat
CARBOHYDRATE CALORIES = 29 grams x 4 (calories per gram of carb)
= 116 carb calories
So the percent carbohydrate would be: 116 carb calories/180 total calories (multiply by 100 for percent)
= about 64% carb
PROTEIN CALORIES = 4 grams x 4 (calories per gram of protein)
= 16 protein calories
So the percent protein would be: 16 protein calories/180 total calories (multiply by 100 for percent)
= about 8.9 % protein