Cut the fat – 7 smart swaps
Fats can be sneaky. Even foods that sound like they’re good for you, like granola, popcorn, and vegie chips, can be loaded with them. Take America’s Choice Banana Chips. That sounds like a healthful snack, right? In fact, they have as much fat (10 grams) as 2½ pats of butter – or almost as much as a candy bar. To help you spot foods with hidden fats, we combed through dozens of popular packaged goods and found 7 that are surprisingly high in fat. We also found some smart swaps. So next time you’re about to toss something into your shopping cart, read the nutrition label for that product and similar ones. As you’ll see below, the differences in fat content can be huge. Look at total fat and saturated fat – that’s the kind that can clog arteries and might lead to health problems like heart attack and stroke. If you eat 2,000 calories daily, aim for less than 65 grams of total fat, with saturated fat making up fewer than 20 of those grams. And try to avoid all trans fat.
• Instead of Terra Mediterranean Exotic Vegetable Chips which has calories of 150, total fat of 9 grams in 14 chips (1 ounce) and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Popchips Original Potato which has calories of 120, total fat of 4 grams in 23 chips (1 ounce) and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Sticks which has calories of 270, total fat of 10 grams in 4 pieces (89 grams) and saturated fat of 2.5 grams, try Aunt Jemima Homestyle French Toast which has calories of 220, total fat of 4.5 grams in 2 slices (118 grams) and saturated fat of 1.5 grams.
• Instead of Pillsbury Place’N Bake Crescent Rounds which has calories of 110, total fat of 6 grams in 1 roll (28 grams) and saturated fat of 2 grams, try Pillsbury Biscuits Buttermilk which has calories of 50, total fat of 0.7 grams in 1 biscuit (21 grams) and saturated fat of 0.2 grams.
• Instead of Newtons Fruit Thins Crispy Cookies Cranberry Citrus Oat which has calories of 140, total fat of 5 grams in 3 cookies (30 grams) and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Fig Newtons which has calories of 110, total fat of 2 grams in 2 cookies (31 grams) and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus which has calories of 70, total fat of 6 grams in 2 tablespoons and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Cedar’s Garlic Lovers Hommus which has calories of 40, total fat of 1.5 grams in 2 tablespoons and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Wish – Bone House Italian dressing, try Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian dressing, which has less calories, less total fats and less saturated fats.
• Instead of Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers, try Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers Scrabble Junior which has less calories, less total fat and less saturated fat.
Label decoder – keep an eye out for these words on the label when you’re at the store. But pay attention to serving sizes! A true serving can be pretty small, so even if the label says “low fat”, you might be getting more fat and calories than you think.
• Fat free (less than 0.5 grams of fat)
• Low fat (a maximum of 3 grams of fat)
• Reduced fat (at least 25 percent less fat than a similar food has)
• Trans-fat free (less than 0.5 grams of trans fat)
Eat more of these – while you’re watching out for hidden fats, remember that not all fats are bad for you. Some, namely mono- and polyunsaturated fats, help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). They might also protect against depression, according to new research.
The popular Mediterranean diet includes lots of foods containing those good fats, such as nuts, olive oil, and fish. Fish that are high in good fats include wild salmon and trout. Other examples are avocados, seeds, and peanut butter.
All fats help fill you up and fuel your body, but limit the saturated kind, which are found in red meat, butter, and cheese and can clog arteries. And all fats add calories, so limit your intake to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories.