There is a saying that you are what you eat and this can be said to be true in most cases. People who eat foods that are high in fat and cholesterol are more likely to have heart problems while those who eat excessively are more likely to be overweight or obese. People who make healthy food choices are also bound to be healthier compared to those who do not. One’s diet does not only affect the body physically but it also affects the health.
The foods we eat contain different nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. There are two things to be considered when choosing which foods are best for the health, namely caloric density and nutrient density. Caloric density refers to the amount of calories in food in relation to its weight. Nutrient density, on the other hand, refers to the nutrients found in the food in relation to the amount of calories it contains. High calorie and low nutrient food is considered to be bad for the health while high nutrient and low calorie food is considered to be essential for a healthy diet.
High Calorie, Low Nutrition Foods
Foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition should be avoided as much as possible since it adds up to the calories in the body while offering no useful benefits to the body. Also called empty calories, foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition include cookies, candy bars, white flour, sugar, soda, and ice cream. Most of these foods are not only high in calories but contain artificially-produced simple carbohydrates that can cause surges in blood sugar levels. Aside from foods with added sugar, salad dressings, mayonnaise, gravies, and sauces are also high in calories but low in nutritional value.
Excessive intake of calories leads to weight gain especially if the individual is also physically inactive. Excess calories are stored in the body as fat and continuously eating foods high in calories and low in nutrition can lead to obesity.
The Growing Problem of Obesity
Obesity is defined as having too much fat in the body. It is different from being overweight, which does not only refer to excess weight in the body from fat but also from bone, muscle, or water in the body. An individual with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above is considered to be obese while individuals with a body mass index of 25 to 29 already fall under the category of overweight.
Being obese and overweight are known risk factors for the development of numerous chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Health conditions arising from obesity and being overweight do not only cause premature death and extensive disability but can also cause financial stress due to the costs associated with healthcare.
Why You Should Become Food Smart
Making healthy food choices is important to avoid excessive weight gain. Using a calorie calculator can help in monitoring the amount of calories consumed per day while a calorie chart can help you keep track of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content of foods. Reading the nutrition labels of foods can also help you identify foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients.
Eating the right kinds of food will not only provide the body with all the nutrients it needs but will also help prevent health problems. Foods that are high in calories and have low nutrients can lead to obesity, which in turn can be a risk factor for many health conditions. Aside from a healthy diet, it is also necessary to get regular exercise for effective weight management.