In the list of different components of food that are deemed unhealthy, you'll oftentimes hear terms like "fat grams" and "calories" thrown around. While it's true that things like fat, calories, sodium and sugar can be major contributors to weight gain, heart problems and many other conditions, it's important to also understand how these different elements are important for your body.
Calories and fat grams are oftentimes the most frequently compared terms of all in this regard. While you may be trained to look for the options that have the fewest grams of fat or the fewest calories, these are not necessarily the healthiest foods. Read on for a guide to how to determine which of these elements of food is more important for you to be concerned with.
Fat is a necessary part of each cell in the body. Without adequate fat deposits, your cells and therefore your body, would not function as they properly should. However, the amount of fat that is required is typically quite low. Due to the high levels of fat in many different types of processed foods, meats and other food items available commonly at this point, it's easy to extend beyond that level quickly.
Fat is measured in grams. Before you limit the number of grams of fat that you eat, however, it's much more important that you consider the types of fat you're consuming. Fat is generally split up into two broader groups: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are those that are solid at room temperature and are considered to be more dangerous for your health. These fats are oftentimes found in processed foods and red meat. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are liquids at room temperature. They more often come from plant sources and are responsible for raising the levels of good cholesterol in your blood; these fats can actually lower your weight and reduce health concerns. If you're looking at grams of fat, saturated fat is especially bad, while unsaturated fat is healthy in larger doses.
Calories are a part of every single food that you eat. Technically, a calorie is a quantity of energy, and the number of calories that a food has is proportional to the amount of energy that it provides to your body. Thus, the higher the number of calories, the more work it takes for your body to use up that energy. Excess calories are those that are brought into your body but not burned off through normal bodily processes or activity like exercise. They are stored as extra weight.
Limiting your calories too severely actually results in denying your body the energy that it requires in order to function as it should. For this reason, you need to pay attention to both the calories and the total fat grams that you eat as well. It's difficult to distinguish one as being more important than the other.