Did you know that according to old Food and Drug Administration Health and Nutrition Guidelines, Poptarts could have been considered healthy while avocados couldn’t? WHAT?! In case you’ve forgotten, Poptarts are the rectangular shaped, sugar frosted, food item filled with strawberry filling or other various flavors. At 200 calories per Poptart and 16 grams of sugar, it’s a wonder something like this could ever be considered healthy. I’m sure you’re wondering how this is the case. Well according to the FDA, foods have to meet specific standards. These range but often focus per subgroup instead of looking at all of the components of a food item. In the case of avocados, we’re looking at fats. The FDA analyzed total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and other nutrients. Below 3 grams of fat were considered a healthy option, which ruled out avocados but not technically Poptarts.
What is fat?
Fat is one of the main macronutrients in your diet. You NEED fat to survive. You do not need fat in excess, nothing in excess is ever good for you, but you do need fat to maintain a balanced diet. It’s great to be in shape but even healthy, physically fit people need fats in their diet. To start, they’re energy reserves. Your body will run through carbohydrates first. Carbs are your “quick energy”. But once those are depleted, it needs something more, something stronger so to speak and that’s where fats will kick in. (Want to learn how energy reserves play a role in your exercise routine? Click here). Fats also carry nutrients throughout your body, like vitamins.
How is fat bad if I need it?
Well we all know that fats can turn into stored, unutilized fat and that’s a slippery slope. Too much added fat in the body can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and more. This kind of dietary fat is referred to as saturated fats, think pizza or bacon. (Sorry, but I had to go there). Try and limit these kinds of fat as often as possible.
What are healthy fats?
So back to the beginning here, avocados are a healthy fat. They’re high in fat content but over 75% of which are naturally good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Avocados are also packed with B-vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium and copper.
Check out the Nutrition labels below to get an idea of what a healthy food label looks like. Remember, it's about looking at the entire label and weighing out what is more important. Still confused? You can also head over to the Nutrition Label page to learn more about how to read nutrition labels.
What you put into your body is essential to your health, become more proactive in your diet and get let's start getting healthy!