Carbohydrates qualify as the dieter's best friend
Sugar and other carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, the same as protein. Fats
have more than twice the calories--9 per gram.
. Researchers are also learning that not only do calories count, but fat calories count
more than others. The body converts dietary fat to stored fat relatively easily, using just
three percent of its energy to convert the remaining 97 percent to fat deposits.
Converting carbohydrates to stored fat involves a more complicated series of metabolic
steps, requiring 23 percent of the carbohydrate's calories. The bottom line is that
calories from fat-rich foods are much more likely to end up as body fat than calories
That's why experts recommend that weight management plans emphasize
carbohydrates over fat. However, overeating any form of calories will result in weight
An overall weight management plan should:
Be nutritious, well-balanced, and include a variety of foods.
Aim for a weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Include favorite foods (in smaller portions), so you don't feel deprived.
Involve regular physical activity. (Choose something that's fun and vary your routine, so
you don't get bored.)
Eating to Stay in Shape
You need no special diet to be active in sports or other regular physical activity.
Following the Dietary Guidelines is the best overall plan for healthful eating.
Since carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source, researchers have looked at
what type of carbohydrate best fuels strenuous exercise. For long workouts (two hours
or more), consuming a sugar-sweetened snack or beverage during exercise can
enhance performance and stave off fatigue. And recent studies with endurance athletes
indicate that eating carbohydrate foods before, during and after exercise helps the body
maintain glycogen stores that fuel activity. Sugars and other moderate-to-high glycemic
index foods are recommended to help prevent fatigue and maintain endurance.
Seven Tips About Sugar and Weight Management
. Overweight people eat less sugar than lean people. Researchers think that thin people
have more active lifestyles, which not only keep them trim, but allow them to eat more of
the foods they like.
. Sugar and fat tend to be reciprocal in the diet. That is, when sugar consumption is
lowered, fat intake increases and vice versa.
. Most people who think they have a sweet tooth really have a "fat tooth." The hunger
for something sweet is, for many people, really a genetically and culturally determined
desire for the taste and texture of fat.
. Many desserts that we think of as "sweets" are really richer in fats. Ice cream, for
example, has more calories from fat than from sugars.
. At 15 calories per teaspoon, sugar is not particularly fattening. Two teaspoons of
sugar (30 calories) can greatly enhance a healthy breakfast of branflakes (90 calories/1
oz.), strawberries (25 calories/half cup) and low fat milk (50 calories/half cup).
. Looking for a low calorie or low fat sweet? Try angel food cake, frozen fruit ices or
sorbets, low fat frozen yogurt and fruit shakes made with low fat milk.
. Calorie-saving tip: Substitute one teaspoon of jam or jelly for butter or margarine on
your breakfast toast.