Wellness Tip Protein Content of Common Food Items
ITEM PROTEIN (GRAMS)
3 ounces lean meat, poultry, or fish 20-27
lA block (3 ounces) tofu 7
1 cup cooked beans 15-19
1 cup yogurt 8-13
1 ounce cheese 6-8
1/2-1 cup cereals 1-6
1 egg cooked 6
1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese 23-28
1 cup milk 8
1 ounce nuts 2-6
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page. (http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/ bhnrc/ndl; retrieved May 17, 2013).
Research shows that some protein-rich foods can give you a quick mental boost, which can be helpful before an exam daily calories, depending on the individual’s age. Because people in the United States meet the recommendations for protein, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize a variety of low-fat protein choices to encourage people to avoid eating too many calories.
Fats Essential in Small Amounts
Fats, also known as lipids, are the most concentrated source of energy, at 9 calories per gram. The fats stored in your body represent usable energy, help insulate your body, and support and cushion your organs. Fats in the diet help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and they add flavor and texture to foods. Fats are the major fuel for the body during rest and light activity.
Two fats linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid the essential fatty acids are necessary components of the diet. They are used to make compounds that are key regulators of such body functions as the maintenance of blood pressure, vision, and the progress of a healthy pregnancy.
Types and Sources of Fats Most of the fats in foods are fairly similar in composition, generally including a molecule of glycerol (an alcohol) with three fatty acid chains attached to it. The resulting structure is called a triglyceride. Animal fat, for example, is primarily made of triglycerides. Within a triglyceride, differences in the fatty acid structure result in different types of fats. Depending on this structure, a fat may be unsaturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated. (The essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids are both polyunsaturated.) The different types of fatty acids have different characteristics and different effects on your health.
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Food fats are often composed of both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids; the dominant type of fatty acid determines the fat’s characteristics. Food fats containing large amounts of saturated fatty acids are usually solid at room temperature; they are generally found naturally in animal products. The leading sources of saturated fat in the American diet are red meats (hamburger, steak, roasts), whole milk, cheese, hot dogs, and lunch meats. Food fats containing large amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids usually come from plant sources and are liquid at room temperature. Olive, canola, safflower, and peanut oils contain mostly monounsaturated fatty acids. Corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils contain mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Hydrogenation When unsaturated vegetable oils undergo the process of hydrogenation, a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids is produced, creating a more solid fat from a liquid oil. Hydrogenation also changes some unsaturated fatty acids into trans fatty acids (trans fats), unsaturated fatty acids with an atypical shape that affects their behavior in the body.
Trans fats can be found in many foods. Some occur naturally in animal fat, but the majority of trans fat in the American diet comes from partially hydrogenated fat. Food manufacturers use hydrogenation to increase the stability of an oil so it can be reused for deep frying, to improve the texture of certain foods (to make pastries and pie crusts flakier, for example), and to extend the shelf life of foods made with oil. Hydrogenation is also used to transform liquid vegetable oils into margarine or shortening.
Many baked and fried foods are prepared with hydrogenated vegetable oils, which means they can be relatively high in saturated and trans fatty acids. Leading sources of trans fats in the American diet are deep-fried fast foods such as french fries and fried chicken (typically fried in vegetable shortening rather than oil), baked and snack foods, and stick margarine.
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