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Nutrition Basics Index
The Food Guide Pyramid
The Food Guide Pyramid
The Food Groups
Putting It Together
What is a Serving?
Closer Look at Fats & Sugar
Rate Your Diet
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Recommended Dietary Allowances
All about Vitamins
All about Minerals
A Closer Look at Fat and Added Sugars
As you can see, fats and sugars are concentrated in foods from the Pyramid tip. These foods supply calories, but little or no vitamins and minerals. By using these foods sparingly to enhance the flavor of your food, you can have a diet that supplies needed vitamins and minerals without excess calories.

When choosing foods for a healthy diet, consider that fat and added sugars in your choices from the food groups, as well as the fats, oils, and sweets from the Pyramid tip.

Fat In general, foods that come from animals (meat group) are naturally higher in fat than foods that come from plants. But there are many low-fat dairy and lean meat choices available, and these foods can be prepared in ways that lower fat.

Fruits, vegetables, and grain products are naturally low in fat. But many popular items are prepared with fat, like french-fried potatoes.

Added Sugars These symbols represent sugars added to foods in processing or at the table, not the sugars found naturally in fruits and milk. It is the added sugars that provide calories with few vitamins and minerals.

Most of the added sugars in the typical diet come from foods in the Pyramid tip - soft drinks, candy, sweet desserts, or syrups and table sugar we add to foods like coffee, tea or desserts.
For example:
Baked Potato

Calories: 120
Fat: Trace
14 French Fries

Calories: 225
Fat: 11 g
Added sugars in food are found in items such as canned fruit with heavy syrup, cakes and cookies. The following chart shows you the amounts of added sugars in some popular foods. You may be surprised!

Fat and Sugar Tips:
» Choose lower fat foods from each food group most often.
» Go easy on fats and sugar added to foods in cooking or at the table
» Choose fewer foods that are high in sugars - candy, sweet desserts, and soft drinks.

The following chart lists commonly used foods in each food group and the amount of fat and sugar in each. Only a few of the thousands of foods we eat are listed. However, they will give you an idea of foods from each food group that are higher and lower in fat.

The Food Guide Pyramid symbol (») next to the food items means that food is one of the lowest fat choices you can make in that food group. You can use the food label to count fat in specific foods. Many labels on food lists the grams of fat in a serving.

How much is a gram of fat?

To help you visualize how much fat is in these foods, keep in mind that 1 teaspoon of butter has 4 grams of fat.
For this amount of food... count this many...
Bread, Cereals, Rice & Pasta Group
Eat 6 to 11 servings daily Servings Grams of Fat
»Rice, pasta, cooked, 1/2 cup 1 Trace
»Bread, 1 slice 1/2 1
»Dinner roll, bagel, english muffin, 1 1 2
Plain soda crackers, 2 1/2 3
  Breakfast cereal, 1 oz 1/2 Check label
Pancakes, 4" diameter, 2 2 3
Doughnut, 1 medium (2 oz) 2 11
Croissant, 1 large (2 oz) 1 12
Cake, frosted, 1/16 of average 1 13
Fruit Pie, 2 crusts, 1/6 of 8" pie 2 19
Vegetables Group
Eat 3-5 servings daily Servings Grams of Fat
»Vegetables, cooked, 1/2 cup 1 Trace
»Vegetables, leafy, raw, 1 cup 1 Trace
»Vegetables, nonleafy, raw, 1/2 cup 1 Trace
Potatoes, scalloped, 1/2 cup 1 4
French fries, 10 1 8
Potato salad, 1/2 cup 1 8
Fruit Group
Eat 2-4 servings daily Servings Grams of Fat
»Whole fruit: medium apple, orange, pear 1 Trace
»Fruit, raw or canned, 1/2 cup 1 Trace
»Fruit juice, unsweetened, 1/2 cup 1 Trace
Fruit shakes, 1 large cup 1 2-4
Avocado, 1/4 whole 1 9
Milk, Yoghurt and Cheese Group
Eat 2 to 3 servings daily Servings Grams of Fat
»Skim milk, 1 cup 1 Trace
»Plain nonfat yoghurt, 8 oz 1 Trace
  Low fat milk, 2%, 1 cup 1 5
  Whole milk, 1 cup 1 8
  Natural cheddar, 1-1/2 oz 1 14
  Processed cheese, 2 oz 1 18
  Cottage cheddar, 1/2 cup 1/4 5
  Ice cream, 1/2 cup 1/3 7
  Ice milk, 1/2 cup 1/3 3
  Frozen yoghurt, 1/2 cup 1/2 2
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts Group
Eat 5 to 7 oz. daily Servings Grams of Fat
»Lean meat, poultry, fish, cooked 3 oz. 6
»Dry beans and peas, cooked, 1/2 cup 1 oz. Trace
Egg, 1 medium 1 oz. 5
Chicken, fried with skin 3 oz. 13
Ground beef, lean, cooked 3 oz. 16
Bologna, 2 slices 2 oz. 16
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp 1 oz. 16
Nuts, 1/3 cup 1 oz. 22
Fats, Oil, and Sweets
Use sparingly Grams of Sugar Grams of Fat
Butter, margarine, 1 tsp. 0 4
Mayonnaise, 1 tbsp. 0.5 11
Salad dressing, 1 tbsp. 2 7
Reduced calorie salad dressing, 1 tbsp. 3 *
Sugar, jam, jelly, 1 tsp. 4 0
Cola, 12 fl. oz. 36 0
Fruit drink, -ade, 12 fl. oz. 25 0
Chocolate bar, 1 oz. 15 9
Sherbet, 1/2 cup 25 2
Fruit sorbet, 1/2 cup 28 0
Gelatin dessert, 1/2 cup 18 0
What about alcoholic beverages?
If adults choose to drink, they should have no more that 1 to 2 drinks a day. Alcoholic beverages provide calories, but little or no nutrients. These standard-size drinks each provide about the same amount of alcohol.

Alcoholic Beverages
Beer, 12 fl. oz. (1 regular can) 150
Wine, dry, 5 fl. oz. 100
Liquor, 1-1/2 oz.* 100
* A mixer such as a soft drink will add more calories.
Rate Your Diet in the next section to find if you are eating right.

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