Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Diet, But Know Your Fats!

By Alexandra Williams

Death in middle life is usually due to the giving out of various vital parts of the body when subjected to strain. Nervous collapse, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, apoplexy, heart failure and kidney disease are some of the types of functional diseases that are likely to set in at this time.

Like carbohydrates, fats contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are used as a source of energy: they are also stored beneath the skin helping to insulate us against the cold. Do not think that by avoiding fat in your diet you will stay thin and elegant! If you eat too much carbohydrate and protein, you will convert some of it into fat, so you will put on weight. You must balance the amount of energy containing foods with the amount of energy that you use when you take exercise

Although the same nutritive essentials-fuel, protein, mineral salts and vitamins-are required to nourish the body from the cradle to the grave, it should be emphasized that the amounts needed are less in the latter part of life, especially after seventy, than in the more active adult years.

There is no further need of tissue-building materials for growth, and the amount of these substances for tissue maintenance or repair is at a minimum. For this reason, the protein requirement in old age is reduced, while at the same time an excess of protein is more difficult for the body to handle than ever before. The calorie requirement is also materially reduced for two reasons:) Less energy is used in muscular activity2) Basal metabolism is lowered

It is far easier and wiser to cut down moderately on one's fuel intake and take more exercise when the tendency to put on weight first manifests itself, than to try to take off excess weight by radical dieting or excessive exercising later on. This advice should not be taken to support excessive reduction in the amount of fuel foods with the desire of attaining underweight, which is fully as undesirable as overweight.

Choose fats and oils containing monounsaturates (e.g. olive and rapeseed oils) and polyunsaturates (e.g. sunflower, corn and rapeseed oils) instead of saturates. In moderation these are not associated with an increased risk of heart disease - but still use them sparingly. There are two types of essential fats, which must be supplied by the diet in small amounts: omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. found in oily fish, walnuts, omega-3 enriched eggs, and rapeseed and soya oil) and omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn and soya oil and spreads made from these).

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