Fat. The fat in the foods you eat can make you fat! While too much of any kind of fat can make you gain weight, small amounts of fats are needed for good health. These "better" fats are called polyunsaturates and monounsaturates. Polyunsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, soybean and sesame. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, canola and peanut oils, and in avocado. Moderate amounts of these "better" fats can be eaten daily. Saturated fats are found in meats, dairy products and certain oils such as coconut, palm and palm kernel. Trans-fatty acids are found in margarine and have been shown to adversely effect your cholesterol profile. They may promote poor cardiovascular health and should be avoided.
Carbohydrates. The word "carbohydrate" is a nutritional term for what is more commonly known as "starch" or "sugar". We need to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates because they provide calories or energy for the body, as well as consume other phytonulrients. There are three major types of carbohydrates: complex, refined and simple. Complex or whole-grain carbohydrates are the ones we should eat for good health. They are relatively low in fat while rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. Examples of complex carbohydrates are starchy foods such as potatoes, yams, corn, whole-wheat bread, cereal and pasta, brown rice, beans, peas and lentils.
Refined carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, pasta, cookies, pies, cakes and most baked desserts. It is best to avoid these types of carbohydrates in general because they are high in calories and low in essential nutrients. Simple carbohydrates are also known as "sugars". Some simple carbohydrates are good to eat such as whole, fresh fruits. Other simple carbohydrates should be avoided while you are on a weight-loss diet program. Examples of these include white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, malt syrup, jams and jellies. It is easy to overeat both refined and simple carbohydrates. Since the total number of calories is important while following a weight-loss regimen, it is recommended to limit these types of foods as much as you can. Remember to have a balanced meal every day!