The proper amount of dietary fat varies

EATING WELL

February 05, 1991|By Colleen Pierre, R.D.

Inquiring minds want to know:

Q: How much fat is enough?

A: If you're a normal-weight woman, not trying to gain or lose weight (is there such a thing?), you average 1,800 calories per day. Thirty percent of calories from fat would be about 60 grams. If you're on a 1,200-calorie weight-loss diet, 40 grams of fat would be your max. Guys consume 2,800 to 3,000 calories a day for maintenance, so 90 to 100 grams of fat is OK. Men losing weight on 2,000 calories a day can have 66 grams.

Q: How much fat is there in my grilled cheese sandwich?

A: Two slices of American cheese (about 2/3 -ounce each) contain about 10 grams of fat. Two slices of bread provide 1 gram each. One tablespoon of butter or margarine (for grilling) adds another 10, for a grand total of 22 grams of fat for one little sandwich.

Q: What about low-calorie salad dressing?

A: Regular French has 6 grams a tablespoon, Low-Cal has only 1.

Regular Italian has 7 grams a table

spoon, Low Cal has 1.5. Real mayonnaise contains 5 grams a tablespoon, Low Cal has 2.

Q: Is low-fat milk a good choice?

A: Whole milk, which claims to be only 4 percent fat, actually contains 8 grams of fat per cup. Low fat (2 percent milk) has 5 grams of fat per cup, while skim milk contains only a trace of fat (less than 1 gram). Low-fat milk isn't really so low-fat after all, but it is a step in the right direction.

Q: Do vegetables contain much fat?

A: One-half cup of cooked asparagus contains no fat; however, butter sauce adds about 3 grams. A large stalk of freshly steamed broccoli contains no fat, but cheese sauce can add nearly 12 grams of fat. Cooked

carrots are fat-free, but brown sugar and butter glaze adds 2 or 3 grams of fat.

XTC L In general, vegetables are fat-free. Sauces change all that.

Q: Is a baked potato a good substitute for a burger lunch?

A: A plain baked potato contains no fat. However, bacon and cheese topping adds 18 grams. Cheese sauce adds 15 grams. Sour cream and chives adds 23 grams of fat.

Q: How about chicken instead of a burger?

A: A small, 3-ounce burger contains 11 grams of fat. Six chicken nuggets offer 16. A chicken fillet contains 10 grams of fat on a sandwich, 19 when made into a club.

A grilled chicken breast contains only 3 grams of fat, but on a sandwich, because of the sauce, it may soar to 13.

Q: Do I have to give up all high-fat foods?

A: Certainly not. But when you make a high-fat choice, you must make a lot of low-fat choices to stay within your gram limit for the day.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

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