Sat-Fat Counting

20 Dec

At the start of the year my cholesterol level was elevated. I’m generally good, avoiding fatty foods and eating small-moderate portions. It just wasn’t fair! I nag my husband about his love for eating crispy pata (pork knuckles) and bulalo (beef shank and bone marrow soup), and I’m the one who gets high cholesterol???

I downloaded MyNetDiary for my smartphone to find out where the hell I was getting the cholesterol from. You enter your basic info – gender, height, weight, age, and activity level. You can enter a target weight and date for achieving that if you want. The free version was enough for my needs.

20121220-180504.jpg

MyNetDiary screenshot

Everyday, for about a month, I diligently logged everything I ate. It gave me a sense of whether I was eating too much or just right. There’s a report that details the calories, and the amount of fat, carbs, and protein (in grams) for all of your meals for the day. There’s also an analysis that tells you whether you’re on track for meeting your weight target and flags various things in your diet. My analysis usually came out with the following highlights:

  • Congratulations: n g of trans fat is less than 1% of calories, reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Low cholesterol: n mg, stay under 300 mg.
  • Low sodium: n mg of sodium, staying under 1,500 mg.
  • Include at least 5 g of fiber in your breakfast to help meet fiber and weight control goals. (I struggle with this.)

The revelation to me was that I would sometimes get flagged for consuming sat fat that was more than 7% of my caloric intake for the day. And guess my #1 culprit – crackers! I would get flagged when my sat consumption reached 7 g. A pack of three crackers contains almost half of that, with the “healthy” variant coming in at 3 g. That’s like three strips of bacon! And yes, our bodies turn sat fat to cholesterol.

Cracker nutritional information

Cracker information from http://www.myfitnesspal.com

I had no idea refined flours were this negatively potent. To think that, before this realization, I considered crackers healthy! You know, keep a pack in your bag so you never go hungry. I guess that worked for my mom ‘coz she had ulcer.

Another thing I learned was that even the seemingly healthier sandwiches from cafes (as compared with burgers) can give me a huge percentage of the calorie and saturated fat budget I have for one day. I really thought I was making a healthy choice by getting a sandwich instead of eating junk when I got hungry at work. I got around this by eating only half the sandwich for my snack, saving the other half for dinner.

I’ve since turned to nuts, raisins, and instant oatmeal for my snacks and I’m happy to report that by the middle of the year my cholesterol levels were back to normal.

We all have different food intake requirements. Using an app like MyNetDiary can help you understand what may be causing your high cholesterol, high uric acid, etc.

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