NOVA

NOVA scienceNOW: Aging

Student Handout

Total Fat: What Does It All Mean?


Did you know that the mix of different types of fats—monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans—in our diet may affect heart health? In this activity, you will review different types of fat and how each type may affect blood HDL and LDL levels. You will examine the fat content in food items by analyzing Nutrition Facts labels. Finally, you'll identify food items that contain one day's worth of recommended heart-healthy fat for a teen for one day.

  1. Find the Nutrition Facts label on one food item wrapper, then answer the questions on your "Nutritional Label Analysis" handout. When you are finished, answer the same questions for the remaining two food items.

  2. Next, choose four different fat-containing food items and determine a serving size for each so that the total amount of food you select contains one day's worth of recommended dietary fat for a teen. (To help you do this, review the charts on the board and read "Analyzing Food Items" on this handout.) When you are finished, write your food items and amounts in the chart that follows.


Analyzing Food Items

  • Use www.mypyramid.gov to help you find food items and calorie values.
  • The Fats in Food box below includes a list of some types and sources of fat.
  • Total fat calories for one day for girls average about 650 calories (more for athletes). Ten percent or less of total daily calories may come from saturated fats.
  • Total fat calories for one day for boys average about 700 calories (more for athletes).
  • Grams of saturated fat should be no more than 24 for girls and no more than 27 for boys.
  • Note that you are only looking at dietary fat. Balanced diets include carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fat.

Fats in Food
Some fat-containing foods:

Polyunsaturated Fat
soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower oils and foods made of these; pumpkin seeds; and for omega-3: halibut, salmon, tuna, green leafy vegetables, soy, walnuts

Monounsaturated Fat
canola and olive oil, peanut butter, avocados, almonds, cashews

Saturated Fat
butter, milk, meat, cheese, ice cream (depending upon the type)

Food Items Representing Healthy Dietary Fat for One Day

A.
Food item:
Food amount:
Calories from fat:
Grams saturated fat:

B.
Food item:
Food amount:
Calories from fat:
Grams saturated fat:

C.
Food item:
Food amount:
Calories from fat:
Grams saturated fat:

D.
Food item:
Food amount:
Calories from fat:
Grams saturated fat:

Total calories from fat =

Total grams of saturated fat =



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