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Calories, Carbs, Fiber, Cholesterol, Phytosterols

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Change My Profile K.Calories K.Joules Carbs.g Fiber.g Chol.mg.UL Phyto.mg
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Calories/Kilojoules

These are units that measure the amount of energy that is released from food during the body's respiration (breathing) process. In the U.S, calories or kilocalories (kcal) is typically used. Some countries use the kilojoule, which is also the recommended unit of the WHO (World Health Organization).
1 kilocalorie = 4.182 kilojoules
Calories are ubiquitous with weight loss and weight management. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. The common goal is to eat 500 calories less a day to lose one pound a week.
DV - 2000
RDA - No recommendations. Use our BMI Calculator to determine your calorie needs.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the starches and sugars in food of which our bodies need for energy. They are typically classified as "simple" and "complex". Simple carbohydrates, because of their molecular makeup, are easily absorbed and make for a quick energy source. The health concern is that we obtain these sugars from natural sources such as milk, fruit and fruit juices which also contain important vitamins, minerals and fiber as opposed to the simple carbohydrates found in refined sugars that we typically find in table sugar, and the added sugar in cakes, cookies, candies and processed cereals. Over consumption of these food sources typically contain "empty calories" and tend to cause sudden spikes in our blood sugar and insulin production, which over time may cause health problems. Since we need about 40% of our calories to come from carbohydrates for energy, choose from the Complex carbohydrates. Because of their molecular makeup they are more slowly absorbed by the body and tend not to cause pronounced insulin and blood sugar changes. Healthy choices can be found in brown rice, oats, other whole grains, green leafy and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc.
DV - 300g - UL - Upper Limits
RDA - Women 31-50 years - 130g - UL - see AMDR
RDA - Women Pregnant - 175g - UL - see AMDR
RDA - Women Lactating - 210g - UL - see AMDR
RDA - Men 31-50 years - 130g - UL - see AMDR
AMDR - 45-65g

Fiber

Fiber is the food component necessary to maintain good colon health by preparing food waste to efficiently pass through the intestinal tract, ridding our bodies of harmful bacteria and toxins. Soluble fiber, found in the pulp and inside portion of fruits and vegetables, legumes, oats and barley, absorb water to keep the stool soft for easy passage. Insoluble fiber from the skins of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, celery and corn, provide the bulk to push the waste through. Eating whole foods including the skins whenever possible, would provide us naturally with both types of fiber. Since good colon health has been shown to reduce the risk of colon disorders and cancers, regularly consuming 25g or more daily would be a beneficial goal.
DV - 25g
RDA - Women 31-50 years - 25g
RDA - Men 31-50 years - 38g
UL - No recommendations

Cholesterol.UL

Dietary cholesterol is a fatlike substance found in animal sources and is also manufactured by the liver.
It is a basic ingredient in the formation of male and female hormones and cell membranes.
Since our liver can produce all the cholesterol our bodies need, it is not necessary to consume it from food sources. High levels of blood cholesterol, specifically of the type LDL (L for Lousy!) can lead to plague build up of the blood vessels and a higher risk of possible heart disease and heart attacks.
Recent controversy over the consumption of dietary cholesterol suggests that ingesting dietary cholesterol may not have as much negative impact on blood level cholesterol as once thought in relation to the positive effect of a diet rich in "good" fats, fruits and vegetables, which tend to lower LDL levels. Since there is still much discussion and research to be done, limiting the consumption of high cholesterol foods and choosing those that may also include other important nutritive values such as organ meats, liver and dairy products would seem to be a best health choice.
DV - 300g - UL
RDA - No required role. No RDA set.

Phytosterols

Phytosterol is one of several dietary compounds known as Sterols and are similar to cholesterol in structure and purpose but are found in plant sources.
They are naturally present in unrefined vegetable and olive oils, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Plant sterols are also widely used to enrich foods. Margarine, yogurt, milk and soy milk are just a few of those foods. Studies show that adequate consumption of plant based phytosterols may significantly reduce the risk of heart disease by inhibiting the absorption of intestinal cholesterol and reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Many clinical trials suggest an intake at the lowest levels of 800 to 1000 mg daily to significantly effect that benefit.
DV - No recommendations have been set.
RDA - No recommendations




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Sources:
ChooseMyPlate.gov
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
US Department of Health and Human Services
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Daily Reference Intakes
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Labeling and Nutrition Reports (FDA)
Office of Dietary Supplements-National Institutes of Health
Lipophilic and Hydrophilic Antioxidant Capacities of Common Foods in the United States.
The Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center"


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