Do You Know the Important Obesity Terms? Part Two

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Read the first part of Important Obesity Terms.


    Health halo - A term used to describe a food as nutrient-rich and associated with supporting one's health. Therefore, justifying consumption of large or even unlimited amounts of the food, because of its perceived attributes. 


    Metabolic syndrome - A cluster of medical problems that, when they occur together, may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. These problems are also sometimes classified as “risk factors” and include a large waist size, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels (pre-diabetes and diabetes), high levels of triglycerides, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL).  HDL is the good cholesterol whose levels are credited with protecting against disease.

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    Nutrient dense - When foods and drinks provide important vitamins, minerals and are low in calories, they are often classified as “nutrient dense” or nutrient-rich. Typically these foods occur naturally (fruits, vegetables) or these foods and drinks have not been processed or prepared in a manner that adds a lot of extra calories from refined starches, sodium, fats, or sugars.


    The category includes fat-free and low-fat milk products or substitutes (soy, almond, rice milks); fruits and vegetables; protein like beans and peas, eggs, lean meats, poultry, seafood, unprocessed nuts and seeds; and whole grains.


    Saturated fat -This type of fat is a solid at room temperature. You find saturated fat in full-fat and low-fat dairy products including butter, cheese, cream, yogurt, ice cream, milk, coconut oil, lard, palm oil, ready-to-eat meats, the skin and fat of chicken and turkey, red meat, and certain oils. Eating a diet high in saturated fat is considered a risk factor for higher cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease.


    Trans fatty acids - This is the tasty fat used in many of the processed foods we eat. Trans fat is produced when liquid fats or oils are turned into solid fats through a chemical process called hydrogenation. Eating a diet high in trans fats is associated with higher blood cholesterol levels, obesity, and risk of heart disease and strokes. 


    Some researchers suggest that trans fats are especially addictive because of their unique chemical properties.  There has been an effort in the U.S. to remove trans fats from all processed foods because of its heavy use in manufactured foods and its deleterious impact on health.


    Whole grains - This category includes grains and grain products made from the entire grain seed (often called the kernel), which consists of the bran, endosperm, and/or germ. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, it has to retain nearly the same proportions of bran, endosperm, and germ as the original grain in order for it to be called a whole grain.


    Many whole grains (not all) are good sources of dietary fiber.  You can find whole grains in food categories like cereals, pastas, rice, crackers, and breads.  100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, whole wheat flour, oat flour, rolled oats and bulgur are just some examples of whole grain foods. 


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    Amy Hendel is a health professional, journalist and host of Food Rescue, Simple Smoothies and What’s for Lunch?  Author of Fat Families, Thin Families and The 4 Habits of Healthy Families, she tweets health headlines daily @HealthGal1103.  Catch her guest appearances on Marie! on Hallmark and other local and national news and talk shows.  

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Published On: September 03, 2013

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