Total fat is needed for good health. Fats supply energy and essential fatty acids and promote absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E. However, high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet are linked to increased blood cholesterol levels and greater risk of heart disease. The daily recommended intake of total fat should be less than 30% of total calories. It is important to understand that 30% is an upper limit. Since there are nine calories in each gram of fat, a person who consumes 2000 calories a day should have less than 65 grams of total fat.
Saturated Fat has been shown to increase the total blood cholesterol level. Eating too much fat or cholesterol, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Your diet should provide less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat. As with total fat, the 10% reference value represents an upper limit. SOURCES: meat, fish, poultry, milk, butter, cheese and vegetable oils.
Cholesterol is essential to our well-being, as it helps to build cell membranes, to produce hormones, and to manufacture bile acids. However, the liver is capable of producing all of the cholesterol needed for good health. While cholesterol is essential, excess intake is harmful. The daily intake of cholesterol should not exceed 300 milligrams regardless of the calorie intake. SOURCES: egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, cream, whole milk, butter and lard.
Sodium plays an essential role in regulating fluids and blood pressure. However, many studies in diverse populations have shown that high sodium intake, is associated with an increase in cases of high blood pressure. The daily reference value for sodium represents an upper limit. Your daily intake should not exceed 2,400 milligrams of sodium regardless of your calorie intake. SOURCES: canned vegetables, frozen dinners, pickles, processed cheeses, table salt, pretzels, potato chips, and nuts.
Potassium is needed for the healthy, steady functioning of the nervous system. Potassium also supports the normal functioning of the heart, muscles, kidneys and blood. Studies suggest that eating foods high in potassium helps to counter some of the effects of high sodium consumption on blood pressure. The recommended daily intake of potassium is 3,500 mg regardless of the calorie intake. SOURCES: fruits and Vegetables, specifically bananas, apricots, prunes, cantaloupe, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables. Potassium is also found in milk, fish and meats.
Total Carbohydrate provides the body with the energy it needs to function. There are 4 calories in each gram of carbohydrate. The daily recommended intake of total carbohydrates is approximately 60% of total calories. Dietary carbohydrates also include the complex carbohydrates, starch and fiber. SOURCES: Grains, flours, cereals, baked goods, sugars, pastas, vegetables and fruits.
Dietary Fiber is the part of plant materials that our body cannot digest. It passes out of the body as waste moving food along through the stomach and intestines. It helps to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and other intestinal problems. Fiber has been associated with a reduced incidence of colon cancer. SOURCES: Fruit, vegetables and whole grain products.
Protein provides the body with energy. It is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and muscle tissues. Protein also helps maintain the proper acid alkali balance. Daily Reference values established for protein are based on age and sex. SOURCES: meat, fish, eggs, poultry, dairy products, beans and nuts.
The Percentage Daily Values that appear on food labels, are calculated based on the Daily Reference Values. They represent the percentage of the Daily Value that a person gets by eating one serving of the labeled food. This percentage is based on a diet of 2000 calories per day.