Ask The Nutrition Experts

How much should I weigh?

You should weigh what is considered “healthy” for your size and shape, and that may not be what you weighed in high school. If you have gained less than 10 pounds since becoming an adult and are considered “healthy” by your physician, you may be at your “healthy weight.” Guidelines for determining a healthy weight include a body mass index (BMI) of 19 through 25, which you can calculate with our interactive BMI Calculator. Being above the range increases your risk of health problems and should prompt you to reevaluate your eating and exercise behaviors.

How much weight should I lose each week?

Slow, gradual weight loss of 1/2 to 1 pound per week is highly recommended over quick weight loss. This type of weight reduction is encouraged because you are focusing more on changing your lifestyle habits rather than changing numbers on a scale. Weight loss is dependent on a change in lifestyle habits and these changes are made slowly.

How much fat should I eat a day?

All Americans are encouraged to limit their daily fat intake to 30% of total calories. What is confusing for most people is translating 30% into their personal eating habits and realizing how much fat that is. To calculate this figure accurately for yourself, you first would record the number of calories you ate for 4 days. Determine your average calorie intake for those 4 days. Next, multiply .30 x the average calorie intake, which gives you the average number of calories from fat. Share this number by 9 (the number of calories in 1 gram of fat) and the result is the number of grams of fat you should eat on a daily basis to achieve your personal 30% goal. If you do not want to calculate your own average fat intake, you could select a daily fat gram goal based on the calorie levels below:
If you eat…
1,600 calories
1,800 calories
2,000 calories
2,200 calories
2,400 calories Allow yourself up to…
53 grams of fat
60 grams of fat
66 grams of fat
73 grams of fat
80 grams of fat

Advertisements promoting quick weight loss bombard us in almost every magazine. Is it really possible to lose 30 pounds in 30 days?

For some individuals who adopt very restrictive eating plans for 30 days, this quick weight loss is attainable. The much more important question to ask is how long these individuals are able to maintain that weight loss. Most research shows that people who lose weight quickly gain it back just as quickly because the diets require unrealistically low calorie intakes. And remember, not all of that weight loss is fat tissue, because water and probably muscle mass are contributing to the total. Concentrating on making slow, gradual changes in lifestyle habits, such as including low-fat foods into your eating plan and incorporating more physical activity into your daily life, are the most successful way to lose weight permanently.

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I am so confused by the terms “low fat,” “skim” and “1/2 percent” milk. Could you explain the difference to me?

Skim and 1/2 percent (or nonfat) milk contain only 86 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per cup. 1% low-fat milk contains 102 calories and 2.6 g. of fat per cup, and 2% low-fat milk has 121 calories and 4.7 g. of fat per cup. The names for these milk products have again undergone change, and soon you may see skim milk called “fat free,” 1 percent called “light,” and 2 percent renamed “reduced-fat milk.”

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