Families Eat Too Many SoFAS

No, not the kind you sit on.  SoFAS stands for “Solid Fats and Added Sugars”.  Even though the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than about 15% of daily calories should come from SoFAS, Americans of both sexes and all ages get closer to 35% of their daily calories from SoFAS – nearly 800 calories a day.  This isn’t a big surprise when considering the top food sources of SoFAS:  pies, cakes, cookies, donuts; fruit, energy, and sports drinks; pizza; ice cream; and sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs.  Each of these foods adds about 100-150 calories on average to the daily American diet.

Solid Fats are saturated or trans-fats that are solid at room temperature.  Added sugars are in foods that have sugar added to them during processing or preparation.  SoFAS also are known as “empty calories.”  Many people eat those empty calories in place of nutrient-rich foods their bodies need.  SoFAS provide little or no nutritional value and they can have serious implications on health, including heart disease, weight gain, and tooth decay.

Nutrient dense foods provide key nutrients for the calories consumed.  These nutrients build, repair, and maintain body tissues, regulate body processes, and give the body fuel for an active lifestyle.  Nutrient-rich food choices fill you up so there is little room left for the empty calories from SoFAS that offer few nutrients the body can use.  Pick foods rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats from all the food groups before eating foods with SoFAS.

To see how many empty calories are in some favorite foods, check out How Do I Count Empty Calories?  You can calculate your exact calorie needs on the ChooseMyPlate Super Tracker site.  Don’t want to count calories but want to be sure not to eat too many empty calories?  Read the Nutrition Facts Label on food packages and choose foods that are lower in fat and have less total sugar.