The building blocks of good health

Kim Heintzman gives a nutrition talk at the SunUte Community Center on Thursday, Oct. 4. Her presentation included visuals breaking down the fat and sugar content of popular foods.
Ace Stryker | Southern Ute Drum

Contrary to what you might have heard, sugars and fats aren’t all bad.

That was part of the message delivered by Kim Heintzman, a dietician with the Southern Ute Tribal Health Department’s Patient Information and Prevention Services Division, during a noon-hour presentation Thursday, Oct. 24 at the SunUte Community Center.

“It’s too much of a good thing” that’s the problem, Heintzman said. Sugars, for example, have been part of the human diet for centuries, but traditionally the only source was fruit. Now there’s soda, juices, and dozens of other food and drink items carrying far more than the body needs.

The same is true of fats, Heintzman said, praising the end of the “fat-free era” in dieting. If you’re eating a salad, consider passing on the fat-free dressing in favor of something low in fat.

“Your body needs that fat to help metabolize those vitamins,” she said. “Healthy fats are important.”

But, again, moderation is key – and consuming the wrong kind of fats can be especially bad. Stick with unsaturated fats, Heintzman said: the ones that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil. Unhealthy saturated fats are solid at room temperature and include lard and butter, she said.

Regarding other foods, the best meat is lean and the best grain is whole, she said. Preparation is also key: There’s a big difference between baked chicken and fried chicken, for example.

“Try to eat your food the closest to the way it was grown, and it’s healthier,” Heintzman said.

Other tips for overall health: Stay hydrated, learn to read food labels, and exercise.

“Exercise makes everything better,” she said. “It manages stress. It increases circulation. It makes the world a better place.”

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