Glossary

The information in this glossary is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please speak with your health care provider to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about physical activity, weight control and related diseases and conditions.


Added sugars

These sugars, syrups and other caloric sweeteners are added when foods are processed or prepared. Added sugars do not include sugars that occur naturally, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk. Names for added sugars include brown sugar, cane sugar, corn sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose (when not naturally occurring), fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose (when not in milk or dairy products), maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose and turbinado sugar.

Diabetes

A person with this disease has blood glucose (sugar) levels that are above normal. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. Diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use the insulin it makes. Over time, having too much sugar in your blood may cause serious problems. It may damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves, and may cause heart disease and stroke. Regular physical activity, weight control and healthy eating may help you control your diabetes. You should also follow your healthcare provider’s advice and, when asked to, monitor your blood sugar level and take prescribed medication.

Fat

A major source of energy in the diet, fat helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Some kinds of fats, especially saturated fats and trans fatty acids, may raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk for heart disease. Other fats, such as unsaturated fats, do not raise blood cholesterol. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids.

Fat – Unsaturated

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils are a major source of unsaturated fat in the diet. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Other foods, such as avocados, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, most nuts, and olives are good sources of unsaturated fat.

Kilojoules (Calories)

A unit of energy in food. Carbohydrates, fats, protein and alcohol in the foods and drinks we consume provide food energy or ‘kilojoules’. Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 kilojoules per gram, fat has 9 kilojoules per gram, and alcohol has 7 kilojoules per gram.

Obesity

Obesity refers to excess body fat. Because body fat is usually not measured directly, a ratio of body weight to height is often used instead. It is defined as BMI. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Salt

Salt, also called sodium, helps your nerves and muscles work properly. Table salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Your kidneys control how much sodium is in your blood, releasing it when needed and flushing out any excess. If too much sodium builds up in your blood, this may raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to serious health problems.

Sugar-sweetened beverages

Drinks that are sweetened with added sugars often contain a large number of calories. These beverages include, but are not limited to, energy and sports drinks, fruit drinks, soda and fruit juices.

Trans-fatty acids

A type of fat produced when liquid fats (oils) are turned into solid fats through a chemical process called hydrogenation. Eating a large amount of trans-fatty acid, or ‘trans fats’, also raises blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but either do not make enough insulin or their bodies do not efficiently use the insulin they make. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to control their condition by losing weight through diet and exercise. They may also need to inject insulin or take medicine along with continuing to follow a healthy eating pattern and being physically active on a regular basis. Type 2 diabetes was known as ‘non-insulin-dependent diabetes’ or ‘adult-onset diabetes’ and is the most common form of diabetes. Children and adolescents who are overweight may also be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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