If I take in 2,000 calories, how many should come from fat?
Food nutritionist Michele Williams often hears questions like that, and she loves answering the queries.
Williams offers a class about nutrition labels. “It's my best class because in 10 seconds I can teach someone if a packaged food is good or bad,” she said.
Packaged foods have lists of numbers on the back, but Williams focuses on calories. If more than 20 percent of a serving's total calories come from fat, then don't buy it, she says. For people who want to lose weight, keep fat calories at 10 percent.
“The average American gets anywhere from 25 percent to 35 percent fat in their daily intake; that's why we have an obesity epidemic,” Williams said. “If they cut that to 20 percent or 10 percent, then the weight comes off.”
Williams eats what is known as a plant-based diet, and she advocates others try the no-oil, no meat diet because eating fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables is an easy way to reduce calorie intake and lose weight.
“If you buy packaged foods, it is easier to track calorie intake,” she said. “In my classes we talk about ingredients and understanding the truth behind ingredients."
Williams will teach her next class at 6 p.m., Monday, April 29, at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library. She is a Food for Life instructor through The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The program was designed by physicians, nurses and registered dietitians.
Williams has 27 years of experience as an outcomes-based natural medicine pharmacist. She recently moved back to Lewes after traveling the nation for years as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. She holds a bachelor of science in pharmacy and a master of business administration, and she is pursuing a doctorate in public policy and administration with a health policy specialty.
In the next few months, Williams hopes to rent a location where she will teach classes in the Cape Region.
For her class, Williams uses examples of bad foods that look good. One example is semolina, another name for white flour. Manufacturers didn't want to use white flour on the label so they changed it, Williams said.
“People look at their labels, and they don't realize what is in there,” Williams said. “It is confusing for people, and that's why I tell my students to focus on calories and look at the ingredients.”
For more information on the Food for Life program, go to www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ffl/training/food-for-life-training-about-food-for-life-program. For more information on Williams or for information on her classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.