Weight Loss Glossary
Losing weight but don’t quite understand it? Or maybe your stuck at one weight! This Weight Loss Glossary will allow you to understand your weight loss (or lack thereof)!
Adipose tissue (add-ih-POS-e) Fat tissue in the body.
Body Mass Index (BMI) A measure of body weight relative to height. BMI can be used to determine if people are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. A body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 up to 25 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 up to 30 refers to overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obese.
Calorie (CAL-or-ee) A unit of energy in food. Foods have carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Some beverages have alcohol. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Proteins have 4 calories per gram. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram.
Carbohydrate (kar-bow-HIGH-drate) A major source of energy in the diet. There are two kinds of carbohydrates -@ simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are sugars and complex carbohydrates include both starches and fiber. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. In nature, both the simple sugars and the complex starches come packaged in foods like oranges, apples, corn, wheat, and milk. Refined or processed carbohydrates are found in cookies, cakes, and pies.
Complex Carbohydrate Starch and fiber. Complex carbohydrate comes from plants. When complex carbohydrate is substituted for saturated fat, the saturated fat reduction helps lower blood cholesterol. Foods high in starch include breads, cereals, pasts, rice, dried beans and peas, corn, and lima beans.
Cholesterol (ko-LES-te-rol) A fat-like substance that is made by the body and is found naturally in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Foods high in cholesterol include liver and organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats. Cholesterol is carried in the blood. When cholesterol levels are too high, some of the cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels. Over time, the deposits can build up causing the blood vessels to narrow and blood flow to decrease. The cholesterol in food, like saturated fat, tends to raise blood cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease. Total blood cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dl are considered high. Levels between 200-239 mg/dl are considered borderline high. Levels under 200 mg/dl are considered desirable.
- Blood Cholesterol – Cholesterol that is manufactured in the liver and absorbed from the food you eat and is carried in the blood for use by all parts of the body. A high level of blood cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
- Dietary Cholesterol – Cholesterol that is in the food you eat. It is present only in foods of animal origin, not in foods of plant origin. Dietary cholesterol, like saturated fat, tends to raise blood cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease.
Coronary Heart Disease Heart ailment caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries (arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients directly to the heart muscle). Coronary heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis, which decreases the blood supply to the heart muscle. The inadequate supply of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients may damage the heart muscle and can lead to chest pain, heart attack, and death.
Diet What a person eats and drinks. Any type of eating plan.
Fat A major source of energy in the diet. All food fats have 9 calories per gram. Fat helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. Some kinds of fats, especially saturated fats, [see definition] may cause blood cholesterol to increase and increase the risk for heart disease. Other fats, such as unsaturated fats [see definition] do not increase blood cholesterol. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids.
- Total Fat – The sum of the saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats present in food. A mixture of all three in varying amounts is found in most foods.
- Saturated Fat – A type of fat found in greatest amounts in foods from animals such as meat, poultry, and whole-milk dairy products like cream, milk, ice cream, and cheese. Other examples of saturated fat include butter, the marbling and fat along the edges of meat, butter, and lard. And the saturated fat content is high in some vegetable oils – like coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils. Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet.
- Unsaturated Fat – A type of fat that is usually liquid at refrigerator temperature.Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are two kinds of unsaturated fat.
- Monounsaturated Fat – A slightly unsaturated fat that is found in greatest amounts in foods from plants, including olive and canola (rapeseed) oil. When substituted for saturated fat, monounsaturated fat helps reduce blood cholesterol.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid (fish oil) – A type of polyunsaturated fat found in seafood and found in greatest amounts in fatty fish. Seafood is lower in saturated fat than meat
- Polyunsaturated Fat – A highly unsaturated fat that is found in greatest amounts in foods from plants, including safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oils. When substituted for saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat helps reduce blood cholesterol.
Fiber – a nondigestible type of complex carbohydrate. High-fiber foods are usually low in calories. Foods high in fiber include whole grain breads and cereals, whole fruits, and dried beans. The type of fiber found in foods such as oat and barley bran, some fruits like apples and oranges, and some dried beans may help reduce blood cholesterol.
Gestational diabetes (jest-AY-shun-ul) (dye-ah-BEE-teez) A type of diabetes mellitus that can occur when a woman is pregnant. In the second half of her pregnancy, a woman may have glucose (sugar) in her blood at a higher than normal level. In about 95 percent of cases, blood sugar returns to normal after the pregnancy is over. Women who develop gestational diabetes, however, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Glucose (GLU-kos) A building block for most carbohydrates. Digestion causes carbohydrates to break down into glucose. After digestion, glucose is carried in the blood and goes to body cells where it is used for energy or stored.
Gram (g) – A unit of weight. There are about 28 g in 1 ounce. Dietary fat, protein, and carbohydrate are measured in grams.
High Blood Pressure Another word for “hypertension.” Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. An optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. When blood pressure stays high, greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg, then it is considered high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Insulin (IN-sah-lin) A hormone in the body that helps move glucose (sugar) from the blood to muscles and other tissues. Insulin controls blood sugar levels.
Metabolism (meh-TAB-o-liszm) All of the processes that occur in the body that turn the food you eat into energy your body can use.
Milligram (mg) A unit of weight equal to one-thousandth of a gram. There are about 28,350 mg in 1 ounce. Dietary cholesterol is measured in milligrams.
Milligrams/Deciliter (mg/dl) – A way of expressing concentration: in blood cholesterol measurements, the weight of cholesterol (in milligrams) in a deciliter of blood. A deciliter is about one-tenth of a quart.
Nutrition (new-TRISH-un) (1) The process of the body using food to sustain life. (2) The study of food and diet
Obesity (oh-BEE-si-tee) Having a high amount of body fat. A person is considered obese if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater.
Overweight Being too heavy for one’s height. It is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 up to 30 kg/m2. Body weight comes from fat, muscle, bone, and body water. Overweight does not always mean over fat.
Pancreas (PAN-kree-as) A gland that makes enzymes that help the body break down and use nutrients in food. It also produces the hormone insulin [see definition] and releases it into the bloodstream to help the body control blood sugar levels.
Physical activity Any form of exercise or movement. Physical activity may include planned activity such as walking, running, basketball, or other sports. Physical activity may also include other daily activities such as household chores, yard work, walking the dog, etc. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes and children get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Moderate physical activity is any activity that requires about as much energy as walking two miles in 30 minutes.
Protein (PRO-teen) One of the three nutrients that provides calories to the body. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build many parts of the body, including muscle, bone, skin, and blood. Protein provides 4 calories per gram and is found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and tofu.
Registered Dietitian (R.D.) A health professional who is a food and nutrition expert. A person who has studied diet and nutrition at an American Dietetic Association (ADA) approved college program and passed an exam to become a registered dietitian.
Saturated Fat (SATCH-er-ay-ted) A fat that is solid at room temperature. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. Saturated fat is found in high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), fatty fresh and processed meats, the skin and fat of chicken and turkey, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. They have the same number of calories as other types of fat, and may contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.
Trans Fatty Acids A fat that is produced when liquid fat (oil) is turned into solid fat through a chemical process called hydrogenation (See definition). Eating a large amount of trans fatty acids also raises blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Type 1 Diabetes (dye-uh-BEET-eez) Previously known as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus,” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes.” Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition in which the pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, the body is not able to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. To treat the disease, a person must inject insulin, follow a diet plan, exercise daily, and test blood sugar several times a day. Type 1 diabetes usually begins before the age of 30.
Type 2 Diabetes (dye-uh-BEET-eez) Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes mellitus. About 90 to 95 percent of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but either do not make enough insulin or their bodies do not use the insulin they make. Most of the people who have this type of diabetes are overweight. Therefore, 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 program of diet and exercise. Although type 2 diabetes commonly occurs in adults, an increasing number of children and adolescents who are overweight are also developing type 2 diabetes.
Very-Low Calorie Diet Also called “VLCD.” A person following a VLCD eats or drinks a commercially prepared formula that has 800 calories or less, instead of eating food. A VLCD can allow a person to lose weight more quickly than is usually possible with low-calorie diets, but should only be used under the supervision of a health care provider.
Waist Circumference A measurement of the waist. Fat around the waist increases the risk of obesity-related health problems. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches have a higher risk of developing obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Weight Control Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by eating well and getting regular physical activity.
Weight-Cycling Losing and gaining weight over and over again. Commonly called “yo-yo” dieting.