Posts Tagged ‘calories’

How To Read A Nutrition Label

September 21, 2015

 

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Many of us know it is prudent to read nutrition labels to see what exactly our packaged foods consist of. Very few of us really know what all those numbers, percentages and descriptions really mean for our health.

Here is a comprehensive guide to deciphering those labels and why it is important to do so:

Serving size: This denotes how many servings the package contains, according to the manufacturer.  This number can be very decieving, since the entire contents may be easily consumed in one sitting by yourself, yet the package lists it as 3 servings. The FDA sets the serving sizes. All of the information listed on the label refers to one single serving. If you eat the whole package, you must multiply the calories and fat by the amount listed. For example, a bag of potato chips states one serving as 1 oz. and lists the servings per container as 14. If you can get 14 servings from one bag of chips, congratulations! You have amazing will power. For the rest of us, get out your calculator and start multiplying.

Percentage of Daily Value: This is calculated based on someone who eats 2000 calories per day as their normal diet. For most women, this is more than they need to maintain a healthy weight. For highly active women, and many men, this may not be enough. Take this number with a grain of salt, (something we will discuss later in this post.)

Fats: Recent research points out that eating fat doesn’t make us fat. In fact, we need fat in our diet for optimum wellness. Certain vitamins are fat soluable, meaning they need to dissolve in fat to be carried through the body. They also help us maintain our body temperature, and provide insulation for our organs. That said, there are many different types of fat, and choosing the right type is critical to our health. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products, and are known to raise cholesterol, and could also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are mostly made from processing oils using a method called partially hydrogenating. This makes them more shelf stable, but it also makes them artery cloggers. Trans fats are also attributed to an increase in unhealthy LDL cholesterol, and lower the more desirable HDL cholestoral. Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Better choices are unsaturated fats, which include many liquid oils, such as olive oil, safflower oil or corn oil. Many fish are also high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plant based sources of fat, including nuts and seeds and avocado are also good for providing protection to your heart and lower blood pressure. If the label lists a high level of saturated fats, partially hydrogenated oils, or any trans fats, it is best to put it back on the shelf and explore other choices.

Beware of labels that boast “fat free.” Generally speaking, when the fat is removed, it is replaced by something else, often sugar. Fat free doesn’t equate to calorie free. Just sayin’.

Sodium: Sodium = salt. Pure and simple. It makes our food taste great, but it also raises blood pressure when consumed in high quantities. Our recommended daily consumption of salt is set as less than 2.300 mg. It is suggested that no single food should contain more than 805 mg. per serving. Check the label carefully for how many servings are in the package. Often, there are several, making the facts a bit decieving. High sodium also means highly processed. Most canned or packaged foods have a much higher sodium content than the freshly made counterpart. Look out for canned soups, jarred sauces or lunch meats. They tend to be sodium bombs.

Fiber: When looking at grain based products, such as bread, look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Labels will often describe the fiber as soluable, or insoluable. Sources of soluable fiber include oatmeal, barley and dried beans. This type of fiber can be helpful in lowering cholesterol. Insoluable fiber protects against bowel disease, and is found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables.

Sugars: Sugar can crop up in all kinds of foods which are not associated with being sweet, like crackers, or cereals that market themselves as healthy. It is often listed as glucose, sucrose or fructose, among others. If it ends in “ose,” it is a type of sugar. Sugar substitutes might have the ending “tol,” such as malatol,or sorbitol. These are sugar alcohols and are associated with causing digestive issues. If your artificially sweetened foods send you racing to a restroom, you might want to avoid them in the future.

Protein: Our bodies are made of protein, and it is often referred to as the building blocks of life. We need protein to repair and make new cells. Protein is found in animal products, as well as soy, nuts, and beans among other plant based sources. The rule of thumb, is to eat .45 grams of protein per day, for every pound of body weight. That means a 150 pound person should consume about 68 grams per day.

Total Carbohydrates: This number could come from healthy sources, such as whole grains or even vegetables, or it could come from the “white stuff,”such as processed white flour and sugar. Cross reference this number with the sugar and fiber numbers to get the full picture.

Vitamins and Minerals: This lists the vitamins and minerals that are both naturally occuring, and those that are added. The percentages are often most helpful in determining just how much of these are in any given food. Remember, these are often based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If you only eat 1500 calories per day, these percentages will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Ingredients: This is critical information. All ingredients are required to be listed on the label, in order of quantity. To me, this is the most important information on the label, as it tells me exactly what I am eating. When I began doing my Whole 30 elimination diet, I realized that most packaged foods had lots more in them than one would think. Almond butter for instance, should contain almonds, and possibly salt. Sugar, or additives are uneccessary and can be avoided if you are a savvy shopper. If there is a long list of ingredients on a simple food, it might be one to avoid. If you can’t pronounce some of them, that too is a danger sign that the food might not be very good for you.

Knowing what we are putting into our bodies is key to good health and weight control.

There is a great app from food expert Marion Nestle, called Fooducate, which allows you to scan a food’s barcode and get a letter grade on the healthiness of the product, right there in the grocery aisle. While the foods that don’t contain a barcode or a package are usually the best for us, this is an invaluable tool to help you navigate the vast array of foods available to us.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Propensity for Obesity Declines

July 30, 2015

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The obesity epidemic in the United States seems to be showing signs of slowing down.

The New York Times reports that the decade long slide into obesity is on the decline. Using statistics collected from barcode data and food production estimates, this is the first sustained decline in the 40 years that diet and calorie consumption has been tracked.

Children are showing the biggest difference, cutting back an average of 9% of thier intake since 2004. The average adult has cut back to 2195 calories per day, from the 2003-2004 amount of 2269.

Non-diet soda consumption fell 25% since the beginning of 2000.

Before we get all excited about the positive change, we still have a long way to go. Almost 35% of all adult Americans are still obese, with high risks for stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers.

While there is a drop in non-diet soda consumption, Americans are still drinking an average of 30 gallons of it annually. Worse yet, diet soda is a petrie dish of chemicals, linked to it’s own laundry list of health woes.

Americans are not coming close to meeting their ideal targets for eating fruits and vegetables. According to LiveScience, we are only consuming about 13% of the recommended daily requirements for fruit, and 9% of the required vegetables.

The best news is the change in children’s intake, marking a shift in awareness. Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move and healthy eating programs seem to be having a postive effect on this age group and their parents. Let’s hope that schools and families continue embrace a healthier lifestyle for their children.

 

Healthy Reset: How Its Going End of Week One

July 6, 2015

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Fourth of July presented its challenges. I invited a few friends over for dinner, and like a bad take on the old joke about three people walking into a room, we had the vegetarians, the carnivores and me. Miss Paleo Extremo. A menu where vegetarians and carnivores eat blissfully together is one of the easiest to plan. I usually prepare a variety of salads and vegetable side dishes that everyone will love, and make sure there are plant based protiens and some kind of grain or pasta to round out the meal, while making something meaty for the others. This time, everything I tried to make had something in it I couldn’t have. I finally gave up, and prepared the dinner I wanted to serve my guests, and dealt with my own meal separately.

I made a kale and mint salad, and put the non compliant ingredients (chickpeas, edamame and dried cranberries) on the side. A tomato and basil salad had the mozzarella in a separate bowl, and I pulled out a piece of precooked salmon for my protien. Everything else I just simply avoided. It was a casual dinner, and everyone was fine with my dietary restrictions. It was made easier by my being the hostess, and not the guest. I don’t want to be “that person” with all the food issues at someone else’s home or a in restaurant with a group. Its only a few weeks, so I will make it work without inconveniencing others if possible.

I made quinoa patties, which I have never done before. Since I couldn’t taste them, I couldn’t correct the seasonings or the texture. I am eager to make them again, and experiment with the flavors a bit. Recipe to come when I get it right! Note to guests: If I try out an untested recipe on you, consider yourself “family.”

Honestly, I didn’t feel deprived or tempted a bit. I committed to this for a short period of time, and since I was able to plan for it, I was fine. Five adults consumed five bottles of wine and champagne, at a five hour meal so there was a long period of sitting at the table, idle. There was a plate of bar cookies, s’mores and brownies that everyone nibbled at, but there was also a bowl of strawberries to keep me occupied. In the end, no biggie. BUT. I have been convinced that my burning stomach is food related. It always seems to come when I am eating decadently. Like chocolate and red wine type decadently. Last night, around 2 a.m. the burning started. Definately not food related. Hopefully, it was an isolated incident.

Here is what I didn't eat... Info on www.indigojoneseats.com

Here is what I didn’t eat…
Info on http://www.indigojoneseats.com

This weekend had brunch out twice,as usual. I had an egg white omelette with vegetables one day, with a salad on the side.  I did not ask what fat they cooked the omelette in, or for every ingredient in their viniagrette.  It was a decent restaurant, and not a greasy spoon diner, so I am assuming it was house made. Honestly, if they used a tiny bit of butter, or non compliant oil to cook my omelette, I am going to need to live with it. This is supposed to be about a reset, eliminating cravings for less healthy foods, finding out what might be causing inflammation, and developing a healthy relationship with food. Asking a restaurant to cook eggs in a specific type of oil, feels way too obsessive. No going to do it.

Although I am not supposed to get on the scale, I did, and I am down a few pounds. I am pleased with the number, but I still feel like my stomach is a little puffy and bloated. I am hoping that the next week or two resolves that, as I get used to the increased quantities of fruits and vegetables. I am also assuming that the weight loss will stabilize. A couple more pounds would be welcome; five more would be too much for a small person like me.

One week down, one more to go! So far, so good.

Whole 30ers report that they have more energy, and clarity in week two, combined with an overall lighter feeling in general. I look forward to that, as I am coming up on some big project deadlines the following week. Stay tuned…

Related links: Kale Salad recipe.

Photo: Flag: Glasshouse Images

Cookies: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Healthy Reset: How Its Going Week One

July 3, 2015

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The new eating plan got off to a rocky start on Monday morning, when I discovered that the only thing to make a smoothie out of was a few freezer burned strawberries and some pineapple chunks. Those mixed with water left me a bit cold, but it was better than a completely empty stomach as I headed to the gym. The lesson was quicky learned; be prepared.

In order to eat fresh, whole foods, one has to have them on hand. On the way back from the gym, I detoured through Chelsea Market and picked up lots of fresh produce and some fish to facilitate easy meal preparation. I am lucky to live in New York where I can walk out the door and have my pick of places to buy healthy food within a block or two. A word to the wise: if you have to drive to get groceries, stock up!

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The rest of the day went off without a hitch. While the program allows snacking if you are hungry, it is preferable to eat three healthy and filling meals instead. Some of the snacking cycle is in our heads. We get bored, or tired and think we need a snack. Sometimes we do, but often times we just need a glass of water or a cup of green tea and a diversion. Yesterday, I needed a snack.

Most Whole30 participants complain of headaches and low energy during the first week. This is a result of our bodies coming off of sugar, caffeine ( although coffee and tea are permitted, without dairy or sweeteners) and much of the excess junk that we previously consumed. My diet is not all that different on a daily basis, with the exception of dairy, mostly in the form of Greek yogurt, so I am hoping to bypass the hangover feeling that many people endure during days 2-7. Afterall, it was that hangover feeling that I got when I ate poorly that prompted me to try this. So far, I made it through a cycling class followed by a pilates class, so I guess I am doing fine.

Although the plan strongly urges you not to count calories or weigh yourself for 30 days, I recorded my food and exericise in my journal anyways, and discovered that even though I ate three healthy, balanced meals, my caloric intake was extremely low. Most experts advise eating at least 1200 calories per day, without exercise. Given that my workout burnt over 700 calories today, eating less than 700 calories can’t be good, so I treated myself to a little Monkey Salad. It is a paleo fruit salad, consisting of a sliced banana, a handful of cashews, and a liberal sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes. It is considered an acceptable indulgence since it uses approved foods, contains fruit, fat and protein, and doesn’t mimic something we are trying to avoid. It hit the spot, and could become a go-to. It also contained almost 300 calories, so it is important not to go crazy with it under normal circumstances. However, it drives home a good point: although Monkey Salad has as many calories as a cookie (or 2), or a bowl of ice cream or some chips, it is healthy, nutritious and contains no additives. ( Check the labels when buying coconut and cashews to make sure that is all that is listed on the ingredients. Sweetened, salted or preserved coconut is a big no-no.)

Day three brings no news, and if I continue to be home, without travel or social plans, this could be easy to sustain. It requires a lot of shopping, and chopping, but I know that I am not putting anything into my food that is against the rules. I love vegetables, so eating lots of them is fine. I am not longing for anything at this stage, but I am only a few days in. The weekend presents a challenge, when we typically eat out for brunch, and I indulge in a little wine and whatever at night. I am committed to NOT doing that this weekend.

Day 4 brings an ooops into the equation. In repurchasing a few things that I had on hand, I read the labels more carefully and low and behold, I have been using a few non-compliant items.

Srirachia contains sugar, a big no-no on this plan. The rules state that you must start over if you eat non-compliant foods, but there is no way I am going to go nuts over a tiny squirt of hot sauce that probably contained mere grains of sugar. But, speaking of nuts, Trader Joe’s roasts their cashews in rice bran oil. Yep, not on the list. Today I bought raw cashews, and will roast them myself, without any oil at all. While all of this sounds a bit extreme, the lesson here is to read labels carefully, and avoid packaged foods wherever possible. Freshly roasted nuts are delicous, and Tabasco sauce and Chola are both compliant, so I am not really giving up anything else here.

Whole 30’ers report feeling nasty and viscous on day 4, but so far, I don’t feel any malice towards anyone. I didn’t sleep as well as I should last night, so I am a little tired, but otherwise, all is normal. Many of the participants don’t workout, but I am keeping up with my workout schedule as usual. I guess the more detoxing you need to do, and the worse these first few days are. I don’t recommend going cold turkey on this plan, if your normal eating habits are poor. If you decide to do it, it might be best to start weening off the addictive foods on the list a bit before embarking on the full deal.

I am planning to invite a few friends over for Fourth of July dinner. I don’t mind making a dessert for them and not eating it, and I often serve meat to my family or guests that I don’t eat, but I would like to make all the side dishes compliant. With vegetarians in the mix, it will be a challenge to give them enough heft without dairy, beans, soy, grains or flour. Perhaps putting non-compliant ingredients on the side will be the answer. Check back for the verdict on how the holiday weekend went, temptations and all!!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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There’s No Such Thing As Zero Calories

February 4, 2015

Lately, every health site seems to have an article about negative calorie foods, or zero calorie foods. It’s the percieved magic bullet to weight loss. Looking at lables can be a bit deceptive. There is a lot of wiggle room here, so let me define what makes something fall into that category.

4665700087_compA negative calorie food implies that your body uses more calories to digest it, than is present in the food itself. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body uses 5-10% of it’s energy to digest food and store it’s nutrients, making this plausable in theory. However, no reputable research supports this concept. The high fiber and water content as well as the low calorie counts of food such as celery, cucumbers and lettuce make them smart choices for those trying to lose weight, whether or not those calories are negated completly.

A zero calorie food could potentially have more than that. The FDA allows manufacturs to state that the food is calorie free if it has less than 5 calories per serving. If you only use one serving, it won’t make much of a difference in your weight, so while mildly deceptive, it’s really no big deal. That is, if you only use one serving.

A woman in Nebraska is suing Parkay spray butter for false advertising claims. It seems that the fat free, calorie free product actually has 832 calories and 93 grams of fat in an 8 oz. container. The woman in question consumed two bottles a week, before realizing something was up.

A 1.2 pound bag of Splenda contains 1,100 teaspoon sized servings. It also contains 2,200 calories per bag, and 96 calories per cup. That’s a lot of nothing, isn’t it?

More importantly, these faux foods are made up of potentially harmful ingredients. Chances are, if you “can’t believe it’s not butter,” it’s because it’s not.

While drowning your diet friendly vegetables in mock butter isn’t that common (is it?) using more than the 5 squirts recommended on the label probably is. And many people I know, use 2 Splenda’s in their coffee or tea, and consume many cups per day.
While these items do have less calories than their counterparts, they have many more reasons to avoid them.

Bottom line: There’s no such thing as a free ride.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Halloween Damage Control

November 1, 2014

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Halloween has come and gone. You have cleaned up after the party, removed the costume and taken off the makeup.

Now it’s time to shake off that hangover, and deal with burning off the candy you ate. Yes, it was only a couple of pieces at the office, and a few more from the kid’s trick or treat bags. In essence, each little piece of fun sized candy is not so terrible, calorically speaking. But do you know anyone who eats one little candy corn kernel and calls it a day?

Have no fear, with are here to help with damage control. You already ate it, but there is still time to negate it!

For every Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you ate, go for a half hour run at a moderate pace (6 mph) to burn it off.

For every mini Tootsie Roll you ate, spend about 5 minutes on the Elliptical at a moderate pace. (You know you ate at least 30 minutes worth so settle in.)

It only takes about 30 minutes of your spin class to negate the effects of a  300+ calorie candy apple. Might as well stay for the whole thing and work off that handful of candy corn while you are at it.

That little bag of Skittles you consumed will cost you a not-so-leisurely walk for almost 1 1/2 hours to torch.

A mere hour in the weight room should get rid of the 3 mini Hershey’s bars you gobbled down. Stick around a little longer if they had almonds.

When you come back, rehydrate, shower and get rid of the rest of the candy to avoid further temptation.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Where’s The Pumpkin in My Pumpkin Spice Latte?

August 28, 2014

 

As the summer starts to wind down and the days begin to get just a little bit shorter, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are just around the corner. This seasonal treat has a cult like following, with over 200 million of them sold to date! Starbucks recently announced it would start offering the drink extra early this year, to feed the frenzy.  I’ve never actually had one, (really!) so I am interested in what makes this so special.
Food Babe, an investigative food blogger was interested too, and what she uncovered may change your mind about ordering another one!

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Starbucks defines the drink as “[made of] pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors, combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.”

What Food Babe discovered, is that while it contains way more ingredients than anticipated, it doesn’t contain any pumpkin.

The base of the drink is espresso; just coffee beans and water. No surprise there.

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Next up on the list: pumpkin spice flavored sauce. Operative word: flavored. Contents:
sugar( and lots of it,) non-fat condensed milk, high fructose corn syrup, annatto ( for color), natural and artificial flavors, caramel color(class IV), salt and potassium sorbate.

Annatto is derived from a seed. It is considered safe, but can possibly effect blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Class IV caramel color is a laboratory creation, made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperature, creating a by-product that has been linked to cancer, even in small doses, and is under investigation by the FDA.  Do you really want to risk your life to make sure the syrup in your latte is brown?

Potassium sorbate is a preservative made from the salt of sorbic acid. Although it has been found to be toxic to human DNA cells, the World Health Organization has deemed it safe in small quantities.

The “latte” part is made from steamed milk. The dairy option uses what is affectionately referred to as “Monsanto Milk”, which comes from cows raised with antibiotics, and fed GMO corn, soy and cottonseed.

While vegans and lactose intolerant can order a soy milk option, it is most likely that they won’t be informed that there is milk in the pumpkin sauce. Oops!

The whipped cream topping contains cream, and vanilla syrup which is made from more sugar, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, citric acid, and caramel color class IV.

Finish it off by sprinkling it with pumpkin spice topping, containing cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove and sulfites, another potentially dangerous food substance.

A non-fat grande pumpkin spice latte contains 50 grams of sugar and 330 calories, among other things, none of which are actually pumpkin. And while the $4.55 price tag may seem steep, the health risks are even more staggering.

For those who crave the drink, no worries. You can make a healthy version of it at home!

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Mix a shot of espresso with warm or steamed milk, a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup ( no Aunt Jemima’s please!) and a healthy sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

To read Food Babe’s post in it’s entirety, click HERE.

photos: Glasshouse Images

UPDATE: Starbucks has issued a statement regarding the ingredients in their popular drink:

“The standard recipe for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at company-operated and licensed stores does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and is sweetened with sugar. We are actively looking at phasing out caramel coloring. In any instances where it is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) and safe to consume.

As a company, we take pride in providing full ingredient transparency to our customers so they can make whatever choice is right for them on their beverage selection. The high level of personalization of Starbucks beverages available allows customers to enjoy a unique Starbucks Experience and tailor their drink to match their own personal taste preferences – including the selection from a variety of fresh dairy selections and soy milk, a combination of syrups, and coffee/espresso options and toppings. If customers have questions about any of the items offered in our stores, they can ask their barista for a list of ingredients. We’re also working on listing core beverage recipes online via Starbucks.com and hope to have an update in the near future.”

 

Eat To Win

August 6, 2014

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I am always intrigued by how nutrition plays such a strong role in athletic performance. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is  usually the norm for good health. But when you are racing a bike through the mountains of France for 6 hours a day, for 3 weeks straight, it seems one needs a bit more than that to power through.

Esquire magazine tracked Tour de France champion Thor Hushovd’s food consumption  for the day, and the amount he eats is truly staggering!

Breakfast consists of oatmeal, toast, ham, eggs, cereal and rice. Once on the bike, he snacks on 4-6 Clif bars, 2 packs of shot blocks and 2-3 gels, some rice cakes, and a small sandwich,washed down with 6-8 bottles of a special energy drink made for his team.

Post race, there is more rice, curried chicken or a tortilla of some kind, and 2 bottles of a recovery drink,consumed on the bus ride home.

Once back at the hotel, dinner consists of stuffed tomatoes, zucchini and more rice, beet salad, avocados, spaghetti, turkey and prunes, and sorbet for dessert. It all adds up to about 9,000 calories a day, or almost a week’s worth of food for me.

Although Hushovd burns about 6,000 calories on the bike, the most the body is capable of absorbing during exercise is about 250-300 calories per hour. Fueling up is more than just loading up. He is careful to go light on gluten and fiber, to avoid bloating and intestinal issues during the ride. Rice is his carb of choice.

So far, it’s all paying off, with Hushovd holding a top spot in the race so far.

I rode about 16 miles in 45 minutes in my indoor cycling class today, and burnt about 650 calories. While that may be child’s play for these athletes, surely it qualifies me for a little treat, doesn’t it?

photo: glasshouse images

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Little Changes Reap Big Rewards

January 20, 2014

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New reports show that the average American is eating 78 calories less per day, than they did 5 years ago. The change is credited with the decline in saturated fats due to more limited consumption of fast foods.

Perhaps the only good thing to come out of our country’s recession, is the cutback on spending in fast food establishments and other restaurants, driving people to opt  for home cooked meals.

With greater attention being paid to wellness initiatives from shows like The Biggest Loser, the upgrading of school lunch programs and Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, people are becoming more conscious of the need for a healthy diet and exercise regime.

While 78 calories per day may seem trivial, it does add up over the course of the year. While on average, it takes 3500 calories to make a pound, a reduction of just 78 calories x 365 days per year, adds up to a weight loss of over 8 pounds in a year.

There is still much room for improvement in our country’s diet, and reduction of the obesity rate, but clearly this is a step in the right direction.

Want to cut 78 calories a day out of your diet? Food preparation actually burns calories!
*Just 15 minutes of food shopping burns about 22 calories, and carrying the bags and putting the groceries away is worth another 26.

Preparing a simple meal uses up about 17-26 calories, and setting the table and serving the meal burns about 26 as well. If you get stuck with the dishes, you will likely burn another 22 calories. All added up, that’s about 92 calories burned before you even pick up your fork.

Chances are, the food you prepare will be fresher, simpler and therefore healthier than driving through to the fast food window to pick up a greasy, meal high in saturated fats. It sounds like a win-win situation to us!

Little changes can reap big rewards!

* based on a 150 pound person. Those weighing more, will burn more for the same tasks.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Don’t Pass the (Star)Buck

June 19, 2013

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Often, some of the controversial health bills passed in New York City become more widespread in time.  Such is the case with Starbucks, who today announced it would post calorie counts on all of their menu boards, nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration is looking at having all restaurants with more than 20 locations post the nutritional information publically, allowing customers to make more informed decisions. Starbucks is one of the first to voluntarily post calories in their stores across the country.

In an effort to serve up healthier options the chain began offering sugar free syrups and switched to 2% milk, as it’s standard several years ago. Skim milk is also an option for customized drinks.

Would you pass on that double chocolate chip Frappuccino at 500 calories, and choose a 260 calorie iced Café Mocha, or a Skinny Flavored Latte at only 110 calories, if you were well informed? How about a 240-calorie croissant, instead of the healthier sounding banana walnut bread at a whopping 490 calories?

Informed decisions are generally better decisions, and Starbucks is taking a step in the right direction to make sure that their customers know what they are indulging in.

New York has successfully led the country in kicking the trans fat habit, banned smoking in public places and built awareness of the calories in their food.  Now how about those giant sodas Mayor Bloomberg is fighting to limit? Do you think that will eventually catch on as well?

photo: Glasshouse Images

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