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Eat Quality Calories--What You Eat Matters

Posted Oct 20 2010 1:26pm
Aim to eat quality calories. What you eat really matters. Junk food like chips, pastries, candy, donuts and sodas aren't nutritious and have loads of calories. They also have you wanting to eat more in just a short time. Control your eating with a nutrition plan and food journal .

For instance, a 12-ounce can of soda has as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS ). If HFCS is the first or second ingredient listed, the product is heavily "laced" with HFCS. Other sweet foods are also high in HFCS.

Nutritionists point to HFCS consumption as a major player in the nation's obesity crisis (the fact that we eat it is the real problem).

According to government data, sweetened soft drinks add about 10 percent of the calories in the typical American's diet.

Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard endocrinologist, who is widely cited by obesity researchers, says that sweetened drinks are the only specific food that clinical research has directly linked to weight gain. "Highly concentrated starches and sugars promote overeating, and the granddaddy of them all is sugar-sweetened beverages," said Ludwig, who runs the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children's Hospital in Boston.

Pack your lunches and snacks instead of eating out at work. If you eat at a restaurant for dinner, check out the menu online so you know what to order. Most restaurants now have a "healthy foods" menu. And, skip the appetizers loaded with calories.

One way to eat quality calories is to "eat your calories" instead of "drinking your calories." When you eat food, you have more satiety and you are more likely to take in fewer calories.

Another way to control calorie intake is to eat more water based foods (volume eating). The basics of it is to eat as many foods with high water content/low calories as you can.

Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are examples. These types of foods help you to feel fuller (satiety) while eating fewer calories. For instance, grapes with the same calorie amount as raisins will provide more satiety and theoretically help you eat less the rest of the day.

Energy density of food is a key component when trying to add volume to your diet. Energy density (ED) is defined as the amount of calories of a food divided by its weight in grams.

You would basically focus on foods rich in fiber with high water content (or low ED value). Fresh fruits (apples, etc.) and vegetables (such as tomatoes and broccoli) whole grain pastas, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals, soups, salads and skinless white chicken/turkey are some examples.

Other dryer foods could be added to your diet on a limited basis. Dryer foods would be starchy fruits and vegetables, salad dressings, crackers, etc.

The old rule still applies: A caloric surplus (consume more calories than you burn) will cause you to gain weight! Hopefully a diet high in water content will cause you to consume fewer calories while providing all the nutrition you need.

And while you're at it, drink about half an ounce of water for every pound of your body weight every day. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water a day. If you workout, drink even more water (a cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise).

Eat quality calories today!

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