Category Archives: calorie counting

Eating whole grains increases metabolism and calorie loss – Study

A new study suggests that substituting whole grains for refined grains in the diet increases calorie loss by reducing calories retained during digestion and speeding up metabolism. This research is published in tandem with a study on the effect of whole grains on gut microbiota. Both studies are published  in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Epidemiology studies have suggested health benefits of whole grains and high dietary fiber intake, including for glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. There has been controversy, however, about whether whole grains and fiber are beneficial for weight regulation, partially because there hasn’t been data from controlled metabolic studies. This new study provided food to participants for eight weeks and may help explain how whole grain consumption is beneficial for weight management.

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Some Facts About Weight Loss That Work

I would rather focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly than losing weight. However, since we are in the holiday season and eating temptations abound, I thought I would share these observations:

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

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3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I doubt that the weight stays off if the person doesn’t change his/her eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

Last, but not least, let me mention the Page that I have written – How to lose weight (and keep it off).

Tony

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Filed under American diet, calorie counting, childhood obesity, Exercise, exercise benefits, obesity, Weight, weight control

Tips for Healthy Eating at Fast Food Eateries

As a retired guy I don’t eat a lot of fast food because I have the time to fix my own meals, so my experience since retiring is limited in this area. Being in the work force rips a lot of your dietary control away from you. You find yourself ‘on the road’ and subject to the vagaries of your present locale. Or, you have a deadline, so you can’t take the time for a proper meal. You find yourself at the mercy of local fast food eateries. But, maybe all is not lost.

FastFood

HELPGUIDE.org offers some worthwhile tips on trying to eat healthy at fast food restaurants.

“Making healthier choices at fast food restaurants is easier if you prepare ahead by checking guides that show you the nutritional content of meal choices at your favorite restaurants. Free downloadable guides help you evaluate your options. If you have a special dietary concern, such as diabetes, heart health or weight loss, the websites of national non-profits provide useful advice. You can also choose to patronize restaurants that focus on natural, high quality food.

“If you don’t prepare ahead of time, common sense guidelines help to make your meal healthier. For example, a seemingly healthy salad can be a diet minefield when smothered in high-fat dressing and fried toppings, so choose a salad with fresh veggies, grilled toppings, and a lighter dressing. Portion control is also important, as many fast food restaurants serve enough food for several meals in the guise of a single serving.”

Tips for making healthy choices at fast food restaurants:
▪ Make careful menu selections – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.
▪ Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp of regular cola packs about 425 calories, which can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.
▪ “Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich.
▪ Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren’t for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing “on the side” and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for your body to register that you have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.

Pay attention to portion size, too. So many fast food places just give you too much food. Then you are stuck with the conundrum not wanting to waste food, but not wanting to pig out, either. So, they mess with your mind as well as your body. As I said on my page How to Lose Weight – And Keep it Off – “You don’t want to waste food? But you can’t continue to waist food, either. Understanding serving size and portion control will take you a long way on your weight control journey.”

Tony

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Top 11 Most Common Nutrition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Eating healthy takes a lot of information. Here are some very useful looking tips.

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Tony

Our Better Health

Nutrition is full of misinformation.

Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.

Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.

1. Drinking Fruit Juice

Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.

It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.

In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.

But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.

That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!

Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.

There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.

While whole fruits take a long time to eat…

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What About Calories? – Infographic

Here’s a ton of facts on calories. You can’t live without ’em. The trick is moderation ….

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Tony

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How to Lose Weight Using Portion Control

I have run into a number of old friends over the course of the last year and each was surprised to see how thin I have become. In March of 2010, the beginning of this blog, I weighed 165 pounds which was my lowest and best weight in more than 20 years. I thought I had finally achieved weight control and my correct weight. Prior to that I weighed closer to 180 pounds.

This was my idea of a ‘serving’ of pasta. No wonder I was always overweight.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have found out how very much I didn’t know about the subject. When we started the blog, I began reading about various weight loss techniques. One of the first I encountered was portion control and serving size. I was already counting calories, but I had no feeling at all for portion control. My idea of one serving was the amount I would serve myself. For example, pasta. I love pasta and eat it regularly. Prior to working on the blog, my idea of a serving of pasta was a plateful of it. (See photo).
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How Do I Handle a Bad Eating Habit?

For much of my life, I have had eating habits which were not healthy. I love pastries. Back before I ‘got religion’ writing this blog I would think nothing of eating a scone for dessert. This was following a meal of 1500 or more calories. It is no surprise that I ballooned up at my worst to the 220 pound area with a plus 40 inch waist. You can read about How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

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These days I clock-in around 150 pounds and sport a waistline in the low 30 inch range. But I still love pastries in general and scones in particular. The difference is that I don’t eat one for dessert after a big meal. However, I still eat them and maintain my girlish figure.

What’s the trick? The photograph is one of my scones. It comes from a little coffee house in Chicago called The 3rd Coast. They make them there, so it is impossible to get a good calorie count. The scone weighs more than 8 ounces and is loaded with scrumptious dark chocolate chips. I am guessing that a single scone must total close to 500 calories. The Lose it! app puts the Jamba Juice Orange Chocolate scone at 380 calories.

So, how can I enjoy eating a sinful delight like this and still maintain my weight? Well, I have altered my eating habit as follows. I take the scones home and cut each one into at least quarters or fifths. I take one section and put it in the toaster oven while wrapping up the remainder for another day. It toasts up lovely and I am able to enjoy several luscious bites every day without packing on a lot of empty calories or fats or feeling bloated and overfed afterward. I figure I am getting around 100 to 125 calories instead of the 500 I used to consume.

You might consider something like this yourself with a particularly tasty, but empty-calorie-dense, treat that you enjoy. That way, you don’t have to white knuckle it by abstaining completely. You simply have to learn to savor it and be satisfied with some but not all of it.

So now you know a way to halve your cake and eat it too.

Tony

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What Does 200 Calories Look Like? – Infographic

Whether you count calories or not, I think you will find this to be useful information. The average person needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain his/her weight. Herewith, a look at 10 percent of that. I think it is fascinating how much bulk is occupied by fruits and vegetables compared with processed food items.

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Tony

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Frozen Meal Eaters Get More Vegetables But with Lower Total Calories vs. Fast Food Restaurant Eaters

“The analysis shows consumers of frozen meals come a little closer to meeting Dietary Guidelines for Americans than consumers of quick service restaurant meals, and they do it with 253 fewer calories a day,” said Dr. Victor L. Fulgoni, co-author of the analysis and vice president of Nutrition Impact, LLC.

Cooking with Kathy Man

New analysis of data from the 2003-2010 What We Eat In America (WWEIA) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consumers of frozen meals (1) compared to consumers of quick service restaurant (QSR) meals (2) had lower calorie intakes and better Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score. In fact, the analysis revealed that those who consumed frozen meals consumed 253 fewer calories than those who consumed a quick service restaurant meal.

These results were presented at a scientific poster session at the Experimental Biology Conference (EB) April 26-30, 2014.

“The analysis shows consumers of frozen meals come a little closer to meeting Dietary Guidelines for Americans than consumers of quick service restaurant meals, and they do it with 253 fewer calories a day,” said Dr. Victor L. Fulgoni, co-author of the analysis and vice president of Nutrition Impact…

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How and Why You Should Count Calories

I think the best thing about counting calories is that it demystifies weight management. It is a very useful tool in managing your weight. There is no longer a conundrum about how much to eat, or did I eat too much? When you get into calories, it becomes simple arithmetic. If you can add and subtract, you can lose weight by counting calories. Of course, you need to exercise discipline, too. So, weight-management becomes a character-building process.

In the old days you had to write everything down. These days, you can use your computer, or cell phone to get calorie counts and track your intake.

There are 3500 calories in apound.

A 165 lb man has a daily budget of 2200 calories a day to maintain his weight.

To lose weight, e.g. a pound a week, (This is a healthy rate. Much more than this is not healthy or recommended. Remember, it took you months/years to put those pounds on, don’t expect them to evaporate overnight.) you need to take in 500 calories per day less than the 2200 you need to maintain your weight, or 1700 calories.

There is more than one way to do skin a cat, or to get to be a skinny cat. You can eat 500 less calories, or you can burn off 500 more calories, or any combination thereof. A compromise would to be eat 250 calories less and do 250 calories worth of exercise, maybe 40 minutes on the treadmill. That kind of practice pays aerobic dividends and allows you to eat more.

Another avenue to weight loss is to increase your lean muscle mass through a weight training regimen. Muscles burn calories, fat does not.

In the beginning of weight training you may slow your rate of weight loss. Don’t fret, you are reducing your waistline at the same time and reshaping your body in ways that you will like. You will find your clothes fitting better even while your weight remains steady. That is a very nice feeling. Muscle is also slimmer than fat and so are you.

When you increase your lean muscle mass, you are making yourself into a fat burning machine. How good is that?
Tony

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Tips on How to Help Your Stomach to Feel Full

What is it that finally makes us feel ‘full?’ As a person who likes to eat, that full feeling is no small consideration. It’s easy for me to have an overeating problem. In the Nutrition Course I took, it came out that the stomach does not have a calorie sensor. It works strictly on volume. When the stomach ‘feels’ full, we feel full.

It is just as easy to fill a flat tummy as one not-so-flat

It is just as easy to fill a flat tummy as one not-so-flat

That is good news and bad news. I use energy bars when I ride the bike. They only weigh a couple of ounces, but they are loaded with carbs and protein. I get a lift, but don’t feel too full to continue riding. A perfect fit. On the other hand, in the working world the bad news is that using an energy bar as a meal substitute because you can’t get out to lunch will help you get through the afternoon, but you probably won’t feel satisfied (full) because you only consumed a couple of ounces of food and your stomach is waiting for more.

What to do to get rid of that hungry feeling at meal times? Try to include high volume foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt and soup in your meals. A lot of liquid in the food gives the stomach the needed volume to signal to us that we are full.

When sitting down to a regular meal, it also helps to take your time eating. There is an old wives’ tale that the stomach takes 15 minutes to catch up with how much you have eaten.

The New York Times reported, “In a study last month, scientists found that when a group of subjects were given an identical serving of ice cream on different occasions, they released more hormones that made them feel full when they ate it in 30 minutes instead of 5 . The scientists took blood samples and measured insulin and gut hormones before, during and after eating. They found that two hormones that signal feelings of satiety, or fullness — glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY — showed a more pronounced response in the slow condition.”

This suggests to me that the volume sensor in our stomach takes a while to register. So slowing down the pace of your eating will also help bring about that full feeling.

Tony

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