Tag Archives: binge days

A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT

Full disclosure: I ate Ho Ho’s and Twinkies as a kid and loved them just like the other kids. But, I was a child and didn’t know any better. I’m not a kid any more and wouldn’t think of eating them now. We didn’t know better back in the 40’s and 50’s. My mom used to give us Wonder Bread slices slathered with butter and topped with sugar as a treat. My dentist safaried in Africa on that treat years later.

Let’s look closely at a package of Ho Ho’s. There are three cupcakes inside. I was amazed to see that the serving size is all three, the whole package. Usually, they break it down to a smaller number to reduce the caloric count. One serving of the Ho Ho’s yields 370 calories, according to Calorie Count.

If you don’t pay much attention to calories, let me explain. I weigh around 150 pounds and can consume 2100 calories a day to maintain that weight. The 370 calories in a serving of Ho Ho’s comes to nearly a quarter of my daily allowance of calories. That takes the place of almost an entire meal.

The three cupcakes contain 17 grams of fat of which 13 grams are saturated fat. That’s a mouthful, or should I say an artery full of fat. The government recommends that we not eat more than 21 grams of saturated fat in a day. This is more than half that amount in a single snack.

There are 30 mg of cholesterol which doesn’t seem too off-putting.

Some 220 mg of Sodium are high, but I have seen worse.

Total carbohydrates come to 54 grams. Okay.

Only one gram of fiber. Most of us are lacking in fiber intake. This snack doesn’t help. Adults need around 40 grams of fiber a day. Ho Ho’s leave us 39 grams short.

Sugars come to 42 grams. A teaspoon of sugar amounts to 4.2 grams, so this is 10 teaspoons of sugar. Gag much?

Lastly, there are two lonely grams of protein. The average adult needs over 50 grams a day. So, again, Ho Ho’s pretty much leave you at the starting gate when it comes to your need for protein, nature’s building blocks.

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Filed under arteries, body fat, calories, cholesterol, fast food, heart problems, men and healthy eating, protein, Snacking, sugar, Weight

McDonald’s Testing Mighty Wings

McDonald’s has been testing the sale of deep-fried chicken wings in the Atlanta area, according to several media reports, including a recent one in the Chicago Tribune. While wings have proven a popular snack and meal option, they also are among the worst calorie and fat options you can find, especially if you slather them in ranch or blue cheese dressings, the way they’re served in popular Buffalo wings places.

McDonald’s will introduce Mighty Wings on September 9, 2013. You can read How many calories in McDonald’s Mighty Wings here.

McDonald’s is selling wings in Atlanta. So much for helping its image.

Buffalo Wild Wings, a chain that has been expanding in the Chicago area lately, doesn’t list nutrition information for its wings on its website but I did find some sobering numbers on Dietfacts.com Continue reading

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A Reminder: Guys and Good Health Involves Two Guys

As I was writing my post about Nathan’s hot dog eating contest this morning, I was also thinking about how Tony would likely write why he thinks it’s disgusting, which he did, as if on cue, shortly after my piece appeared.

That’s just a reminder there are two of us writing this blog. I need to tell my friends that from time to time when they comment on blog posts that appear on my Facebook wall without looking to see who wrote them.

Me (John) in a corn eating contest in DeKalb, Ill., three years ago.

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How Many Calories are in a July 4th Hot Dog?

Hot dogs and July 4th go together in an Americana sort of way. Ever wonder how many calories are in a hot dog and if buying different brands can save you a few calories in your hot dog munching?

Most hot dogs come in around 150 calories but there are some differences. I found a rundown by brand on CalorieLab.com. Hebrew National dogs, which I normally buy, are at 150 but Oscar Meyer jumbos come in at 170. Continue reading

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Can You Be Addicted to Sugar?

Tony and I have had debates on the blog and in person about whether I’m addicted to diet soda.

While I’ll debate that one, there’s one thing I know I’m addicted to and that’s sugar and sweet foods, such as chocolate and chocolate cakes, frozen yogurts, candy, that have sugar in them. It’s a rare week when I don’t eat some of these. The longer I go without them, the more difficult it becomes for me physically.

Many people point to the increased use of high fructose corn syrup for addicting many other Americans to sweet-tastng foods as well. I came across a great article on that topic in a British newspaper recently.

It delves into the politics that affect our food supply. Every recommendation from government about what to eat involves politics, make no mistake about that. Take such recommendations with that in mind and do your own research about what you eat. Continue reading


Filed under calories, life challenges

How Many Calories in Your Memorial Day Slab of Ribs?

Barbeque grills will be firing up all over America Monday as people kick back and celebrate Memorial Day with backyard cookouts. Baby back ribs are a classic cookout food, widely loved, likely because of all the sugar and other flavors in the sauces that we slather on those ribs as we enjoy them.

Rather than make them myself, I buy them from great local rib joints.

After two days of yard work and outdoor painting Friday night and Saturday this weekend, that’s what my wife and I did Saturday night. I figured I had calories to consume after all my work, which Lose It! pegged at 1,000 calories burned Saturday and 900 more Friday night. Continue reading

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A Guest Post: Why I’m Kicking the Diet Soda Habit

What follows is a guest post from a long-time friend, Larry A. Mathias. We invited him to write this after seeing him discuss it on Facebook. All our best wishes are with him.

They say “everything in moderation.” I wish I would have followed that sage advice.

Two weeks ago, one of my doctors strongly urged me to completely forego diet soft drinks. For anyone who knows me, they know that was no small request. On average, I’d drink 6-8 24-oz. bottles of Diet Pepsi a day. That started in the late 1970s when I was a late night disc jockey in college, and I didn’t like coffee. Soft drinks with caffeine became my beverage of choice. I’d start as early as 7 a.m. with a Diet Pepsi at breakfast and continue through the end of the day.
Surely, the daily volume of consumption was as much or more damaging than the ingredients.

Larry A. Mathias

Nevertheless, some of the damage had already occurred. In 2001, I had tightness in my chest that felt like a heart attack. After an overnight hospital stay for observation, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition often connected to diabetics that mirrors acid reflux. The ER doctor prescribed Prevacid, and I’ve been on that drug ever since. On the few occasions that I tried to wean myself off the drug, the acid reflux sensation returned. Continue reading


Filed under aging, diet soda, life challenges, men's health

How Many Calories in a McDonald’s Angus Burger?

McDonald’s has been running ads in recent days touting its one-third-pound Angus burger. I’ve written about the calories in its Angus snack wrap but thought this would be a good opportunity to visit the health info for the Angus burger.

McDonald’s Angus burgers

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More on Calories in Maggiano’s Baked Ziti

As I was writing yesterday’s post about the calorie count for Maggiano’s baked ziti, I also e-mailed Maggiano’s asking if it had nutritional information available for its menu items.

I received a reply Monday which told me the chain, owned by Brinker International, does not have such information available because “we have a scratch kitchen that works with fresh ingredients rather than utilizing pre-made items, portions and exact measurements could potentially vary for each individual dish served. Fortunately, that also means we have the ability to customize our food to accommodate each guest’s health and wellness needs.”

My Maggiano's baked ziti

The letter went on to suggest I ask the chef at my local Maggiano’s for recommendations on items such as grilled fish and salads “because these items will use less butter and oils.” Continue reading

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How Many Calories In Maggiano’s Baked Ziti?

My wife and I spent the Saturday before Easter doing our spring cleaning. Our church has an annual rummage sale in late April which provides a great reason to clean out the house each year.

We worked more than five hours emptying and rearranging closets, cabinets and our basement storage rooms, setting aside things for the sale and throwing out enough old boxes to fill our recycling bin to the top and have a second load of recycling ready to go the following week as well.

My Maggiano's baked ziti

..And the bad news, it weighs about two pounds (I had put some from another order into this pan); the container, empty, weighs an ounce and a half.

By about 6:30 p.m., we were exhausted and wanted to reward ourselves with a special dinner. We decided to use gift cards friends had given us for Maggiano’s, an Italian restaurant chain that started in Chicago but now operates around the country. Continue reading

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Can Chocolate Make You Thin?

The Wall Street Journal recently had a headline that made lots of people smile, I’m sure: A Chocolate a Day to Get Slimmer?

It discussed a new study that found people who eat chocolate regularly tend to be slimmer. But just saying that points out the problem with many studies on food intake and calories, disease, etc. While statistical relationships may exist between an action and a condition, that doesn’t mean one causes the other.

Indeed, the Journal reported that “But before people hoping to lose weight indulge in an extra scoop of chocolate fudge swirl, the researchers caution that the study doesn’t prove a link between frequent chocolate munching and weight loss.” Continue reading

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Has John Kicked the HoHo Habit? Not Exactly

Anyone who knows me knows that Hostess HoHos are my junk comfort food of choice. Life/work pressures last year contributed to me consuming 104,338 calories of HoHos, or the equivalent of 29.8 pounds of body weight.

I set a goal late last year to cut my HoHo consumption in 2012 to about 41,000 calories, or about two packages a week.

As the first quarter ended, however, I haven’t hit that target consumption rate, something that surprised me because I thought I was doing well. Continue reading

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Filed under calories, junk food, obesity, portion size, stress

How Much Junk Food am I Eating in 2012?

The answer to the question in the headline is significantly less junk food, thankfully.

As 2011 drew to a close, I blogged about how I’d fallen off the junk food wagon last year, going way overboard in eating such sugary, empty calorie items as Hostess HoHos, M&Ms, chocolate chip cookies and Musketeer bars, among others.

The result was a 17-pound weight gain in 2011, sending me to an unhealthy 221 at year’s end (I’m six feet tall). Since January of this year, however, I have been watching my intake of junk more closely and simply cutting out a lot of it. At the same time, I’m continuing my exercise regimen of about 50 minutes a day. Continue reading

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Will You Share a Package of M & Ms?

While sitting at Kennedy Airport in New York, I noticed something on the package of M&M I just bought, a banner on it announcing it is the “Sharing Size,” meaning it has two servings rather than one inside it.

The food business is working to convince us it’s not making us fat by selling ever larger packages; this sort of label goes to that aim. Why not just post a calorie count of 440 for the entire package and leave it at that? Because that’s a lot of calories for one sitting. So instead the suggestion is to share. Will that keep the regulators happy? The answer to that depends to a great extent on the outcome of the next presidential election.

In the meantime, do you have the will power to share the package?

Editor’s Note: John left the blog in December of 2012. He had some serious issues with food which resulted in his having an angioplasty in August and being severely restricted on his diet going forward. His question about the will power to share the package was not rhetorical.

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How Much Can I Snack?

Snacking is something almost everyone does; having a piece of fruit between meals is not such a bad thing. But, a new USDA study suggests that most of what we snack on is not healthy in the least. Continue reading

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How Much Weight Did I Gain in London?

I’ve been blogging the past week about a recent business trip to London and what I ate while there. I thought it might interest our American readers to know what types of traditional English fare they might encounter should they visit London, and more importantly, what eating it would do to their waistlines.

Many, many cuisines are available in London, of course, it is an international, world-class city after all, but I tried to stick to traditional dishes to experience them and see what would happen in terms of pounds (weight, not money) for me.

London's St. Pauls, as viewed from just outside my company's London office.

When I left home the Saturday before my trip for a weekend outing in Milwaukee to see alma mater Marquette play, I weighed in at 215.8. That’s about six pounds below where I started the year after my 2011 weight-gaining binge. We drove home from Milwaukee that Sunday and my wife dropped me at the airport for my overnight flight to London. Continue reading

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Filed under body fat, diet food, life challenges