Tag Archives: calorie counting

What Are Calories? How Many Do We Need? – MNT

When I started trying to eat healthy and control my weight, I found that counting calories was a very useful tool. It also happens to be quite easy to use now that I have a smart phone which is always with me. There are all kinds of apps that make calorie counting a snap to do. But, what are calories?

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This item from Medical News Today gives a useful answer.

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and everyday language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity. For example, an apple may have 80 calories, while a one mile walk may use up about 100 calories.

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What do artificial sweeteners do to our blood?

I have strong feelings about the damage done by artificial sweeteners, particularly in diet sodas. You can check out my page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for more details. I cover both offenders, artificial and sugar-laden drinks.

A recent study by investigators at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health measured how much artificial sweetener is absorbed into the blood stream by children and adults after drinking a can of diet soda. Results of this study are published in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry.

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The team measured the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame-potassium, which are found in a wide range of packaged foods and beverages. These artificial sweeteners, also including saccharin and aspartame, have received a lot of attention lately because it has been found that they are not inert chemicals with a sweet taste, but active substances that can affect the metabolism. (my emphasis) Continue reading

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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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All Fat Grams Are Not Created Equal

Here is another super infographic where one picture is worth a thousand words.

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NaturalNews says that avocados boost health in at least five ways:

1. Protein “Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.”

To read more on good fats, check my post: Are Avocados Good for You?

For further info on junk food: A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT.

Tony

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I Changed My Fuel And It Changed My Health’s Trajectory

Lots of good straight information here. So much of weight control has to do with making good decisions, like having small meals, choosing good snacks, etc. As a snacker, that one resonated with me. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly for more details. probiotics yogurt

Tony

Our Better Health

All calories are not equal. Yet we continue to count them in hopes of managing weight and health. Correcting this flawed thinking will forever change your relationship with food, calories and your weight. Changing your fuel just may change your health trajectory.

Consider the significance of changing the fuel you use in your body. It could make the difference between getting promoted, being injury and illness free, lean and healthy, and even finding romance (or not). It can, and I am living proof. When I began to think of calories as more than just a number, I lost 84 pounds, reclaimed my health and looked years younger. When I only counted calories, not considering their source, I was obese and unwell.

Many know the value of this truth about calories. Professional athletes serve as ideal evidence for this argument. The difference between first and last place is often seconds of…

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Dave & Buster’s, Uno Among 2016 Xtreme Eating Award Recipients – CSPI

We really do have to use our heads when we decide to eat out. Some chains’ offerings make a joke out of our attempts at portion control.

One Chain’s Burger Platter Has Nearly 3,000 Calories and 10,000 Milligrams of Sodium

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Perhaps you’ve eaten a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  Picture having a second one.  And a third.  And then a fourth.  Along with two medium orders of fries doused with a combined 18 packets of salt.  For most people, that’s unthinkable.  At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, it’s lunch:  The chain’s Whole Hog Burger has hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, four types of cheese, garlic mayo, and pickles and comes with fries and onion rings.  All told it’s more than a day’s worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams).

That burger is just one of nine recipients of the 2016 Xtreme Eating Awards—conferred annually by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and published in its Nutrition Action Healthletter.  Far from doing their part to reverse the obesity epidemic, America’s chain restaurants are pouring gasoline on the fire, crossing fried chicken and waffles with Eggs Benedict, merging cheeseburgers and egg rolls, and repurposing macaroni and cheese as a sandwich filling. Continue reading

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5 Clean and healthy treats – Infographic

I ran across these in my web wandering and thought they looked useful.

As a total peanut butter lover, I thought number one especially clever. I start every morning with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. If that appeals to you, consider it number six free.

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Lastly, I am not much of a drinker, my girlfriend considers me a cheap date as I rarely exceed one beer on a night out. So, number five doesn’t do much for me.

Please feel free to share any clean and healthy treats you favor.

Tony

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Harvard on Simple Weight Loss Principles

Seconds on the lips; a lifetime on the hips.

We have all heard that old cliche and nodded knowingly. But the fact that two-thirds of us are overweight and half of the heavies are actually obese demonstrates that not enough of us are acting as if we believed it.
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I have written an entire page entitled How to lose weight – and keep it off breaking down the principles and techniques I have used for the past several years to reach my ideal weight and maintain it. I am a regular guy not a saint or superhuman. You can do it, too.

Now comes Harvard Medical School with an item echoing and elucidating my sentiments on weight loss and weight maintenance.

“The pleasure of eating a candy bar lasts but a few minutes. Burning off the calories it delivers can take nearly three-quarters of an hour. Continue reading

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Watermelon Fun!

Here is yet another way to enjoy the wonderful cooling and healthy benefits of watermelon.

I am a giant fan of watermelon. Check out my posts for further details:

How healthy is watermelon?

How about some polar opposites: watermelon and Twinkies?

More good reasons to eat watermelon – Infographic

Vita Mix – Drinking a watermelon

Tony

Eat well, Live well

Today is the first day of July and the summer time is here! What better way to celebrate the first day of July with a fun watermelon drink? Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C,  has plenty of antioxidants (watermelon gets it reddish-pink shades primarily from lycopene!), and has a rich supply of an amino acid called citrulline.

A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy for its size. Heaviness in a watermelon is a good thing because the water content of a watermelon will typically increase along with ripening, and a fully ripened watermelon will be over 90% water in terms of weight! A fully ripened watermelon will also often have a ground spot that has turned creamy yellow in color.

Looking for ideas on what to do with watermelon? Make it into a fun drink. I used plain seltzer water mixed with watermelon for a light spritzer drink…

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Mr. Lazy Cook Makes a Quick Tasty Panini

My grown daughter and her husband gave me a panini maker as a gift some years ago. It was great fun and I made panini sandwiches regularly for a while. Then I got tired of it and moved the appliance off my counter. It has now been around five years since I made a panini.

This billboard truck started it all

I was out on a bike ride yesterday and happened upon a billboard truck with a picture of a panini on it. They were advertising for a local eaterie. As it happens, I passed the truck several times. By the third time, my mouth was watering and I had determined that I would make myself a panini when I got home. Theirs looked so good. I posted about it for willingwheeling. One picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, a tasty 283 calories. Continue reading

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Can You Add Some Exercise to Your Day?

This is really painting with a fine brush on the whole premise of eat less; move more; live longer, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I’m sure you can figure out any number of variations on this that apply to your own life. The mental framework may be more important than the physical exertion.

Just as we are always being tempted by tasty caloric treats, ice cream in the summer, chips and candy around the apartment or at the office, we need to focus our attention on similar calorie burning ‘treats’ for our body.

This is the path not taken. Instead of walking up the sidewalk on the right, I veer left and climb up the grassy hill.

Here is one that I use regularly. During the summer, I walk my dog in a park not far from my apartment. I use that park because there are trees which provide shade for us. My little poodle really suffers from the sun. As you may or may not know, poodles don’t shed. That is good news for me who is allergic, but bad news for her because she has no under layer of fur to keep her warm in the winter and protect from the direct sun in summer. In addition, having had skin cancer, I have no wish for extra ‘rays.’ I wrote a Page on Skin Cancer Facts in General and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular.

I walk her down Randolph St. which is several floors above the park. After our walk we need to get back up to the street. As you can see from the photo, there is a sidewalk and also a grassy hill. I always walk up the grass. It is a lot steeper than the sidewalk and I can feel the pull and burn in my upper leg muscles as I climb to the top. I suppose it is not more than 40 feet from top to bottom, but it is a nice brief workout for my legs. I can definitely feel the difference in resistance compared to walking up via the sidewalk.
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What is Your Ideal Body Weight?

What do you weigh? What should you weigh? In a manner of speaking, that is the starting point for this blog, yet answers from authoritative sources vary widely. Which one to use? It’s up to you, but an informed decision is better than a blind one.

Most folks Google ‘ideal weight‘ and punch in their height and weight to get the answer. Yet most ideal body weight websites use obsolete formulas or tables created in 1979 or earlier, according to Stephen B Halls MD.

Weigh-Scale

Dr. Halls offers “Peoples Choice” ideal weight. That is, the average weight that other people of your age, height, weight and gender describe as their ideal weight. He points out that women tend to imagine their ideal weight as unrealistically low, so they diet too much. Men tend to allow their weight to be higher than medically recommended. Maybe we guys are acting a little macho there. Punch your numbers into his calculator at the link and see for yourself.

His medical recommendation is based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Medical evidence suggests that all body weight in the BMI range of 19 to 25 are reasonably equally healthy for your height.

He offers the Metropolitan Life tables which were created for the Metropolitan Life Insurance company in 1979 although he doesn’t recommend it. He notes that the Met Life tables are very prevalent on the web. Yet, the values are too large for short people and wrong for tall people. They have no age modifiers and frame size is hard to understand.

In addition, Dr. Halls offers several other Ideal body weight formulas widely used with explanations.

I think the good doctor has provided a real public service here. Check it out.

Tony

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Label food with ‘activity equivalent’ calorie info?

I think anything that engages the imagination can help us to understand things better. So, I really like this suggestion from across the pond published in The BMJ  to label food with the equivalent exercise to expend its calories to help people control their food intake and weight.

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive at the Royal Society of Public Health, says giving consumers an immediate link between foods’ energy content and physical activity might help to reduce obesity.

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She explains that with more than two-thirds of the UK population either overweight or obese, “we desperately need innovative initiatives to change behavior at population level.” Yet little evidence indicates that the current information on food and drink packaging, including traffic light labeling, actually changes behavior.

The Royal Society for Public Health has therefore called for the introduction of “activity equivalent” calorie labeling. Continue reading

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Can Food Be Both Delicious and Nutritious?

On its face the answer appears to be affirmative. Of course there is delicious and nutritious food. But not all food. I think food both delicious and nutritious is in the minority. For the most part food is a greater or lesser amount of either quality.

For me, a good example is apples. A while back I posted a suggestion to add blue cheese crumbles to a fresh apple to really spark up the taste. Delicious and nutritious. The cheese makes it more so, but the apples taste great on their own.

The dark side of apples that is, apple pastries, like apple turnovers, apple pie and apple cobbler are also delicious, but not very nutritious. They are packed with a lot of empty calories and bad fats for those few seconds of taste delight.

On a personal basis, I eat apples every day, but I don’t have an apple turnover every day. If I haven’t ridden my bike 20 miles, I don’t even consider eating an apple turnover. That way, at least I have put some calories ‘in the bank’ so I don’t exceed my calorie budget for the day. I also limit myself to half an apple turnover.

But what about other popular taste treats like cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza, that are also delicious, but not nearly as nutritious as other foods less tasty.

I think it is a balancing act. I indulge in all of the above foods, but sparingly. I try for the most part to get my protein from nuts and seeds rather than animal sources. This slashes the amount of bad fats going into my blood stream.

I can give you an example from my own experience. Normally, I start the day with a smoothie from my Vita-Mix machine. But sometimes, I will buy a scone and consume it instead for my breakfast. The smoothie is around 400 calories, but mostly carbs with a lot of protein. The scone has only 190 calories, but they are empty ones compared with the smoothie. One morning that I had a scone instead of a smoothie, I took the bike out for a ride. I managed 20 miles, but found that I was wiped out at the end. I often ride 20 miles after a smoothie breakfast and feel fine. I attribute my lack of energy to having put bad fuel in my tank in the form of the scone. I chose delicious over nutritious.

I have posted a number of my ‘Mr. Lazy Cook’ recipes that are very simply prepared, but offer good nutrients along with the calories. You can click on the lazy cook tags at the right or just search lazy cook and you will find a number of tasty and nutritious items.

When I was writing the blog items on the brain I was particularly impressed with the function of the frontal lobes. They make up our conscience – our director – our impulse control. We need to exercise our frontal lobes when confronted with these tasty treats that are just empty calories. French fries is a good example. They taste great, but are cooked in fat and have lots of empty calories. A small handful of peanuts is a healthier snack.

I talk a lot about exercise here in the blog. I think exercising the frontal lobes is an especially good one. Decide in favor of nutritious over delicious even if you have to give up something in terms of taste. At least you can feel good about the fact that the food isn’t going to waist (yours).

Tony

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The Six Best Doctors

I found this in my web wandering and fell in love with it. I don’t even know if it qualifies as an infographic.

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In the close to 7 years I have been writing this blog I find that a lot of the loose ends have been burned off. In the beginning it was all about losing weight, counting calories, measuring portions, etc. Now, while I am aware of calories and portions, my focus has shifted entirely to simply living healthy. I weigh in the mid 150 pound range where I have dwelt for around five years. I have total confidence that I can control my weight. I don’t try any more. I am simply doing it. Just like Yoda said, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

I don’t think you need expensive gym memberships or more expensive personal trainers to get control of your weight. You can do it.

This infographic, or set of pictures with captions, tells the whole story for me. Get outside, move, drink water, get enough sleep, eat intelligently and enjoy the sunshine.

I hope you can get it to work for you.

For the record: While I don’t use a personal trainer, I realize that they know a lot about exercise and can be very helpful. Also, I have a number of friends who do that for a living. If you feel you need one, by all means, use one.

Tony

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Adults Need to Get Moving – U.S. Dept Health and Human Services

In a recent report, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services tells us that we need to increase our baseline activity to have a chance at living a longer healthier life.

Baseline activities are normal lifestyle activities.

Encouraging Americans to increase their baseline activity is sensible for several reasons:

• Increasing baseline activity burns calories, which can help in maintaining a healthy body weight.
• Some baseline activities are weight-bearing and may improve bone health.
• There are reasons other than health to encourage more baseline activity. For example, walking short distances instead of driving can help reduce traffic congestion and the resulting air pollution.
• Encouraging baseline activities helps build a culture where physical activity in general is the social norm.
• Short episodes of activity are appropriate for people who were inactive and have started to gradually increase their level of activity, and for older adults whose activity may be limited by chronic conditions.

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog.

Right now 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent outright obese. So, increasing our baseline activities is the first step toward reclaiming our health and longevity.

According to another government agency, the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:

Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

Get going, the government says so. It really is not that difficult, you just have to make up your mind that you are going to integrate regular exercise into your life. Good health is a two pronged affair. Eat intelligently and exercise regularly. Simple, but not easy for some. You need to commit to it.
Tony

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