Tag Archives: pasta

Pasta not fattening study reports

Good news for Italian food lovers everywhere! Research from I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, shows that, unlike popular beliefs, pasta consumption does not contribute to obesity; on the contrary: it is associated with a decrease in body mass index.

In recent years pasta gained a bad reputation: it will fatten you. This led lots of people to limit its consumption, often as part of some aggressive “do it yourself” diets. Now a study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, does justice to this fundamental element of the Mediterranean diet, showing how pasta consumption is actually associated with a reduced likelihood of both general and abdominal obesity.

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A typical bowl of pasta amounts to more than a single serving.

The research, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, examined over 23,000 people recruited in two large epidemiological studies: Moli-sani and INHES (Italian Nutrition & Health Survey), conducted by the same Department. “By analyzing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits – explains George Pounis, first author of the paper – we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite. Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.” Continue reading

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How to Lose Weight Using Portion Control

My main focus is living a healthy life and exercising regularly. Paying attention to what I eat is a primary tool and one of the best techniques for this is paying attention to portion control and serving size. I truly don’t try to lose weight. I have been within five pounds of 155 for the past eight years.

If you are overweight, you can use the portion control tool to jump start your weight loss efforts.

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).
Continue reading

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How the Right Perspective can Jump Start Weight Loss

I fought the battle of the bulge for decades with only small sporadic successes that were always followed by further weight gains. I like to eat and I really enjoy pizza, potato chips as well as ice cream and other fattening sweets. That’s why my problem wouldn’t go away. If it tasted good then I wanted to eat more and I often didn’t stop till the food ran out. Not a healthy practice!

Then I was lucky enough to get involved in writing this blog on diet, exercise and good health. What happened next was almost like magic. At the time, 2010, I had pared my weight down to 165 pounds from a high several years earlier of over 220. So, I considered myself to be a success, although probably only temporarily. But, writing the blog changed my perspective. I no longer thought of food as something just wonderful to consume with no further consequences. I became aware of portion control and serving size. I started paying attention to them. Previously, I had considered a serving of pasta, another of my favorites, to be a heaping plateful. Wrong. A cup of pasta amounts to 220 calories. And, that is without tomato or meat sauce.

This is one cup of pasta - 200 calories

This is one cup of pasta – 200 calories

When I say the change in perspective worked like magic, I mean just that. After several months of writing the blog, I found that my pants were sliding down around my diminishing waistline! I actually went to the doctor because I thought I must have cancer because the first thing they always ask is, “Have you experienced recent weight loss?”

It turned out that I was perfectly healthy. My body was just responding to my changed perspective of paying attention to what I ate and not simply overindulging because it tasted good.

That has been my actual experience. Today in late 2014, I weigh in the low 150 pound range where I have been for several years.

I truly believe it was the changed perspective toward food that accomplished in months what I had failed at for decades.

A friend recently emailed me a fun example of perspective that I want to share with you. It is a test for admission to an elementary school in Hong Kong. There is a series of numbers in a parking lot. You need to fill in the missing one. I confess I didn’t pass it. And, I hasten to add that I am good at math.

See how you do.

You are to answer in 20 seconds. I took way longer and still missed it. I will publish the answer tomorrow.

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Good luck!

Tony

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Is Food an End or a Means for You? – Key Weight Loss Principle

I am nearing the end of my fourth year of blogging on health in general and weight loss in particular. In the beginning I had experienced a small amount of success, but the mental exercise of blogging on the subject sharpened my focus and really accelerated my progress. In 2010 I had my weight ‘down to’ 165 pounds which was my best weight in the past decade – down from over 220 pounds at my worst. So, I felt I had reason to feel good about myself.

Now, however, nearly four years later, I have my weight down to the low 150s. In addition, my cholesterol level is sub 200 with the key HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) reading at 85. I have less than 17 percent body fat and my waistline is 31 inches, the same as it was in high school. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. Clearly I have progressed positively.

One serving of pasta -200 calories - is about the size of a tennis ball.

One serving of pasta -200 calories – is about the size of a tennis ball. This is 200 calories without sauce.

What changed? A couple of things. The first is that I became conscious of portion size and portion control. As I wrote in a previous post, I used to think a ‘serving’ of pasta was a plate full. WRONG. A serving is about the size of a  tennis ball which amounts to around 200 calories – without pasta sauce on it. So, when I was eating a plate full of pasta, I was probably packing away 800 to 1000 calories. No wonder I could never lose weight. I learned that you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. That may sound obvious, but it wasn’t for me.  I was more focused on the pleasure of the food than its function – to keep me healthy.

Moving on from serving sizes, the next most important concept I learned in writing this blog is that I was considering food as an end in itself. That is, if I were having pizza, I would eat my fill of it – for the simple pleasure of enjoying how good it tasted. More was better. This is a road map for overeating.

Now that I am aware of portion sizes and calorie counts, I still love the taste of pizza, but I consume it totally differently. I enjoy a slice or two and genuinely savor the taste while not overindulging in the quantity. The pizza has become a means to an end – satisfaction of my hunger and replenishing my body with energy stores. It is no longer an end in itself.

I think getting this concept straight in your head will help guide you to eating well and intelligently without the kind of overindulgence that put me over 220 pounds and has resulted in our having 60 per cent of us overweight and 30 per cent outright obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition.

Since I have begun looking on food in terms of what it can do for me as opposed to simply how good it tastes, I find myself eating a lot more intelligently. I include more salads in my diet as well as a full complement of nuts and seeds which are wonderful energy, protein and fat sources that don’t clog my arteries. Regarding artery clogging, I am eating a lot fewer burgers, fries and steaks these days, too. It all adds up to less weight and better health.

As I wrote on my page How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off, everything you eat and drink becomes a part of you. If you think about it that way,  you might be more careful about what and how much you are eating.

Tony

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Mr. Lazy Cook Makes Pasta Hawaiian Style

What is Hawaiian style Pasta? In  the case of Mr. Lazy Cook it is something he concocted for a friend when she told him she was allergic to olive oil. After all, what goes better with pasta than olive oil?

This is a simple variation on my recipe for shrimp pasta.
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I use the Pasta Boat to cook my pasta. I wrote up my purchase of it
a while back. Whatever way you make your pasta, this recipe starts with it in the cooked form.

I wrote up coconut oil less than a month ago and have integrated this very healthful ingredient into my cooking and my life. I know the cliche about saturated fat, but please read my blog post on it before jumping to judgment.

Okay, let’s make some Hawaiian Style Pasta.

Take a serving of the cooked pasta, instead of olive oil, add coconut oil to taste. Mix well.

Cut up some pineapple wheels. I have a store that sells fresh cored pineapple and keep on in my fridge at all times. I probably eat about one to two pineapples a week, just cutting wheels off it and snacking. (A wheel of pineapple amounts to 42 calories. Just out of the fridge I prefer it to ice cream.).

Depending on how many you are cooking for, I suggest about one wheel per serving. Remember a serving size of pasta is around a cup full. Pasta is a high calorie dish so you need to be vigilant about this. (In the bad old days when I was overweight, I naively thought a serving of pasta was a plateful. No wonder I was heavy!)

I cut each wheel into around eight to 10 pieces. Mix these into the serving of pasta and microwave for around a minute, depending on your microwave.

When this comes out of the microwave, I top it with parmesan cheese and serve it up.

I thought it tasted great. Not like any pasta I could remember. The coconut oil also adds a nice flavor element.

One serving of pasta amounts to 200 calories, one wheel of pineapple 42 calories and two teaspoons of coconut oil 87 calories, so one serving of this Hawaiian Style pasta amounts to 329 calories.

Tony

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Filed under coconut oil, health, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook

How to Lose Weight Using Portion Control

For the record, I advocate living a healthy life, eating intelligently and exercising regularly. I am not into ‘weight loss’ any more. By living healthy, I have melted off excess pounds and they stay off.

If you are carrying extra weight and want a superb tool for getting control of your weight and waist, you must know about portion control and serving size.

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).
Continue reading

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Filed under calories, portion size, Weight

Portion Size vs. Serving Size Reminder – Pasta

Portion size and serving size are probably the two key concepts of getting control of your weight. Once you have them clear in your mind, you are on track for success.

Being of Italian descent, pasta comes to mind immediately. I always thought of a serving of pasta as a plate full of it. Wrong! A normal portion size of pasta is about the size of a bar of soap. That amounts to 200 calories … without any sauce or meatballs, which can quickly more than double the calorie count.

This is a restaurant sized serving of pasta. It amounts to far more than a 200 calorie serving.

This is a restaurant sized serving of pasta. It amounts to far more than a 200 calorie portion.

You may choose to eat more, but at least understand where you that puts you in your calorie count for the day. If you have a big restaurant-sized pasta lunch, cut down at dinner. Or, add a little something to your workout. Tread a little farther on the treadmill, etc.

An additional observation on serving size: If you buy a bag of chips and it says, “150 calories per serving.” That is the beginning of the facts. You need to know how much is a serving. For example, if a serving is one ounce and there are four ounces in the bag. You will consume 600 calories if you eat the entire bag. You need to pay attention to both serving size and portion size.

Check out Prevention Magazine’s iPhone app Portion Control at the iTunes store for more of the same.

Tony

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Filed under healthy eating, men and healthy eating, portion control, portion size