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Want to Lose Weight? You Should Stop Counting Calories

No more meal math: Eating high-quality foods—including plenty of fat—is the new golden rule of weight loss.

Keri Rabe, a 41-year-old elementary school librarian in Austin, Texas, used to be a hard-core calorie counter. Each day for a year, she logged everything she ate, squeezing in caloric space for twice-baked potatoes and tater tot casseroles by making them with low-fat dairy, believing fat would make her fat. She studied the menu before eating out at restaurants, choosing a dish by how many calories she had left for the day. “I thought for sure that was the only way to consistently lose weight,” she says. “I thought I’d have to do it for the rest of my life.”

By one measure, it worked; Rabe lost 10 pounds that year. But even though she met her goal, she was frustrated. She hated doing math before and after every meal, and even though she got away with eating low-quality food while losing weight, she still didn’t feel good—and she wasn’t satisfied.

So one day, Rabe stopped logging and went searching for a better path, not just to lose weight but to keep it off. “I was looking for a way I could eat for the rest of my life,” she says.

Rabe was about to learn what experts are now discovering: The quality of calories is what matters most for staying healthy, losing weight, and maintaining those results.

“When you eat the right quality and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own,” says David Ludwig, MD, an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School, who wrote the 2016 weight-loss book Always Hungry? “You don’t have to count calories or go by the numbers.”

Outsmart your metabolism

The problem with foods that make people fat isn’t that they have too many calories, says Dr. Ludwig. It’s that they cause a cascade of reactions in the body that promote fat storage and make people overeat. Processed carbohydrates—foods like chips, soda, crackers, and even white rice—digest quickly into sugar and increase levels of the hormone insulin.

“Insulin is like Miracle-Gro for your fat cells,” explains Dr. Ludwig. It directs cells to snap up calories in the blood and store them as fat, leaving the body feeling hungry in a hurry. This is why it’s so easy to devour a big bag of chips and still feel famished.

Repeat this cycle too many times and your metabolism will start working against you. What’s more, “when humans try to reduce their calorie balance, the body fights back,” says Dr. Ludwig. This happens in two ways: Metabolism slows in order to keep calories around longer, and you begin to feel hungrier. “This combination of rising hunger and slowing metabolism is a battle that we’re destined to lose over the long term,” he adds. In a dramatic study last year, researchers followed 14 contestants who had all lost big (most about 100 pounds) on The Biggest Loser, and they found this to be the case. Within six years, all but one of them had regained much or all of the weight they had lost because their metabolism stalled and their levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin plummeted.

Put fat back on your plate

The best way to break this fattening cycle is to replace processed carbs with healthy fats, argues Dr. Ludwig: “Fats don’t raise insulin at all, so they can be a key ally for weight loss.”

That idea, of course, contradicts decades of dietary advice. Americans have long been warned about the dangers of fat, since the nutrient contains more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins. By the math alone, replacing fat with carbs seems like a good idea—but it’s not. Studies have shown that people on a low-fat diet tend to lose less weight than people on a low-carbohydrate diet.

In another twist, eating healthy fats—the types that actually support the heart, like the omega-3s in tuna and the monounsaturated fat in olive oil—does not seem to cause weight gain. A trial published last year in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fat for five years lost more weight than those who were told to eat low-fat. A related study showed that folks who followed a high-fat diet reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent, while those instructed to eat a low-fat diet did not.

“After hearing for 40 years how eating fat makes you fat and how we have to count calories to control our weight, people are afraid of foods that humans have enjoyed and viewed as healthy for hundreds of years, like olive oil, nuts, avocado, fatty fish, even dark chocolate,” says Dr. Ludwig. “These foods are among the most healthful foods in existence, even though they are loaded with calories.”

Real, natural foods with fiber, protein, and fat are so satisfying, you’ll naturally eat less of them, the new thinking goes. “If the meal contains all three, then the food will move more slowly through the GI tract,” says Mira Ilic, a clinical dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. When a food takes its time passing through the body, you feel fuller longer.

Instead of choosing a meal based on calories, Ilic advises picking foods from all three categories: one high in fiber, like a vegetable or whole grain; a protein source (think: chicken or salmon); and a healthy fat, like a salad with olive oil and chopped avocado.

Listen to your body’s cues

But it’s still possible to overdo it, even on healthy foods. The biggest temptations are typically peanut butter and almond butter—when you eat them by the spoonful—and whole avocados, says Ilic. She likes the “healthy plate” method of foolproof portion control: assembling half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables, which are automatically healthy; a quarter plate of protein; and a quarter plate of quality carbs, like whole grains or legumes. Foods with healthy fats will pop up in the protein and carb parts of the plate, and if you stick to that formula, you’ll be less likely to overeat them. After creating so well-rounded a meal, you’ll find it easier to keep the amount of good fat you add to it in check.

Another way to guard against overeating healthy-but-rich foods is to slow down at the table. “A lot of people are eating way too fast,” says Ilic. “It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to pick up on satiety, the fullness of the stomach, and you miss the cue of being full if you’re eating too quickly.”

Be present to shed pounds

Recent research found that when people did a short mindfulness exercise called a body scan meditation—in which you take stock of how you feel inside—they were better able to pick up on internal cues that signal hunger and fullness. People who are more mindful have also been shown to experience fewer weight fluctuations over time.

Even though eating quality calories will help you crave treats less, there’s still room for the occasional indulgence. Dr. Ludwig is a fan of dark chocolate, which has heart, brain, and satiety benefits. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can keep the occasional cookie in the mix. “After cleaning the metabolic slate and lowering their insulin, people may be able to enjoy pastries, pasta, etcetera in moderation,” says Dr. Ludwig. If you miss these foods, he recommends experimenting to see what you can handle before cravings are triggered. “For others whose metabolism doesn’t tolerate that as much, the benefits of being in control of hunger and not having to fight cravings will be much greater than the fleeting pleasures of those processed carbohydrates.”

As for Rabe, she ended her year of dodging calories by embarking on a new one in which she embraced fat and reduced sugar. She lost about as much weight while gaining leanness, strength, and a steadier stream of energy.

“I feel so much freer to not be restricted and obsessed over calories,” she says. “I’ve made some really major changes in the quality of my diet, and I feel I can sustain them.”

Best of all, ditching the meal math renewed her love for food, so much so that she started her own cooking blog.

Rabe says she’ll never go back to counting calories. “I’m internally motivated to eat the way I do, because I enjoy it,” she says. “I like the way I feel now.”

 

By Mandy Oaklander             May 26, 2017
 


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Fun Fact Friday

  • People who enjoy helping others and or spending money on others tend to be less stressed, happier and live longer.
  • Extroverted people are likely to overlook typos and grammatical errors that would cause introverted people to negatively judge the writer. 
  • Studies show those who don’t eat breakfast, or eat it only sometimes, are twice as likely to be overweight as those who eat two breakfasts.

 

  • Women cry on average between 30 and 64 times a year, while men cry between 6 and 17 times.
  • Left-handed people tend to have more emotional and behavioral problems than right-handed people.
  • Listening to music at high volumes can make a person calmer, happier and more relaxed.
  • The more stressed you are, the slower your wounds and illnesses heal.
  • A recent study shows that exercise alone doesn’t help with weight loss. It’s your diet that should be the main focus.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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How Fat Has Become the New Normal

Peter Nieman, a well-known pediatrician based at Calgary’s Pediatric Weight Clinic, says that more often than not, when he sits down with parents of children who are overweight or obese, they don’t even realize there’s a problem.

Then, Nieman shows them growth charts and explains the trajectory their children are on: continued weight gain resulting in a significantly increased risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and many other serious conditions.

Mounting research shows the majority of parents, as well as their children, have an inaccurate perception of what constitutes obesity. Studies have shown that children that register as overweight according to medical benchmarks, rarely consider themselves as such, and are rarely considered overweight by their parents.

Why can’t we recognize the person sitting beside us at the dinner table, or looking back at us in the mirror, as overweight? The answer could lie in the fact there are more overweight adults in Canada than there are individuals considered to have a “normal” healthy weight. As it becomes more common for individuals to be overweight, our collective perception of what is “normal” weight is being skewed.

In short, fat is the new normal.

“There’s just some places where the norm is being overweight, so people just see themselves as melting in with everybody else,” Nieman said. “Everybody looks like that, so [the feeling is,] what’s the big deal?”

The number of Canadian adults who are overweight or obese remains stubbornly high, at roughly two-thirds of the population. Similar trends are found in young people: Statistics Canada reported recently that about three in 10 children and adolescents in Canada are overweight or obese, a number that has remained stagnant for a decade. The consequences of our misperceptions are steep. A study published in the British Medical Journal last week found that obese young people have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels and thickening of heart muscles. If they remain obese into adulthood – a strong likelihood without intense intervention – they face up to a 40 per cent increased risk of experiencing a stroke or developing heart disease in the future, the study found.

fat

Katerina Maximova, assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, led a 2008 study that found 23 per cent of children and adolescents in Quebec were overweight or obese, but less than 2 per cent identified themselves as carrying too much weight. Young people whose parents or peer groups were overweight were significantly more likely to report having normal weight, even if they were overweight or obese.

“This means the social norms about what constitutes a normal weight are changing to accommodate the prevailing larger sizes,” Maximova said. “That was the disturbing message from our study.”

Few parents ever recognize their child has a serious weight issue, even if he or she is obese. A study in the Canadian Family Physician Journal found 63 per cent of parents with overweight children said their child’s weight was normal; 63 per cent of parents of obese children classified them as overweight.

Nieman says more than half of the parents of overweight or obese children he sees are overweight themselves, he said. A combination of busy lifestyles, reliance on convenience foods that are high in fat and calories and too little physical activity all contribute to the issue.

But as excess weight becomes increasingly normalized, we are less likely to consider it a problem. “We no longer see the issue,” Maximova said. “We’re no longer alarmed by it.”

That’s why a number of experts in the medical community want to shift the discussion from weight to activity. Instead of telling people about the importance of losing weight, it could be much more effective to make it easier for people to get out and be physically active in their communities.

“I’m not so concerned about their body size,” said Katherine Morrison, a pediatric endocrinologist and co-director of the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster University in Hamilton. “I’m very concerned about their health.”

Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, said possible solutions are as simple as making neighbourhoods more walkable or using public money to create supervision in public parks, instead of building a new community centre that may not be accessible to everyone.

Doctors also have an important role to play. Too few of them speak to parents about their child’s weight or measure body-mass index and growth on a consistent basis, even though all the research points to the fact that early intervention is key to preventing a lifetime of health problems related to weight.

“If you have a problem and nobody talks about it … there’s an elephant in the room,” Nieman said. “It’s going to be more difficult to treat those children.”

CARLY WEEKS     The Globe and Mail     Sunday, Sep. 30, 2012


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12 Nutritionists Share the Top Tips They Give to Clients Trying to Lose Weight

Their best advice, on the house

Nutritionists have a lot of advice to give, especially around weight loss. But what are the number one tips they tell people who are trying to drop pounds?

We tapped 12 nutritionists for the answer—you might be surprised by what they said.

Be Nice to Yourself 
“Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. All too often we revert to negative self-talk, especially when it comes to our bodies. ‘You look so fat in that’ might pop into your head when you talk to yourself, but you would never use such harsh words to someone dear to you. Try to be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy. That negative talk could lead to apathy, overeating, and dietary sabotage.” —Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author of  Read It Before You Eat It

Ask Yourself if You’re Really Hungry 
“Learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Traditional diets cut calories, which can seem like a drastic change if you are used to eating more food than your body needs. When you feel deprived, it’s hard to find the motivation to continue, which is why most traditional diets fail. Instead, focus on fueling your body when you are hungry with healthy, nourishing foods. When you reach for a snack at 2 p.m. because you ‘always’ do, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just bored, tired, or stressed. If you’re hungry, have a healthy snack. If you’re not, figure out what emotion is really going on and address that. Shifting the focus to this mindset makes weight loss so much easier.” —Alexandra Caspero, R.D., founder of Delicious Knowledge

Stop Dwelling on What You Shouldn’t Eat 
“Focus on the foods and drinks you should be saying ‘yes’ to, rather than focusing on ones you should cut. If your mantra is ‘no junk food,’ it’s likely that junk food—the very thing you are trying to avoid—is top-of-mind. Focusing on eating the healthy foods you love, like roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, or Sriracha hummus, makes you think about how to include them in your daily or weekly meals. That will help your unhealthy choices fall to the wayside.” —Tori Holthaus, R.D., founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC

Eat Whole, Not “Health” Foods 
“Weight loss will happen as a side effect of choosing whole foods that provide the nutrients you need. New research demonstrates that foods labeled as ‘healthy,’ like ‘healthy cookies,’ may be contributing to the obesity epidemic because people are more likely to overeat them.” —Brigid Titgemeier, R.D., registered dietitian nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine

weight-loss

Move More 
“Of course we have to watch our calories consumed, but how about focusing on calories expended? According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. I recommend trying a combination of things such as strength training, cardiovascular training, and core work to increase activity and lose weight. Keep a journal of your active minutes each week, or use an app, to stay accountable and hit your minute goals. —Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia

Don’t Ditch the Fat
“It’s a common misconception that you need to cut fat out of the diet to lose weight; however, omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, and monounsaturated fatty acids in foods such as avocado and olive oil have been linked to healthier waistlines. Eat these healthy fats to increase satiety and lose weight more easily.” —Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University

Make a Plan
“Planning is the key to weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, and living a healthy lifestyle. Plan out your meals and snacks in advance, grocery shop based on those meals and snacks, prep food ahead of time, and think through the ways you can incorporate your favorite unhealthy foods in moderation. In my experience the people who plan are the ones that succeed.” —Wesley Delbridge, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Rework Your Favorite Meals 
“Don’t eliminate the foods you love. Instead, learn how to eat them in a healthier way. For example, don’t stop eating pasta. Add lots of veggies and lean protein, like shrimp, chicken, or beans to your pasta bowl, and avoid heavy, creamed sauces. Remember, the real win in weight loss is keeping the weight off, not just losing it quickly.” —Keri Gans, R.D., author of  The Small Change Diet

Make Changes You Can Stick With 
“Find a diet that is a lifestyle change you can embrace forever. Studies show that ‘diets’ don’t work because people don’t stay on them. A diet shouldn’t be something you go ‘on’ and ‘off.’ It should be something sustainable. It should be a way of eating for life—an eating pattern that doesn’t make you feel hungry, deprived, or obsessed with food.” —Sharon Palmer, R.D., author of Plant-Powered for Life

Follow Your Own Path 
“There is no one meal plan that will lead to sustainable weight loss in everyone. People have to find what works for them, based on their own needs and preferences. —Maria Elena Rodriguez R.D., program manager of The Mount Sinai Health System’s Diabetes Alliance

Don’t Forget Calories 
“No matter what plan you’re following, if you take in too much energy, it will get stored. When you’re aware of roughly how many calories you’ve eaten for breakfast and lunch, you’ll know if you can have some dessert after dinner. It’s kind of like a budget.” —Holly Herrington, R.D., dietitian at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medicine

Take Things Slow
“Don’t try to change everything about your diet at once. Start by making one improvement in what you’re eating or one improvement in how much you’re eating, but don’t try to change both at once. Ease into it, and you’ll find that the healthy changes you make become much more doable.” —Georgie Fear, R.D., author of “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss”

K. ALEISHA FETTERS    January 19, 2016


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How Emotional Eating Is a Habit That Can Start in Childhood

The way we feed children may be just as important as what we feed them.

By Claire Farrow, Emma Haycraft, Jackie Blissett / The Conversation May 16, 2016

Food can be an extremely effective tool for calming young children. If they are bored on a long car journey, or fed up with being in the pushchair, many parents use snack foods to distract them for a little longer. Or if children are upset because they have hurt themselves or want something they cannot have, the offer of something sweet is often used to “make them feel better.”

But what are the effects of using food as a tool to deal with emotions like boredom or sadness? Does it turn children into adults who cannot cope with being bored or upset without a sweet snack? Probably not. There certainly isn’t any evidence to suggest that occasionally resorting to the biscuit tin will affect children in this way. But what if we do it on a regular basis? What happens when sweets and biscuits become the tool for rewarding children for good behavior and doing well? Or if food is consistently withheld as a punishment?

There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that using food as a tool or as a reward regularly with children may be associated with a greater risk of emotional eating. In a recent study we explored whether children as young as three preferred to play with toys or eat snack foods if they were feeling stressed.

All the children had just eaten lunch so were not hungry, and were then observed to see what they did in a four minute period – eat or play with toys – whilst waiting for someone to look for a missing final piece of a jigsaw. Children aged three to five did not tend to eat much more in comparison to a control group. However, in a similar experiment when the children were two years older, we found many of the children would eat foods when they were not hungry (emotional overeating), rather than play.

It appears that somewhere between the ages of four and six, the tendency to emotionally overeat may increase in many children. And parents who told us they frequently used food as a reward (or its withdrawal as a punishment) when their children were younger, were more likely to have children who emotionally overate when they were aged five to seven. This suggests that frequent use of food as a reward or punishment in that younger period may predict a greater chance of children using food as an emotional tool later in life.

overweight

Of course you may be thinking that your own exposure to “reward” foods hasn’t had any lasting impact on your current eating behavior. But it is worth considering how society has changed in the last few decades to market and promote high calorie foods to children. Many people believe we live in an “obesogenic society,” where our environment has evolved to promote obesity rather than support healthy eating. The fact that around a third of English school children are overweight or obese is testament to this. With grab-bag sized bags of chocolates being promoted to children, supersized portions in fast-food outlets and even clothes shops selling sweets at children’s eye level in queues, it is clear our children need to adapt to cope with constantly being marketed large portions of high calorie foods.

So how can we navigate this complex environment, juggling the balance of making food enjoyable and sociable, whilst helping children to achieve a healthy and balanced diet? Sweet foods are a fun part of life and not necessarily something we want to remove. Even if we eliminated all links between food, emotion and reward in the home, the reality is that society is full of situations where children will experience being given calorie dense foods as a reward or as part of celebrations. It would be a pity to take away the joy that children find in party bags, birthday cakes, Easter eggs and other celebration foods. Perhaps thinking about not just what foods we give children, but also how and why we give certain foods to children at particular times is a good way to start.

Teaching children how to manage their appetites, to eat if they are hungry and to stop if they are full, is an important lesson which is often overlooked.

Eating patterns can usually be tracked across life, so children who learn to use food as a tool to deal with emotional distress early on are much more likely to follow a similar pattern of eating later in adult life. Around three quarters of children who are obese will continue to be obese as adults. Emotional overeating is one factor that has been linked not only with overeating and obesity, but also with the development of eating disorders. To combat this, the way we feed children, and the lessons we provide about how to use food, may be just as important as what we feed them.


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8 Best Spices to Help You Lose Weight

Life in the 21st century has become sedentary for many people. Modern entertainment, fast food, lack of time, etc. contributes to only about 4 out of every 10 people exercising on a regular basis. As a result, many people find it very hard to lose weight and keep it off.

There is some good news though; recent studies have shown that spicy foods can curb appetite and speed up metabolism and thus have a fat burning ability. “How?” you might ask. Hot spices, especially chiles, may inhibit overeating because they contribute to satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating. Not to mention it may be more difficult to overindulge in a hot, spicy food due to the fact that you may become uncomfortable before you can overeat.

In addition to making people feel full faster, chili powder and many other spices have a thermogenic effect. This results in the body heating itself from within, which revs up the metabolism. The term metabolism describes the sum of all chemical processes that take place in the body. It manages the movement of nutrients in the blood after digestion which results in growth, energy and other body functions. Certain spices cause our bodies to burn extra calories by boosting the metabolic rate and thus stimulating weight loss. Some studies have found that adding thermogenic spices at a meal can increase the number of calories burned by 25% for up to an hour after the meal. Hey every little bit helps! The following spices have been shown to have this effect to some degree:

Black Pepper– Black pepper has been shown to raise the body temperature and increase metabolism. “Found in dried black pepper, piperine may prevent new fat cells from forming,” Web MD. It also has been shown to aid in digestion because when it is eaten, a signal is sent to your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid. This acid is necessary for the digestion of protein and other foods in the stomach. When not enough hydrochloric acid is produced by the stomach, the results can range from gas and indigestion to diarrhea. Black Pepper also has been found to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Chili Powder– Chili powder contains capsaicin, which is a powerful stimulant that raises the body temperature and fat burning ability by up to 25% and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and improve circulation. “Research shows that people who don’t typically eat spicy foods are most likely to benefit from turning the heat up a notch. Capsaicin seems to affect metabolism by raising body temperature, which uses up more energy,” Web MD.

spicerack

Cayenne Pepper and Tabasco Sauce– According to Scientists at the Laval University in Quebec, participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have less appetite, leading to less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic-booster, aiding the body in burning excess amounts of fats because metabolic rate and fat burning ability is increased by up to 25%.

Cumin– According to a study at the University of Chicago, cumin increases metabolism, especially when used in curry spice blends. It is also high in Iron which directly affects the level of energy you have, in turn helping you exercise more or less. Many people do not get enough Iron in their daily diet which can cause fatigue and/ or Iron deficiency.

Mustard– In a British study, adding ordinary mustard to a meal caused the average metabolic rate of participants to increase by 25% and the effects lasted up to 3 hours. Mustard is high in fat, and while fat provides more calories than carbohydrates and protein, it can aid in dieting, as it induces feelings of fullness. Mustard is also high in dietary fiber which helps in digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

Turmeric– Turmeric helps with weight loss because it increases the activity of your metabolism for short bursts of time after you ingest it. According to LIVESTRONG, it also helps prevent weight gain after the initial weight has been lost (which is just as important). Turmeric prevents the re-growth of fat after weight loss by inhibiting the expansion and growth of fat tissue through the formation of new blood vessels.

Ginger– Has been shown to increase metabolic rate and decrease appetite. It also helps with digestion and regulating your body’s internal rhythm. Ginger is also used to inhibit nausea sometimes caused by car sickness. Not only is ginger an excellent flavor for tea, but we love putting it in our healthy smoothies!

Cinnamon– Researchers have found that using just ¼ to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon can increase your metabolism and improve your body’s ability to handle sugar by stimulating insulin activity. It is also a digestive aid which helps keep everything in your digestive system flowing smoothly. Cinnamon also helps increase energy levels and concentration which have positive effects when it comes to weight loss.

No one can promise weight loss. Consuming these spices is not a magic weight lose bullet. The best way to lose weight is talk to your doctor to make sure that you’re healthy enough to exercise. Once you do start exercising you have to burn more calories than you consume. But it can’t hurt to rev up your metabolism by adding some of these spices for a little extra burn effect (besides they help make your food taste so much better, too).


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92 Percent Of All Restaurant Meals Have Crazy Calorie Counts

No, not just fast food restaurants. All restaurants.

Kate Bratskeir    Food and Health Editor, The Huffington Post    01/25/2016

You probably don’t expect every meal you eat at a restaurant to contain a large number of calories. Sure, the occasional fast food cheat meal might be excessive, but your local farm-to-table place feeds you well, right?

According to new research from Tufts University, nearly all restaurant meals – whether from a fast food joint or the luxurious confines of a Michelin-reviewed kitchen – contain way too many calories.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, measured 364 restaurant meals from both large chain and local restaurants and a variety of cuisines, finding that 92 percent of them exceed the recommended calorie requirements for a single meal.

What’s more, one third of these meals exceeded the energy requirement for an entire day. And, just as a reminder, the meals didn’t include typical restaurant accompaniments, like drinks, appetizers or dessert.

We need to take control of our plates.

The researchers did not go into why restaurant dishes are so caloric, but it’s not hard to come up with a guess: sugar, fat and salt make things taste better. A chef’s priority is to make food enjoyable, so they use more of the stuff that also makes food more caloric.

What’s more, portion sizes all but guarantee overeating.  In a 2015 study from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, researchers did not find any correlation between the consumption of junk foods and being overweight. Instead, it is the size of the meals that most contributed to America’s obesity epidemic.

Eat

This isn’t a jab at the artful work that restaurant staffers do. It’s a reminded to eat more food at home, and to be mindful of the portion on your plate. You might consider boxing up half of a meal to have for lunch the following day, rather than scarfing it all down on a full stomach to make the most of your spent money.

“Although fast-food restaurants are often the easiest targets for criticism because they provide information on their portion sizes and calories, small restaurants typically provide just as many calories, and sometimes more,” said Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts in a statement.

And restaurants need to change, too.

We need to take a thoughtful pause and reconsider how we consume: In 2015, Americans spent more on dining out than groceries for the first time on record.

Bf we want to continue enjoying food outside of our homes but improve our health, restaurant practices will need to change, too. Legislation that makes it possible for customers to order smaller-sized portions could be a successful start, study co-author William Masters, Ph.D., professor of food economics at the Friedman School, said in the study’s press release.

“Customers could then order anything on the menu in a more appropriate size, and be able to eat out more often without weight gain.”

While you wait for restaurant meals to come in healthier sizes, you might consider making the majority of your meals at home. Besides being less caloric, studies show home-cooked meals are nutritionally healthier and socially beneficial, too.