Tag Archives: calorie density

Fat Calories in common foods

Fat Culprits In Your Diet

Most people know the difference between good fats and bad fats but do they realize making even small changes in the amounts of the usual culprits high in fat calories can help them lose up to a pound a month with no pain?  Everyone thinks that eating a salad for lunch is going to move that scale needle southward.  But when you load that salad with nuts, olives, avocado, cheese and dressing, that healthy salad can deliver as many calories as a Big Mac with fries.

Fat Calories Add Up

Fat calories are twice as potent as calories from carbohydrates and protein.  There are 9 calories in a gram of fat versus only 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate and protein.  The chart below lists some common foods that people eat regularly that are high in the heart healthy unsaturated fats but calorie dense because they are high in fat. fat calories in good fatsEaten without attention to portion sizes, these foods can pack a lot of calories.  A salad topped with 10 olives, half an avocado, 2 oz of chopped nuts, a few slices of cheese and some dressing can deliver over 1000 calories, or more than the 930 calories in a Big Mac with medium fries.  And you salad eaters are thinking, “that salad didn’t even contain one carbohydrate, so it’s got to help me lose weight, right?”  Nope.  fat calories in salad dressing

Salad dressing is the big calorie kicker depending on the choice.  Two Tbsp of Caesar salad dressing delivers 165 calories, and that’s if you are measuring.  If you are getting your salad from the grocery store and pouring the dressing from those large containers, how do you really know?  I know the prepackaged servings of dressings at the deli near me is a 1/4 cup serving or 4 Tbsp.  That can be at least 290 calories.

What if you are adding extra “healthy ingredients” like artichokes or some of the other vegetable like the ones in the Whole Food’s salad bar that are swimming in oil; that adds additional calories.

Count Your Fat Culprits

The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program focused on the total grams of fat in the diet with fat gram goals geared around an individual’s weight.  CDC Fat Gram GoalI always thought it was strange that a diabetes program would focus on fat and not carbohydrates, but truthfully it is much simpler to track just fats than total calories.  Furthermore, you get more bang for your effort by reducing total grams of fat since they are high in calories.  With 3600 calories in a pound, cutting out 15 gms of daily fat will mean a one pound weight loss in about 27 days.  That doesn’t seem like much, but that’s 14 pounds in a year and it’s painless with just a little awareness and a few substitutions.  low fat substitutioinsHere’s how you can find cut those fat grams in just your lunch salad.  Reducing the avocado to  one quarter will save 7 gms of fat.  Cutting the portion of nuts in half will save you another 7 gms.  Using fat-free Feta cheese, which is sharp and still has the consistency of cheese, will save you another 10 gms.  Being mindful of salad dressing portion sizes, or better yet making your own by using a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to oil (I like adding lemon juice and herbs to mine) will save you another 7 gms.  With just these suggestions you would save 21 gms of fat, 190 calories and a pound in 19 days.  That doesn’t even include making other small changes like switching to light mayo, or using mustard or hummus in lieu of mayo on sandwiches, or using fat-free Greek yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream in dips.

Your Culprits Are Calorie Dense

Often times I hear people being frustrated that they are not losing weight despite their best intentions of eating a salad every day.  Making these small changes are painless and yield big results.  It doesn’t take a radical diet to lose weight.  It takes knowing what your culprits are, making small changes that don’t lead to feelings of deprivation, and being mindful of portion sizes.  Losing weight gradually is a much healthier and more sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off.  That’s the healthy way to a happy weigh!

Barbara writes a biweekly blog to help inform and empower people to live healthy lives.  Please “share” her articles and “like” her facebook page to help spread the word.

 

Are You Eating Less, But Not Losing Weight?

calorie dense lunchAre you frustrated with eating less at each meal, feeling hungry more often and not seeing the number on your scale budge southward at all?  Have you been successful keeping the munchie foods out of the closet yet are still craving them?  Have you stopped baking cookies and buying ice cream but are mad that you haven’t lost one pound after making all these sacrifices?

What Is Eating Less?

Is eating less just eating smaller portions of what you have always eaten?  Is it eating less trying to add things that you have heard are healthy while cutting back on other foods?  Is eating less skipping breakfast and lunch and then eating a dinner that never quite stops until bedtime?

There is no way to really know what “eating less” is until you actually calculate the calories that you are eating.  The Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter Book or app has a good inventory of food listings including some restaurant common food listings.  Myfitnesspal also is a great app for recording your food intake and letting it to the calculating for you.

The above meal may be less for someone who would normally eat 3 or 4 pieces of pizza along with a liter of coke, but it also has some foods that are high in calories like the cheese and sausage on the pizza and the avocado.  A piece of pizza has about 240 calories and a half of an avocado has about 160 calories.  Even though the avocado has a healthier fat than pizza, both are still high in fat which boost the calories considerably.  This meal contains about 450 calories but doesn’t have the volume of food that the one below contains.

Calorie Density

Something to consider when trying to lose weight while not “eating less” is to consider the calorie density of food.  The more fat in a food, the higher the calorie density.  So an avocado, which is about 90% fat has about 15 grams of fat.  You may remember that fat has 9 calories in each gram, while protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram.  While you need fat in each meal as a way to fill you up and absorb fat soluble vitamins, you don’t want to over do it by getting too many calories.

healthy lunchThis same meal to the right has fewer calories than the one above – about 200 calories, but look at the volume of food!  This has much fewer calories but it is not “eating less”.  It has much more volume because it has so many non-starchy veggies and unsweetened fruit that are naturally lower in calories.  You could even add some lettuce and a half cup of black beans and only add another 100 calories to the meal.  And you would still be eating fewer calories that the above meal.

Just be careful if you add salad dressing.  One tbsp of oil has 120 calories.  One way to get around it is to either try salad spritzer or make your own dressing with 3/4 vinegar and 1/4 oil and measure your portion.

Timing

Some people have more success with weight loss when they eat four or five smaller meals each day.  Going more than 5 hours between meals can cause your metabolism to slow down which is why skipping meals does not work if you are trying to lose weight.  The above meal would be a great idea as one of those meals.

You do not have to eat less in order to lose weight.  You just have to know how many calories are in your foods and choose accordingly. In general, filling your plate with more non-starchy veggies and much less fatty foods like fried foods, fatty meats, cheese, cream sauces, salad dressing and baked goods will get you to your goal.  It’s not rocket science but it does mean coming to terms with all these other food favorites and that is where a good health coach can help.