Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dietary Tricks and Traps: BMI = 32

Did you know that there is a secret ingredient that can drastically alter your metabolism? It’s not classified as a drug but I’m beginning to think that it should be. That ingredient is sugar and it doesn’t work in your favour if you are trying to shed some fat. I call it a ‘secret’ ingredient because it has secretly snuck into just about every prepared/processed food we eat these days.

I’m sorry I don’t have ‘tricks’ to help you loose weight. For those you’ll have to watch daytime television and keep an eye out for quacks flogging ‘miracle foods’. I can, however, help you avoid being tricked by clever marketing that tries to tap into your desire to make healthier choices. Remember, just because a package is labeled ‘fat free’, that doesn’t mean you can dive-in and eat all you want.

It’s just a food-industry standard these days to slap some healthy keywords or slogans onto every label and it is a practice that does influence customer choices. If Hellman’s stopped adding sugar to their mayonnaise they could slap a ‘no added-sugars’ label on it and likely see an uptick in sales. In the restaurant industry, every menu must have a salad in the principle meals section. The salad that sells best, however, is the classic Caesar salad.

Depending on the portion size and amount of dressing, a Caesar salad might have more fat than an order of fries. A nice garden salad, with a wide variety of vegetables, will offer a bit more ‘good’ nutrition than the Caesar but the dressing still has a lot of fat, likely a lot of sugar, and the bulk of the meal is just lettuce, which won’t keep you full until your next meal. If you have your snacking habits under control then having a garden salad for lunch might help with weight-loss but it isn’t likely a good long-term solution to eating right.

‘Granola’ was a big buzzword in healthy eating for years. It’s very calorie-dense, however, and is usually sweetened. Sprinkling a little over some plain yogurt makes a nice accent but it really shouldn’t be a core food. The same goes for granola bars, breakfast bars, and protein bars. I’m sorry, but granola bars are just rectangular oatmeal cookies – even the ones that aren’t chock-full of chocolate chunks or drizzled with caramel. Protein bars are typically just protein fortified cookies.

Plain popcorn can really satisfy the craving to snack but make sure it is air popped. A lot of movie theatres pop their corn in coconut oil – and it smells incredible. The problem is that it’s very high in unhealthy calories even without that buttery topping.

I’m seeing a lot of ‘veggie chips’ these days. Remember that regular old potato chips are ‘veggie chips’ too. Yes, yellow beetroot has more micro-nutrients than potato and makes a great chip – but still results in a calorie dense snack food loaded in fat. I make a lot of decorative veggie chips at work and the way the servers dive into them just confirms, for me, that they are just as addictive as potato chips.

Yogurt is a very popular ‘healthy’ snack but you really need to read the nutritional information before diving-in. Most yogurts in the dairy aisle of my grocery store are loaded with sugar. There are plenty of ‘low-fat’ and ‘fat-free’ varieties but the nutritional numbers on them put them in a dessert category for me. I did find a nice yogurt that was both fat-free and had no added sugars. It’s artificially sweetened and tastes a bit too sweet for me, but then I eat almost zero added sugars these days.

Sushi seems sinless, and some of it is indeed very healthy. The sauces, however, can really escalate the calories and fat. Watch out for ‘tempura’ sushi rolls that have battered, deep-fried veggies inside. As always, portions are a factor, so don’t binge-eat sushi thinking you are doing your health a favour.

I’m sorry if I seem to be finding flaws in just about every snack you eat. Eliminating snacking was hard but I love being able to eat very hearty meals and I can because I’m not snacking in between meals. My ‘miracle foods’ are all the veggies I eat these days – well-seasoned and steamed.

1 comment:

  1. I have the 100% guaranteed to work secret to dieting. Eat less, do more. guaranteed results. that being said, life is too short to not have chicken wings and nachos