Tag Archives: calories

5 Things to Know About the New Food Labeling Laws

movie-popcorn

Late last week the Food and Drug Administration made a huge announcement that basically holds more businesses accountable for the calories in the food they choose to serve. The new food laws, which falls under the Affordable Care Act, will absolutely affect you; expect to know how many calories are in that tub of popcorn at the movie theater, for instance.

Let’s break down the most important changes you will notice next year.

1. All major businesses will need to display their calorie counts. 

Some big cities are already held to this standard, like New York City. But the FDA’s new laws will require any establishment that sells prepared food (and also has more than 20 locations) to display its food’s calorie information. A one-stop independent bakery will not be affected, but your local and booming coffee purveyor that’s become a chain will not be exempt.

2. Calories will be on the menu. 

Calorie content will appear on menus and menu boards in restaurants, though bakeries, coffee shops, pizza joints, movie theaters, and amusement parks will be affected, as well. The idea is to provide easy access to the caloric information of your food choices to help you realize exactly what you are ingesting. The FDA also hopes that it will inspire restaurants to make healthier food preparation choices. (more…)

Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn Off a 244-Calorie Serving of Guacamole

May is here and Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. You know what that means: Guacamole season—which in my mind  lasts from around May through September—is upon us!

guac

It may be obvious, but Guacamole is probably my favorite food, one of the three things I would want with me on a desert island. A few years ago I even had a “guac off” for my birthday party, asking guests to bring different versions of the classic green condiment/first-course which we of course then taste-tested and voted on. Versions included one with cranberries, one with chipotle chilis, and one with bacon. All were delicious, no surprise.

The good new is, guacamole is made of all sorts of good for you stuff: the avocados are full of heart healthy omega 3s and the onions, cilantro, jalepeno, and so forth provide a ton of nutrients. But moderation is not something I have an easy time practicing with guacamole, and I know I’m not alone: nutrition sites suggest a serving size of 1 oz., or about 2 Tablespoons. But as anyone who’s ever planted themselves next to the guac bowl at a party, it’s hard to stop there. I’ve easily eaten 2/3 of a cup on my own, which contains more like 244 calories. (Let’s not even get into the calories from the chips, which shoot this number way way up!)

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Something to Chew On: Food Texture Can Make You Overeat

Just like people prefer certain tastes over others, we all tend to have texture preferences when it comes to food. Take for example the chocolate chip cookie. Some will insist the best cookies are thin and crisp, while others will argue soft and chewy is the way to go.

food texture

Texture can influence a lot more than food preference. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research revealed texture can also affect how people perceive the number of calories in food.

Study authors Dipayan Biswas, Courtney Szocs (both of University of South Florida), Aradhna Krishmna (University of Michigan), and Donald R. Lehmann (Columbia University) wrote, “We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming.”

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Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn Off the 272 Calories in a Slice of Cheese Pizza

As a former New Yorker, I used to live on pizza. (Or, “slices”, as we said in Brooklyn.) I had a handful of go-to spots, places with thin crust that’s been tossed to perfection, savory sauce, and just enough cheese. But when I moved I largely gave up my pizza habit. It’s not as easy to come by restaurants selling slices to go, and the consistency is just different. Or so I thought.

pizza

A few days ago I stopped into one of the few local pizza chains that do offer individual slices. Most were piled with artisanal toppings—things like roasted squash and apples—but on that particular day I spied what looked like a classic slice. Fresh mozzarella, a little red sauce peeking thorough, and not much else.  I ordered one, sprinkled on a few fresh pepper flakes, and was immediately transported. It tasted like home.

Still, my waistline has been happy to not have to deal with regular stops for slices. Just how many calories had that pitstop cost? Around 272, by my math (and Self.com). (more…)

Work it Off: Burn Through a 600-Calorie Plate of Nachos

There are certain weeks when my “TGIF” attitude carries over to what I eat. This past Friday was a good example of this. I’d worked hard for the past 5 days and when Friday rolled around I was ready to unwind. I met up with some friends and ordered one of my favorite comfort foods—nachos.

burn nachos

To me, few things feel as good—or bad—as a heaping plate of nachos. You’ve got the crunchy pile of corn chips. The warm black beans and melted cheese. The salsa and, if you’re really lucky, guacamole. On last night’s order there was even a healthy helping of pulled pork. Delish!

Luckily I shared the snack—which actually served as dinner—but the calorie count of this one was a real doozy: Somewhere around 1,200 calories for the gooey plate. That means I ate around 600 calories worth of nachos in one sitting. Ouch!

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Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band Tracks Activity, Sleep, Calories, and Challenges with Friends

garmin-vivofit-fitness-tracker

You see fitness and activity tracking gadgets everywhere these days. Whether it be something you clip on your clothes or something you wear on your wrist, more companies are creating solutions that help you keep track of your progress and stay motivated day by day. Garmin is the latest company to launch their own such product: the Garmin Vivofit fitness band. It comes in five colors (black, gray, green, blue, and purple) and will be available within the next month. The Vivofit is available for pre-order at $129.

Like other contenders for a spot on your wrist, the Vivofit’s pedometer function tracks the number of steps you walk (or run) in a day, the number of calories you burn, the distance you go, and patterns in your sleep. You’re able to visualize this data on the small display on the band itself, or via the accompanying free Garmin Connect iPhone and Android app on your smartphone. (iPhone app | Android app)

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Work it Off: Burn Away the 250 Calories from 2 Glasses of Red Wine

This year my family skipped the holiday get-together, opting instead to gather for a mid-January weekend in Sonoma, California. Sonoma, which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco, is in the heart of California wine country. My parents, sister, and I all agreed this was the perfect destination for a getaway because we’re all oenophiles. (Oenophile? I know. It’s a pretentious word that’s impossible to pronounce, but it sounds so much more dignified than, “we all really enjoy a good glass of Pinot”.)

  REd wine

It probably goes without say that there was a lot of wine on the menu this weekend. There were wine tastings at a few vineyards and then large dinners which were, of course, accompanied by more vino. The food was spectacular—that’s another given in NorCal—but it’s the wine I’m most worried about throwing off my resolutions.

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Sugar is Not the Problem in the Obesity Epidemic, Where you Eat is

Health experts are giving sugar a reprieve in the case against obesity. While sugar and its many processed variations are running amok in the food we eat at home or away, fats, oils, flour and cereal are more to blame for America’s continuous bloat.

Sugars Fats and Oils

According to the CDC, 25.6% of Americans have a BMI greater than thirty, firmly planting them into the obese category. Since we tend to lie about how tall we are and how much we weigh, the figure is probably a bit generous, but it’s a 10.3% increase since 20 years ago, and that’s alarming.

A New York Times article reports that Americans are consuming 448 more daily calories— or 20% more—than they were in 1970. The Department of Agriculture says 242 of those calories are from fats and oils, 167 are from flour and cereal, and only 35 are from sugars. (more…)

Top 4 Reasons Diets Fail and What to Do About It

New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, most of which revolve around losing weight and getting in shape. If this describes you, how confident are you that this will be your year? New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived for many reasons.

healthy diet

According to Dr. Jessica Bartfield, a weight loss specialist from Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care, only 20 percent of those who plan on losing weight are successful. She gives her top four reasons so many dieters fail to lose weight. We’ll give you the remedies.

1. Underestimating Calories Consumed

Dr. Bartfield: “Most people (even experts!) underestimate the number of calories they eat per day.”

Our Suggestion: If you’re the type that prefers to wing it when it comes to eating, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not enough to want to lose weight. You have to prepare, plan and research what you’re going to eat.

Like Dr. Bartfield, we suggest writing down everything you eat. If you prefer an old-fashioned written food journal, that’s great. However, there many digital solutions that offer a more comprehensive experience with access to your favorite foods’ calorie count, weight tracking, and many other features. (more…)

Running a Half Marathon Required to Burn off Thanksgiving Day Calories

So just how much running are you going to need to burn off your favorite Thanksgiving food? Generally, a 150-pound person running at an average pace will burn about 100 calories a mile. Here’s a breakdown of typical foods found on holiday menus and how long you’d have to run to burn them off.

Turkey – 6oz for 350 calories = 3.5 miles
Mashed Potatoes – ½ cup for 150 calories = 1.5 miles
Stuffing – ½ cup for 180 calories = 1.8 miles
Gravy – ½ cup for 180 calories = 1.8 miles
Cranberry Sauce – ½ cup for 190 calories = 1.9 miles
Rolls – 1 roll for 155 calories = 1.55 miles
Pumpkin Pie – 1 slice for 180 calories = 1.8 miles

You’ll need to run slightly more than a half marathon after Thanksgiving to burn off a standard meal, or 13.8 miles! In other words… yes, the workout is that important. If the stats are true that the average meal has us eating well above 3,000 calories, you’ll have to run further than a marathon to eat guilt free on Thursday.

This holiday is the biggest calorie bomb of the year, as Thanksgiving meals are known to be anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 calories. While eating that much at one time is not recommended, it’s pretty much a given that there will be some over indulgence this Thursday. But, you don’t have to take these facts lying down, you could put on your running shoes and burn some serious calories and maybe some guilt, too. (more…)