Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Sugar is bad!!… or is it? …

Sugar is bad!!… or is it? … 🥣

I often hear and see people claiming that sugar is bad! Clients will tell me that they are “cutting back on sugar” for example. When asked what foods they mean specifically it usually includes things like biscuits, chocolate, cakes, ice cream etc. But these foods aren’t just “sugar” – they all contain significant amounts of fat too.

As you can see from this comparison – 100g of sugar contains nothing but sugar. It’s 99.9 g of carbs – no fat, no protein etc. All of those carbs are sugar. The biscuits on the other hand contain around 62g carbs, of which only 28g is actually sugar. It contains almost as much fat, other carbs and some protein etc. These foods that people commonly associate with sugar are a mixture of sugar, fat and salt which make them hyper-palatable. That means they’re designed to taste really good – which encourages you to eat more. Eating 100g of pure sugar in one sitting is actually not a pleasant experience (try it – I dare you lol!) and it isn’t something most people would do. Eating 100g of biscuits though – well thats super easy and is only 4-5 biscuits in most cases. To consume the same amount of actual sugar as pure sugar you’d need to eat 350g of biscuits in one sitting (which is over 20 biscuits!).

So this combo of sugar, fat and salt is what makes biscuits and other snacks so easy to over eat. That’s not to say biscuits are bad but they have the potential to derail you from your goals because they’re calorie dense (i.e. more cals in a smaller package) and as I said they taste great so you’re likely to eat more. So it’s not the sugar thats causing this – its the combination of ingredients in these products. So vilifying sugar is pointless and a misunderstanding of where the real issue lies. In fact sugar is actually an important nutrient and the brain’s main fuel source.

In sum, sugar isn’t “bad”, it isn’t causing you to gain fat in itself. If your diet contains a range of whole foods and is balanced overall then having the odd “sugary” snack like biscuits/cakes etc is fine – just account for it in your calories.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Protein cookies for protein….. erm… or not?

Protein cookies for protein….. erm… or not? 🍪

I’ve talked before about the marketing power of “protein” and how snacks (and other products) are often promoted as “healthy” or better because they contain X amount of protein. The reasoning behind this is the fact that increased protein can help with improved satiety (feelings of fullness) so CAN help to prevent overeating. Also those working out may want to focus on protein to help with muscle building. Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete you probably don’t need to go out of your way to take in extra protein as most balanced diets contain far more protein than the average person needs. However you may still wish to focus on higher protein foods and snacks to help keep you feeling full.

So you may well see this protein cookie and think it would be a good snack option – it’s something that feels like a treat (a cookie) and it’s high in protein – win win! However it’s 420 calories (and as an aside it lists the calories as 210 cals per serving… with a serving being half a cookie… which no one is ever going to actually have so they must realise they’re high cal!). It contains 16g of protein which is pretty good I guess.

Oh but this is awkward… you could instead have a 170g pot of greek yoghurt with 100g raspberries, a curly wurly AND a single slimline gin and tonic…for a mere 306 cals, and it will actually provide you with MORE protein – 19g in fact! And aside from the fact it’s a lower calorie combo, and has more protein, it’s also far greater volume – which also helps to keep you full. And it will probably help keep you on track as it allows you to have some chocolate or a drink etc without detailing you from your goals.

Cheers!

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Cooked vs uncooked weight..

Cooked vs uncooked weight… 🍝

Just a short tip today. This is a simple thing that can make a big difference. If you’re tracking calories then do be careful when tracking things like pasta, rice and other dry grains. Depending on the brand and type you may find the calorie info relates to cooked rather than uncooked weight.

The difference is very significant! If you’re logging the calories as 151 but you’re actually eating 351 cals that could have a significant impact on your progress. So be sure to look carefully at the label – usually they will state uncooked weight or cooked/ ‘as prepared’ weight – so be sure to track accordingly!

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Plant-based doesn’t always equal the best option for fat loss…..

Plant-based doesn’t always equal the best option for fat loss….. 🍕

There is a perception that certain foods are better for you than others due to their perceived health benefits. Usually terms like “plant based” or Vegan / Vegetarian are promoted as is they are a healthier option and there’s an assumption that this means they’re the best choice.

Now this is not about whether or not a plant-based diet is more healthy or less healthy than a diet including meat (there’s a variety of studies about this and it’s not clear cut and it’s beyond the scope of this comparison). I’m not suggesting that either of these options is actually a “healthy” option, nor am I suggesting you will get more health benefits from one option versus the other. At the end of the day they are both Pizza’s and they both contain a large amount of fat and calories. But for many people trying to lose fat or weight they might naturally assume that instead of having a “normal” pepperoni Pizza for dinner, that they’d be better off having the plant-based option with a jackfruit alternative. However in actual fact that “healthy” pizza has more calories and fat than the Pepperoni one.

So if you are out for a Pizza and wanting to go for a lower calorie option then don’t automatically assume plant-based equals lower calorie. I’m certainly not suggesting your whole diet be made up of “junk food”, but it’s important to be wary of these marketing ploys which make you perceive things as being “healthy” and therefore lower calorie and helpful for weight loss. At the end of the day, as always, it comes down to calories. If you want to lose fat or weight, then you need to be at a calorie deficit. And it’s important to still have foods you enjoy as part of an overall balanced diet. I love Jackfruit so for me I’d chose that every time but I’d do so in the knowledge it wasn’t a lower calorie option.

Be curious about what you’re putting in your body, and check out the nutritional info (most restaurants have the info online nowadays) on food and don’t always assume the current trendy “plant-based” food is automatically lower calorie.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy alternative….

Healthy alternative…. 🍇 🍬

When trying to lose weight people will often go out of their way to force themselves to choose a “healthy” alternative. So if you’re craving a sweet snack, and really just want some haribo you may instead think you’re better of choosing dried fruit instead.

The key to being in control of your weight management is really understanding that there is no such thing as a “bad” or “good” snack – they’re just different. There are nutritional differences between the two options of course. The dried fruit has increased fibre and micronutrients than the haribo, but we don’t just choose food on the basis of its nutritional breakdown.

Both these snacks contain high levels of sugar and when it comes down to it the source of those sugars makes very little difference to how your body processes it – especially in the context of this example. Both taste good, but if you are really craving sweets and instead force yourself to have the dried fruit you’re still taking in almost identical calories. Now that’s fine if that’s where it ends, but often that craving will still be there. The sweets may also give you an emotional boost as well as an energy one.

Overall the calorie difference between the two is pretty marginal. So if you’re choosing the dried fruit in an effort to lose weight, then think again. If you’re choosing them because you like them then brilliant – keep having them. If you fancy some sweets then have them!

There are no good or bad foods – all foods can be accommodated within a balanced diet. Being aware of the calories in different foods empowers you to make that choice.

🤗

Xx