Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Being ‘good’ and having the weight watchers digestive biscuit instead of the ‘bad’ normal version…

Being ‘good’ and having the weight watchers digestive biscuit instead of the ‘bad’ normal version…🍪

Most people would assume that the weight watchers (or other weight loss brand foods) are automatically a more virtuous choice of biscuit. Whilst tucking in to a couple of normal chocolate digestives would be considered ‘bad’. In reality they’re almost the same in terms of overall calories per 100g and have similar sugar levels. The main difference is the price and the actual serving size itself. The weight watcher’s biscuits are much smaller – so you get less calories per biscuit BUT it’s so noticeable that you’re likely to end up having more biscuits to compensate. So it’s just a way to trick you in to thinking they’re better. The other major difference is price – over twice the price for the weight watchers biscuits!

So if you really love a chocolate digestive you’re probably better off getting the real ones, enjoying one or two, within your calories and feeling like you’ve had what you actually want. If you actually like the weight watchers ones then obviously go for it, but don’t automatically assume these weight loss branded foods are always the better option. Sometimes they’re the same or worse than other brands. If you enjoy them then definitely have them, but if you’re only having them because you think they’re ‘good’ then think again.

Read the labels and look at the calories and then make your choice.

No foods are good or bad, enjoy the ones you actually want to eat, and just be aware of the calories! 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Too Much sugar….’

‘Too Much sugar….’🍬 🍎

Sugar – so often vilified as something to be avoided, something bad, the root of all our health problems… yet is it really?

The simple answer is no. We need sugar – it’s a great source of easy energy and it also tastes great. Sugar is made up of two components, fructose and glucose. The molecular structure is the same no matter where they come from. Fruit contains fructose, glucose and also some sucrose (a combination of fructose and glucose). Sweets will tend to be higher in sucrose.

Once digested the sugar from 40g of haribo has the same effect in terms of calories as the sugar from an apple. It’s not worse, and no better. There is a however a difference in how it’s metabolised – fructose is metabolised in the liver so doesn’t produce the same blood sugar high and insulin response – fruit is therefore a better choice in that respect.

In the case of the haribo you’re getting mostly just sugar (and a small amount of protein), with an apple you’re getting the sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals. The fibre slows digestion making it more filling (and good for your gut heath). This means you’re less likely to want to eat more later, and it’s better for your blood sugar levels. So objectively the apple is a better choice health-wise.

However, foods also provide other things – such as pleasure, convenience etc. So if you’re trying to watch your calories, and you really fancy some sweets you’re better off just having them. If you’re rushing and need a quick burst of energy before a run you’re also better off going for sweets. In terms of the impact on weight/fat loss there will be no difference as long as you stay within your daily calories and are aware they will be a less filling option. And in terms of sugar content the apple is actually higher.

I’m not suggesting sweets are better than apples for you, nor that you swap all your fruit for haribo. I’m just suggesting we recognise that no foods are ‘bad’, and that as part of a balanced, healthy diet you can have both! Sometimes the haribo will be what you need, sometimes the apple!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘The reduced sugar myth….’

‘The reduced sugar myth….’ 🍫

Sugar is often vilified as the cause of all health issues and as a result many companies have latched on to the idea that people are keen to reduce their sugar consumption. Now whilst sugar in excess amounts is undoubtedly not good (no nutrient in excess is) normal amounts of sugar in the diet are absolutely fine. However if you’re diabetic or trying to reduce your reliance on sugary snacks then it may be sensible to opt for some lower sugar options.

If you’re trying to lose weight (fat) then you may also decide to reduce sugar consumption. Many people equate lower sugar to mean lower calorie and would therefore go for the reduced sugar option in the belief that it would help them lose weight. In this example the actual difference is pretty insignificant.

A standard Cadbury Dairy Milk contains 534 cals per 100g, whilst the reduced sugar version contains 503 cals – a reduction of 31, which is unlikely to result in weight loss. Yes, every little bit counts, but the expectation would probably be that it was much lower and therefore you may eat a larger portion, or expect bigger fat losses from this small change.

Cadbury’s are undoubtedly aware of this as they’ve made their standard bar size for the reduced sugar option a smaller size – 85g rather than the usual 110g of a normal dairy milk. So at first glance you’d assume it was a lower calorie option. It’s not really – it’s just a smaller bar! Clever eh?

So if you’re trying to reduce your calories and are going for the reduced sugar versions of things you love just take some time to check the calories and portion sizes and see if there really is a difference. If you enjoy the reduced sugar option and it helps to keep you on track then go for it! But don’t pay more for a marketing ploy when you don’t need to. Enjoy the chocolate you like, in moderation, as part of a balanced diet 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Lower Calorie Ice Cream Option

Saturday night – movie, sofa and some ice cream – perfect right? We all feel the need to work our way through an entire tub of ice cream now and then – it’s natural, it’s human and it’s also damn tasty! But how about making a simple swap. Rather than working your way through 1,200 calories of Ben and Jerry’s (or other standard ice cream equivalent) , you could instead have 320 calories of Halo top (or one of the any other equivalent low cal ice cream brands available). But isn’t low calorie stuff loaded with sugar? No – it’s not actually! And it tastes amazing! 🍦

We don’t need to deny ourselves treats and nice tasting stuff just because we’re watching our calories – try making some swaps instead. If you’re an ice cream fan check out the Halo Top range of tubs and sticks (there are also supermarket own brand versions and other companies doing the same – in fact even Ben and Jerry’s do their own low cal flavours now!).

So you really can have your cake (*ice cream) and eat it! 🤗 xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘About a teaspoon…..’ 🥄

‘About a teaspoon…..’ 🥄

If you’re trying to lose fat and tracking your calories it’s really important to be as accurate as you can and this is why. You could easily record the peanut butter that you have on your toast as a teaspoon’s worth… but how much is a teaspoon? Is it a level teaspoon? Is it a slightly heaped one? Is it a very heaped one (I can get A LOT of peanut butter on a teaspoon I assure you! 😋), is it the small spoon you have for stirring your coffee? Is it a baking measure?….etc etc

The problem with volumetric measures is they’re not very accurate. Now if you’re having something low calorie it probably won’t matter too much but something calorie dense like peanut butter really does matter, especially if you’re trying to maintain a moderate calorie deficit. Two teaspoons of peanut butter could be 158 cals or as much as 474 cals! That’s nearly 296 cals difference… you only need a 200-300 calorie daily deficit to see fat loss so you could wipe it out in one small spoonful! 😬

This is why I encourage my clients to weigh, in grams, rather than using measures like teaspoon or tablespoons. So if you’re trying to lose fat and tracking your calories have a go at weighing some of the foods you’ve been logging by tsp/tbsp and see how accurate you’ve actually been with those calories? You may be surprised! 😬

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Clean eating’… not so clean?

‘I’m clean eating’… 🍓

‘Clean’ eating is a relatively recent trend but I often hear people telling me they are ‘eating clean’ in order to lose weight/fat. ‘Eating clean’ is essentially the idea that you’re eating foods which are perceived to be better for one reason or another (that might be based on properties the food supposedly has, or nutrients it contains etc).

There is nothing wrong with that at all – I’m not a fan of demonising foods but if you want to eat certain foods for whatever reason then that’s fine. The problem is that the common misconception is that because a food is ‘clean’ or promoted as healthy, that it is automatically going to help you lose weight/fat and that it must be a ‘better’ option than other foods you may also love.

The breakfast smoothie bowl is a great example of this. They’re very photogenic and found all over Instagram. It’s essentially a smoothie in a bowl topped with fruit, seeds, nuts etc. They’re delicious and full of great nutritious foods, but they’re also rather high in calories and sugar (mostly from the large amount of fruit used).

In comparison jam on white toast, which is often perceived as a ‘bad’ choice is approximately a quarter of the calories and sugar.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy jam on toast for breakfast then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by beautiful Instagram photos and Instagram experts telling you that you need to eat clean to be lean. You don’t.

Enjoy a range of foods and be mindful of the calories and you’ll be fine! 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I don’t eat much but I can’t lose weight…’

‘I don’t eat much but I can’t lose weight…’ A piece of toast for brekkie, bit of fruit for a snack with coffee, healthy snack bar and a sandwich for lunch with a ‘healthy’ drink, and a ‘healthy’ dinner of fish and salad….. that’s not really much for a day?…right…… 🤔

Often we think we’re not eating much and can’t understand why we don’t lose weight. It’s not until you actually add it all up that you realise you’re probably eating a lot more than you realise. The coffees, the couple of biscuits you forget about, the dried fruit snack (it’s fruit – it’s fine right?), a ‘healthy’ dinner of fish and salad … it must be ok?

It is ok and there is nothing wrong with any of that, but when you actually add it all up you’re looking at over 2,700 calories… for a ‘good’ day! Now for most people trying to lose weight or fat that is going to be far too many calories to be in a deficit which would let you lose fat.

So if you feel you aren’t eating much but you’re not losing weight/fat then maybe it’s time to just write down everything you’re eating on those days and see how much you really are consuming 🤗. Remember – calories count! Xx