I’m going to run through a quick calorie comparison on a few food items I picked up shopping.
I never, ever tell clients ‘do not eat x’. I merely try and provide information so that they can make better choices. Any of my clients will back me up here. Their food choices are unrestricted, but they find out pretty quickly what helps them work toward their goal, and what pushes their goal further away.
I posted something quite similar recently where I picked one food – almonds, and I compared the energy content and cost of differently labelled choices. If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out in the ‘Nutrition’ section of the site.
Quite simply, the energy content of food matters if you’re looking to manage your weight. I was speaking to a client last night who recently started in our small group. We were discussing day to day nutrition and how to manage things.
‘It’s a real eye opener’.
Hearing stuff like that is the reason I absolutely love every second of my job. I spent my whole day Saturday weighing almonds, (this coach life is one big party folks) but it is genuinely fulfilling to hear you’ve provided someone with useable info.
If you’re short on almonds, I’ve got some for sale at a very reasonable price!
I hope what follows might just be that for you, ‘an eye opener’.
I just want to look purely at the energy value of these foods. I’ll mention what way I think the food might be generally perceived, and you can judge for yourself how they stack up against each other.
Nothing is ever just as simple as energy value. Different foods will provide different satiety levels, they differ when it comes to palatability, and it’s generally just incorrect to label things as ‘the same’, even if they have a similar calorie content.
But, as far as energy intake goes – trust me, the calorie content is VERY important.
First off, let’s look at what I would think is generally perceived as ‘junk food’. Crisps/potato chips, whatever you want to call them.
They all come in around 200 calories, and for the record – Mr. Pringles owes me 3 grams of the good stuff…I wasn’t grazing!
If you don’t know, the snacks above are calorie dense for such a small amount of food, and they are hyper-palatable. Easy to eat, not very likely to satisfy hunger. I would argue that if you were trying to lose weight, these don’t really fit in daily because of this.
So for the argument of fat loss – let’s eliminate these as a snack option.
It probably seems obvious. Here’s a better alternative as far as energy content goes…
Moving on – below are some examples of food choices you would probably throw in with the likes of Doritos/Pringles and the Tayto. You know they’re probably not the best choice in the world.
Note that the Dairy Milk is slightly larger than the standard size you see in front of the till at the petrol station, it’s more likely the size you would pick up at the cinema.
A standard bar would be 9 squares as opposed to the 6 on the scale, which runs in around 200 calories.
You’ll see as far as energy value/calorie content it’s pretty similar to the above (excluding the popcorn).
So we are assuming the above wouldn’t be great choices.
Let’s have a look at a couple of examples below which are more likely to be perceived as ‘healthy options’.
- The Nakd bar at 145 calories does stack up a good bit better than the ‘less healthy’ options, but it’s not something that’s going to satisfy you.
- The Good Snack Company bar runs at 181 calories. Again, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be particularly satisfying either, even if it is labelled as healthy or ‘good’.
For the purpose of energy value alone, option 2 doesn’t really fare well against what I’ve shown earlier in the post.
Let’s bring some gluten free products in to the mix to see what the comparison is.
As far as energy content goes, and as far as weight loss is concerned you can clearly see that something labelled ‘gluten free’ doesn’t mean much (it obviously means a lot to someone with coeliac disease).
Compare these to any of the examples above….I actually think it’s quite a feat to get so much energy value into something so small.
This surprised me, I had a feeling that the products would be energy dense, but not this much.
Look at how the far ‘less healthily’ perceived choices below stack up against it’s gluten free opponent.
It doesn’t look good for the gluten free products. I don’t think ANY of these products are going to help you in a fat loss phase outside of a very occasional treat, and even at that you can make better choices.
The problem with ANY of the examples here is that they are high calorie/low volume foods. Give me a pot of tea and I’m polishing off a packet, not 1 or 2.
This just really shows how far people might be thrown just down to labelling and perception.
Some 85% dark chocolate might be a better option, you can see it compares favourably when it comes to calories, and anyone who eats dark chocolate knows it’s quite hard to overeat on it.
I hope these few examples show that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to how food is labelled and how companies market things toward the customer.
I’ll be posting again soon with some foods which are low calorie/high volume.
Weight loss is a complex thing, but when it comes to calories they matter MASSIVELY. This is especially important when it comes to food which doesn’t really leave you feeling satisfied.
It’s important to make informed choices when working toward any goal, and food is no different.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!