Obsessing Over Calories
“I can eat more tonight, because I burned 500 calories during my workout today.”
In our society, the word “calorie” has a somewhat negative sound. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our calorie intake and to burn more calories through physical activity. In the United Kingdom, it was even proposed that labels indicate how much physical activity is necessary to burn the calories contained in a product.
The grocery store trap
The food marketing industry takes advantage of our obsession by offering a host of “low-calorie” products. The objective is to give us the impression that the food we choose is healthy so we can eat more without feeling guilty about eating too many calories.
These “low-calorie” products contain little energy, complex carbohydrates, fibre, fat, and protein. In addition, they are not filling, which inevitably causes us to eat more. Obviously, this doesn’t help us fight overconsumption.
What if we stopped obsessing over the quantity of calories we eat and burn, and instead focused on the QUALITY of the food we buy?
By providing our body with nutrients, satiety will set in faster and last longer. Therefore, exerting control over our appetite has many benefits. By becoming more in tune with our body’s signals, we can reduce our calorie intake. Eating one high-quality granola bar is more beneficial than eating two bars with empty calories that will leave you hungry.
Choosing healthy processed food is not as easy. Don’t judge food based on the quantity of calories, but rather on ingredients you should eat and those you should avoid. To help you choose quality products, follow these five steps:
Read the list of ingredients
Put the product back on the shelf if you wouldn’t allow your children to eat the first ingredient, if you don’t know what most of the ingredients are, or if the list reads like a novella.
It is important that you use grams to compare similar servings of different products.
You need to look further than the quantity of carbohydrates: fibre is also important, and the higher the content, the faster satiety will set in.
Check protein content
Protein will make you feel full faster, and longer.
Check fat content
Analyze the type of fat contained in the product, and favour monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as much as possible. To calculate the quantity of healthy fats, subtract the quantity of trans and saturated fats from the total quantity of lipids.
And most importantly, take the time to enjoy quality food, guilt-free!
By Alyssa Fontaine, P.Dt., Nutritionist for Zero Diet
The Zero Diet brand is first and foremost the conviction that healthy eating is a primary factor to attaining a healthy weight and a balanced lifestyle. Thus, we offer nutrition counselling with nutritionists who are members of the OPDQ with our Zero Diet nutrition program in our centers and in companies. We have also developed a healthy frozen food product line that fulfills rigorous nutritional criteria as well as two healthy Zero Diet cookbooks.