Interesting question? I talk to people all day about food…….bad choices……good choices…..best choices…… It is a great question. In the world we live in there is an abundance of choices. Do we take the calorie route? Cut out Sugar? Stop eating fat? Start only eating veggies? The options are endless and my personal opinion it all comes down to this……Eat Less… ..move more …..stop worrying so much about what the number on the scale says if you are doing the above things. The answer is not the same for every person. You have to do what you personally will stick with for the rest of your life. But making the healthiest choice is important if your goal is to live a long and happy life.
Not all calories are created equal.
But I think we make this much harder than we need too. Let’s s look at a nutrition label. And break it down a bit. I am not going to focus on everything. I am going to point out what I feel you need to pay the most attention to.
OK 1st things 1st who has ever bought a bottle of pop and found out later it was 3 servings? You need to pay attention to this closely. Because if you think it is 230 calories for the whole thing and find out later its 8 servings (using this example) you will have some pretty serious regrets. So first know that it is 8 servings and the serving is 2/3 of a cup. BUT and this is important that does not mean you have eat/drink 2/3 of a cup. You can have 1/2 a serving or 1/3 of a serving you get it. Its crazy that we think we have to have 2 TB of salad dressing just because the bottle says that is the serving.
I know I just said they aren’t the most important thing and that is true but they still are something you need to look at. But just for overall information. For instance if you pick something up and it says 100 calories or if it says 500 calories how do you react? I can say if it says 100 I am looking further to see what else it has in it ( I will Explain as we go) but the 500 I probably won’t look further because that number is usually more than I spend on about anything. (Unless it is a complete meal and thats iffy)
I am just looking at saturated fat. Why? Your body needs fat even recommending 25 to 35% of your diet come from fat. But good healthy fats. Olive oil, avocados, olives, nut butters, nuts, etc. Saturated fats should be limited. I understand many people have varying opinions here. This is mine with 20 years of experience and research.
What Is Saturated Fat?
Saturated fats have no double bonds in their chemical structure. They are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Because of their chemical structure, they have a solid consistency at room temperature.
Saturated fats can be found in a variety of foods, including:
- Animal meat including beef, poultry, pork
- Certain plant oils such as palm kernel or coconut oil
- Dairy products including cheese, butter, and milk
- Processed meats including bologna, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon
- Pre-packaged snacks including crackers, chips, cookies, and pastries
Sugars/ Added Sugars
Now were getting somewhere! They are finally starting to require that ADDED sugars be posted as a separate line item. Now this is not on all products yet but its coming before 2020 end I believe. This is HUGE! So many products have sugars but not all sugars are created equal and what we need to limit is our ADDED sugars. Fruits, Vegetables and dairy all have natural occurring sugar. That has to be on the nutrition label but when we see it we think its a bad thing. Your body metabolizes natural sugar differently than added. So look for sugar in the INGREDIENTS if it is not posted as ADDED yet. Cutting added sugar out as much as possible is a game changer. You will notice a difference in how you feel overall is rapid. Your body will feel less achy, less bloated and less inflamed. (BTW this happens when you cut out artificial sweeteners too)
My opinion is this is where all the answers are. So back to the 100 calories I talked about above…… if I see it has 100 calories on the nutrition label the next thing I will look at is the protein if it is low I am probably going to pass. It’s not enough for 100 calories to be used if it is not going to help me feel satisfied and full. Which is where protein falls here. Why do we need protein? It fills us up and keep us full! So now at this time after all of these years I actually look at the calories/protein on everything that has a nutrition label first then I look at the other 2 things. This is where the original question gets answered.
Is this my healthiest choice?
When we talk about healthiest choice we need to look at the foods that are giving you the most bang for your buck. What will fill me up and KEEP me full the longest. BUT also what will satisfy my love for food. OK what?????……wait…… I know let me make sense here. Personally if I just ate HEALTHY I would be a secret closet binge eater eating powdered sugar donuts in a closet somewhere. What I mean here is finding a healthy balance. Craving chocolate? Have a banana with a tsp of chocolate syrup and a Tbs of nuts. Pair your apple with peanut butter or a ounce of cheese. Big salad for lunch? Add chicken or steak. The ideas are endless. Think “I will have a protein with every snack and meal”
Lastly think what is going to give me the most satisfaction?
You can have a 1 oz chocolate chip for cookie for 140 calories 1.8 grams protein or you could have 1 cup watermelon, one cup grapes and one light string cheese for the same 140 plus 10 grams of protein.