Showing posts with label Calories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calories. Show all posts

Jul 7, 2017

Wordology, Empty Calories

Many people associate alcohol calories with empty calories. They think empty calories are less fattening than regular calories. Empty calories are empty because they have no vitamins, minerals, or nutrients associated with them.


Alcohol calories are treated differently in the body than food calories. Alcohol calories get used for energy like any other calorie. However, alcohol is treated as a toxin by the body, and is given first priority for metabolism, so food calories must wait to be burned until after the liver deals with the alcohol calories. Food calories are stored as fat until used after the alcohol calories are used and that (simplified) is why alcoholics suffer from liver cirrhosis, or fatty liver, which is deadly.

Calorie Defined

The official definition of calorie is: A measurement of energy- the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius at standard atmospheric pressure. Calories in food are actually measured in kilocalories, so 1,000 actual calories for every 1 Calorie listed on food packages. Europe uses the actual kilocalories or kilojoules.

During the 1880s, Wilbur O. Atwater decided to determine how much energy different types of foods contained. He decided to treat different foods just like coal and burn them to ash in a furnace and measure how much heat (or calories) each one produced. He gave a numerical value to the calories produced by each food. He measured nine calories per gram from high-fat foods, and about four calories per gram from carbohydrates and proteins. We still use this system, to an extent.

During 2003, a US university team of nutritionists tested two slimming diets with the same number of calories on a group of overweight women. One diet was very low-fat and relatively high in carbohydrate. The other was high in fat, but low in carbohydrate. The low-fat dieters lost 3.9kg (almost 9lb), but the high-fat dieters lost more than twice as much weight at 8.5kg (almost 19lb).
The calories are the same, but the body reacts differently when it uses them. Maybe it is time to rethink how we count calories.
Calories listed on food labels are only an approximation. The US FDA allows food manufacturers to look at their ingredients and determine how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein they contain, and then assume that each gram of protein and carbohydrates gives 4 kilocalories, each gram of fat gives 9, etc. Then they subtract 4 kilocalories for every gram of fiber, and that is the official, government sanctioned calorie measurement.
In addition to the above, different bodies deal with Calories differently. Genetic conditions, illnesses, and other factors can cause foods to be metabolized differently by some people vs. others. A 100 Calorie snack for you, might only be an 80 Calorie snack for someone else.

Bottom line, since Calories are an approximation, ingesting a few hundred more or less on any given day is not going to make much difference on your weight.

Jun 30, 2017

Myth Busted: Never Eat Before Bed

It does not matter what time you eat. What matters is the amount of calories you consume.

It has long been a false belief that if you eat before going to sleep you will not be active enough to burn off those calories. What really matters is the total amount of calories you eat and not the time of day you eat them. If you consume the same amount of calories whether you eat them earlier or later, your body will digest those calories the same.

The reason some suggest an eating schedule is to prevent overeating. For example, if you skip meals you can become over hungry, which might lead to overeating when you finally do eat. The reason late night eating has been associated with weight gain is because it is often a late night snack in addition to a full day's worth of calories. So, eat whenever you like, just do not overeat and you will not gain weight.

Another myth, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you burn fat faster. When you exercise, you burn calories, whether they are from recently consumed food or fat. If you burn fat, then eat, the food is converted into fat again. So, food calories or fat calories, they are the same - more in and you gain weight, more out and you lose weight.

Jan 29, 2016

Calories are Calories

A few years ago, for a class project of 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate sugary foods for his meals. To add variety in his stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, he munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals, Oreos, Twinkies, Nutty bars, and powdered donuts.

His daily intake included : Doritos Cool Ranch: 75 calories; 4 grams of fat,
Kellogg's Corn Pops: 220 calories; 0 grams of fat,
whole milk: 150 calories; 8 grams of fat,
baby carrots: 18 calories; 0 grams of fat,
Duncan Hines Family Style Brownie Chewy Fudge: 270 calories; 14 grams of fat,
Little Debbie Zebra Cake: 160 calories; 8 grams of fat,
Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat,
Centrum Advanced Formula From A To Zinc vitamin: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat,
Little Debbie Star Crunch: 150 calories; 6 grams of fat,
Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat, and
Diet Mountain Dew: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat.

His premise was, "In weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most - not the nutritional value of the food." (Not the best for lifelong intake, but an easy diet.)

A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss and consumed less than 1,800 calories a day.

The result - Haub's 'bad' cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his 'good' cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent. In addition, the premise held up as he dropped 27 pounds during the course of his diet.

Nov 27, 2015

Alcohol and Calories

Good news for the holidays, a five-ounce glass of red, white, or rosé has about 100 calories per glass. Many believe wine is high in sugar because it is made from grapes, but because the fermentation process in wine-making converts sugars into alcohol. Only sweet or dessert wines are high in sugar. Wine is considered a heart healthy drink, especially red wine, which contains resveratrol, the antioxidant compound linked to heart health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 1-2 four-ounce servings of wine per day.

Hard liquor is higher in calories per-ounce than wine, but not by much since after distillation, spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum have nothing left but the alcohol. They contain zero carbs, which makes them a diet-friendly option, plus, the standard 1.5 ounce serving of spirits has 105 calories.

The average 12-ounce serving of beer contains 150 calories and 13g carbs, higher than wine and spirits. Choosing light versions of beer will save about 50 calories per serving and cut carbs in half. Lager and wheat beers are generally lower in both calories and carbs per serving compared to heavier beers such as ales, stouts, and porters. Beers differ in color, flavor, and consistency, and the good news all offer some nutritional value. The brewer’s yeast used to ferment beer contains B vitamins that benefit the nervous system health and reduce homocysteine, a chemical that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Bottoms up!

Nov 21, 2014

Sleep Calories

Many variables that go into the calorie-burning equation, such as age, sex, weight, metabolism, diet, and physical and nonphysical daily habits. The two most important factors in determining how many calories you burn while sleeping are weight and number of hours slept. On average, a person burns between 0.4 and 0.5 calories per pound, per hour. For example, a 100 lb. person burns 40-50 calories per hour. In eight hours of sleep, this person will burn approximately 360 calories.

A pound of muscle burns fifty calories a day on average and a pound of fat burns nine calories. A leaner, more muscular person is going to burn up to five times more calories per pound.

If you weigh 160 pounds, you burn 69 calories per hour while sleeping, the FitWatch website calculates up to 552 calories burned during eight hours of sleep. A 120-pound person burns about 51 calories per hour sleeping, or 408 for eight hours; a 200-pound person burns 86 calories per hour, or 868 for eight hours of sleep.

Fifteen minutes of laughter a day will burn ten to forty calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter.  A study by Loma Linda University found that laughing raises the levels of immunoglobulins, which ward of disease, by fourteen percent. Laughter also has other benefits, including increased pain tolerance, relief of emotional stress and a workout for the muscles of the diaphragm, abdomen, back, and shoulders.

Dec 20, 2013

Holidays and Weight Gain

Postprandial weight gain is especially troublesome during the holidays. In the immediate short term any food and drink that you put into your body will make you exactly that much heavier. Eat a pound of chocolate and you add one pound to your mass, until your body starts to excrete the food or use it for energy.

That gain begins to decrease almost as soon as it begins. The time it takes for food to pass through the digestive tract varies widely. Overall, the journey of a meal takes between 20 and 56 hours. Once it is metabolized and excreted, only excess calories converted to fat remain. If you ate a very salty meal, you tend to retain water, and a greater proportion of the weight temporarily remains. How much remains long term depends on the energy content of the food consumed as excess calories are converted into fat to be used for energy in the future.

In a recent study, a team of Israeli scientists tested different diets on almost 200 obese adults. One group consumed a greater proportion of their calories at breakfast and lost significantly more weight, on average, than the others in the study.

The bottom line is, the net weight gain associated with any one meal will be very small. However, a prolonged series of excess eating can accumulate to have a significant, long-term effect. A few overindulgent meals for the holidays are not a problem, the problem is the three overindulgent meals a day over a long period of time. Just as it takes time to reduce weight, it takes time to gain lasting weight, so enjoy the Holidays.

Dec 7, 2013

Goodness of Bacon

Traditional pork bacon has many good points. It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, including B6, B12, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, as well as choline, a nutrient which helps improve cognitive performance, memory, mood and mental alertness. Bacon has about 30 calories per regular slice.

Bacon flavored salt is low in sodium, zero calories and fat, kosher and vegetarian. It allows bacon lovers to enjoy all the flavor of their beloved treat without a side of guilt. Sprinkle it over eggs, potatoes, meats, baked beans, soups, salads and sandwiches.

Oct 11, 2013

Another Benefit of Laughing

Laughing helps burn calories by increasing your heart rate by 10 to 20 percent. Your metabolism increases as well, meaning you will burn more calories at rest once you have stopped laughing. Find something hilarious which makes you laugh, watch a funny movie or TV show for 15 minutes and burn up to 50 calories.

Over the course of a laughter-filled year, the daily calories burnt from laughing result in a net loss of more than 4 pounds.

Sep 13, 2013

Calories

Nutrient labels on food products in the United States list their percentages based on a 2000 calorie per day diet. However, energy requirements can vary significantly based on age, sex, weight, height, physical activity, and base metabolic rate, ranging between 1000 to 4000 calories.

Another number on labels is the portion, or suggested serving size, which is also arbitrary and should be looked at closely. A package stating 90 calories on the front might show 90 calories per serving with three servings, so 270 total calories.

The Merck Manual states 1,600 calories per day are needed for young children and sedentary women; 2,000 for active adult women and sedentary men; and 2,400 for active adolescent boys and young men. These values are also a bit arbitrary, because the average person uses different amounts of energy almost daily. One day you might go for a hike and the next sit on the couch watching football. One month you could lose 5 pounds and increase your base metabolic rate in the process. The next month with the same caloric intake gain 10 pounds and decrease your base metabolic rate. Bottom line, the numbers are arbitrary and should be used with caution.

Aug 23, 2013

Saccharin

The artificial sweetener in "Sweet'N Low," is somewhere around 400 times sweeter than sugar. It was discovered in 1879 by Constantine Fahlberg who was actually working on substitution products of coal tar.

After a long day in the lab, he forgot to wash his hands before eating dinner. When the bread and everything he touched tasted sweet, he remembered he spilled a chemical on his hands earlier.
Fahlberg patented saccharin in 1884 and began mass production.

The artificial sweetener became widespread when sugar was rationed during World War I. In 1907 diabetics started using the sweetener as a replacement for sugar and it was soon labeled as a noncaloric sweetener for dieters. Because the body can not break it down, we do not get any calories.

Aug 16, 2013

Gas Facts

Gas is one derivative of crude oil. Heat from one gallon of gas is enough to power a 1,500-watt space heater on full blast for 24-hours. If it were possible for humans to digest gasoline, a gallon would contain about 31,000 food calories. That is about equivalent to the energy in about 110 McDonald's hamburgers.

Mar 19, 2013

A Junk Food Diet Works

Junk food is commonly associated with a coffee break and this junk food diet works. Nutritionist Mark Haub went on a junk food diet to determine if he could eat almost nothing but junk food and still lose weight. His theory was that weight loss is primarily tied to calorie intake, rather than what type of food you eat. He stuck to an 1,800 calorie per day diet of mostly Twinkies, Donuts, Doritos, Oreos, and sugary cereals. He also drank a protein shake and took a multivitamin.

During the two months of his diet, his body mass index dropped from 28.8 to 24.9 and he lost 27 pounds, dropping from 201 pounds to 174 pounds.

In addition to his weight loss, bad cholesterol levels dropped 20% over his normal healthy diet and his good cholesterol levels increased by 20%. He even dropped 39% on his bad fat levels, including triglycerides. This does debunk a number of other "fad" diet claims and proves it is volume that counts when trying to lose weight.

Feb 15, 2013

Laughter is Natural

Laughing is extremely difficult to control consciously. Most people cannot laugh on command.

Laughter almost always occurs during pauses at the end of phrases. It requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body. A good hardy laugh is like a full body workout. It gives your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles a workout.

If you want an easy way to trim a few pounds, watch a funny movie or share a good joke with friends. If you need some new material, try some of my humor books.

Here is another good way to burn calories. When you kiss someone for a minute, you both burn about 2.6 calories. According to that math, that is about 156 calories an hour. I am available for testing the theory.

Oct 5, 2012

Soft Drinks and Sugar

A typical carbonated soft drink will have 200 calories in a 16-ounce serving. All of those calories come from sugar, and sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon. Divide those two and you find a 16-ounce serving contains about 12.5 teaspoons of sugar.

I wanted to compare this to coffee, so I looked at a 12 ounce soda, which has about 140 calories or about 8.75 teaspoons of sugar. Standard coffee cups (not mugs) contain about 6 ounces of fluid. Take half the calories and sugar of a 12 ounce soda and it would take about 4.38 teaspoons of sugar to make coffee as sweet as soda.

Feb 14, 2012

Calorie Cutter

You can eat two Egg McMuffins from McDonald's for fewer calories and fat than a bagel with two tablespoons of cream cheese.

Jan 17, 2012

Losing Weight

Did you know that it is actually easier to lose weight than it is to gain weight? It is mathematically easier to lose than to gain. For example, if you eat 3,500 calories more than you burn, you will gain 0.3 pounds, but if you burn 3,500 calories more than you eat, you will lose 1 pound.

Also, if you want to lose weight, you can expose yourself to significant changes in temperature which speeds up your metabolism. The above information is based on a pure fat diet.

Aug 26, 2011

Muscles and Fat

Muscles and fats are made up of very different types of cells that have completely different functions.  Skeletal muscles get larger when a person exercises. The muscles get larger, with more filaments being developed within the cells to accommodate the more challenging demand on them.

After a person quits exercising, the muscle cells do not magically turn into fat cells. They just shrink.  This allows the body to conserve energy when a person’s daily activities don’t require as much muscle mass.

The myth that muscles turn to fat when a person stops exercising probably stems from the fact that people who body build or otherwise exercise regularly and quit, tend to put on weight.

It all comes down to caloric intake. People who exercise regularly tend eat more food and when they stop exercising their body loses the need for the calories. These people may not reduce their food intake quickly enough to compensate for their reduced caloric needs.

Jul 5, 2011

Burning Calories

On average, 42% of an adult man’s body mass is made up of skeletal muscle.  For women, that number drops to 36% on average. Contrary to popular myth, skeletal muscles consume about 6 calories per pound per day, not 50.  So, if you weigh approximately 180 pounds and are a man, your skeletal muscles will burn around 454 calories per day when you just sit around all day.

Fat cells will burn about 2 calories per pound per day.  How much of your body mass is made up of fat cells varies greatly from person to person, but you can use a body fat test to get that number and then calculate how many calories your fat cells burn per day. Average male is 18% - 25%, female is 25% - 31%. Wow, another 64 burned calories for sitting around.

Bone cells burn about 1 calorie per pound.  If you are a man, on average about 15% of your body mass is made up of bone (another 27 calories for just sitting around).  For women, that number is around 12%. Sit back, relax, burn some calories.

Jun 8, 2011

FDA Definitions

Food labels were once meant to make things perfectly clear, so we could make good food buying decisions. However, like most governmental regulations absolute rules become quickly obfuscated. The "per serving" is the thing to watch as many manufacturers make serving size humorously low to get a better rating.

"Low Fat" can mean there's up to 3 grams of fat per serving. "Fat Free" can have 0.5 grams and still count.

"Light" can mean a number of things, from the literal (the color) to the more concrete (50% the fat of plain-label), but it can also be used to mean simply "less" calories, without any actual figures. "Low Calorie," on the other hand, must have 40 calories or less per serving, and "Fewer Calories" actually means the product must have at least 25% less calories per serving.

The term "Light" used on package labeling has absolutely nothing to do with fat, sugar, or anything else. If a product "has been a long history of use of the term," then it can keep using it regardless of nutritional content.

Any product with "organic" on its packaging or display materials must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. "100 Percent Organic" products must show an ingredient list, the name and address of the handler (bottler, distributor, importer, manufacturer, packer, processor) of the finished product, and the name and seal of the organic certifier. These products should contain no chemicals, additives, synthetics, pesticides or genetically engineered substances.

"USDA Organic" products must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, and the name of the organic certifier.

"Made With Organic" products must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, along with the name of the organic certifier.