Saturday, 19 April 2014

Why Your 'Diet' May Not Be Working

The 10 Daily Diet Mistakes You May Be Making:

1. Salad
The biggest pitfall with a salad is ruining a veggie-filled meal with hundreds of calories in dressing. Check the label, often-times the dressing with a salad at a restaurant has more calories than a chocolate bar. Order dressing on the side. You should aim to put no more than 60 calories of dressing on a salad.

Salad dressings are all over the nutritional map. Some, such as blue cheese, are hefty in sat fat (1.2g per tablespoon) and others, such as balsamic vinaigrette, provide a good dose of healthy fats (1g of monounsaturated and 1.3g of polyunsaturated, with 0.4g sat fat). When purchasing a bottled dressing, shift your focus away from total fat. The nutrition label’s number for total fat includes bad fats and good fats, so it is misleading. Instead, look at the specific types of fat listed under total fat; aim for more mono- and polyunsaturated fats, less saturated, and no trans. Oil and vinegar–based dressings are generally high in healthy fats. In addition to the good-for-you components of dressings, those fats add rich texture and flavour and also help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, and K) found in salad.

2. Smoothies

Blending fruit with frozen yoghurt sounds like a sure-fire healthy snack. But dieticians warn against too much of a good thing. You may think, it fruit and therefore it’s healthy. However, most smoothies especially those sold at places like New Zealand Natural, Pita Pit and Tank are 475ml to nearly a litre for a large and contain too many servings of carbohydrates. So keep it small, and try to add vegetables to your smoothies whenever possible.

3. Soy Milk
Both soy and almond milk are great options for those who are lactose intolerant. But many people regularly grab the vanilla or sweetened varieties of these drinks, ignoring the excess sugar and paying attention only to the healthy connotations of the word "soy" or "almond." If the sweetened versions are all you can tolerate, though, avoid the added sugar by mixing a teaspoon of vanilla flavouring into the unsweetened kind.

4. Granola/Toasted Muesli
Granola is a food that most people consider an uber-healthy breakfast choice. But granola can also be very high in sugar and low in fibre. When you look for granola/muesli, you need to read the label carefully. Not all granola is created equal. Make sure the cereal or granola you're choosing from the store shelf has a minimum of 4 or 5 g of fibre, less than 10 grams of sugar per serve and very low (<2g) saturated fat.

5. Muffins
You're rushing to get to work on time and dash into the nearest cafe to pick up a quick breakfast. In the name of health, your eyes are drawn to those bran muffins on display beside the donuts. But don't let the word "bran" or "yogurt" trick you when it comes to muffins. Think of them more in the donut category. Bran muffins often contain extra fat, necessary to hold the bran together. And the fat-free versions usually contain extra sugar to compensate for the reduced in mouth-feel and flavour. But today’s giant bakery muffins contain from 340 to 630 calories each, without any butter or other spread.

Most bakery muffins contain from 11 to 27 grams of total fat. Of that total, 2 to 8 grams are saturated fat. Although the trans-fat content of muffins is extremely low in most cases, the total saturated fat plus trans fat of giant bakery muffins is only slightly less than doughnuts.
Reduced-fat muffins are usually a better option. They have only 2 to 5 grams of total fat, and only 0 to 2 grams of that is saturated fat. And unlike other reduced-fat products, the sugar content in these muffins is generally the same as in regular muffins. Calories remain in the 300 to 400 range.

Pick Your Breakfast:

Spinach and Parmesan Omelette – 300 calories
Muffin Break - Apple and Raisin Muffin – 574 calories (21g fat and 49g sugar!)

Parmesan omelette recipe:
In a medium skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray, sauté 1 cup chopped spinach and 1 tablespoon chopped spring onions for 1 minute. Beat 2 eggs with a dash chilli sauce; add to skillet. Cook until egg is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Flip and add 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan; cook 15 to 30 seconds. Serve with 1 slice toasted oat bread and 1/2 cup grapes.

6. Sushi
This one might be surprising since the tuna, salmon and other fish commonly found in sushi is about as lean as it gets. Yet when you factor in the cream cheese or the mayonnaise in most spicy tuna rolls the calorie count sky-rockets. Portion size matters, too; stick to three rolls or less, and choose brown rice when possible.

Chicken Rice Ball: 489 calories (Want it tempura/crispy make it: 531 calories!) VS. One roll (8 pieces) generic chicken sushi (teriyaki): 376 calories

7. Turkey/Chicken Burgers
When a burger craving hits, the calorie-conscious person often turns to a turkey/chicken burger as the second-best option. But be careful, if you have a turkey/chicken burger made with dark meat and skin, it can be higher in calories than a sirloin burger. At the grocery store: Check the label and pick a lean meat with less than 10 g of fat per serving.

You have a craving for fast food? Grilled chicken beats beef burger right? Wrong.

Result: Sodium overload, and not necessarily much in the way of calorie savings, either

Sodium can soar in a chicken sandwich. The chicken breast may have been injected with a salty brine solution to help the meat stay moist. At Burger King, the Tendergrill Chicken sandwich has 1,100mg sodium, and 75% of that comes from the chicken itself. (A Whopper Jr. burger has half the sodium, little of it from the beef, and 130 fewer calories.)

Lean chicken sometimes picks up salty toppings, like the bacon and cheese on the McDonald’s Premium Grilled Chicken: 1,410mg of sodium, 18% more than a Quarter Pounder with Cheese—and is not lower in calories.

What to do: You have a 2,300mg-per-day sodium budget. Take a minute to scan the restaurant’s nutrition data—online, in-store, or from a smart phone.

8. Frozen Meals
There's a whole section of frozen meal options that are quick and easy to make and boast low calorie counts. Yet many are also packed with sodium. Frozen and prepared foods can often have a day's worth of sodium, which is roughly 2,300 mg per day.

9. Bagels

Bagels can have fewer calories — if you are careful about portion size. The mini-bagels have about 72 calories. But average deli bagels contain 300 to 380 calories each — without any cream cheese. Beware of “reduced-carbohydrate” bagels. In at least one such product, the amount of fat is increased, so there are as many calories as in a regular bagel.
Bagels are another good choice for limiting total and saturated fat. Even those big deli bagels usually have no more than 2 grams of total fat and only a trace of saturated fat. Bagels with cheese or chocolate, however, can hold as much saturated fat as a doughnut.

Toppings is where things go wrong:
Of course, the fat content of bagels is heavily influenced by the topping. About two tablespoons of regular cream cheese add around 100 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat. This will make your bagel the saturated plus trans fat equivalent of a doughnut and the calorie equivalent of one or two doughnuts. Light cream cheese is a healthier topping with 90 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat, but peanut butter is even healthier.
Although two tablespoons of peanut butter has 185 calories, the fat content has a better make up with only 3 grams of saturated fat and just a trace of trans fat. Because of the protein, a peanut butter bagel should satisfy your hunger for a long time, too, while doughnuts probably won’t.
If you choose carefully, bagels offer another advantage: nutritious whole grains. But you will need to look for whole-grain bagels closely. Bagels with a “whole wheat” label come from whole grains, but “nine-grain” and “multi-grain” bagels may not. To know for sure, look at the list of ingredients. A whole grain should be the first item. If you see just the word “wheat,” the product is mostly made with refined white flour.

10. Portion Control

Do you ‘free-hand pour’ at the breakfast table?

I noticed my flat-mate looking at me funny as I portioned out the recommended serving size for my morning cereal and smiled as she poured her cereal in a bowl free-hand with abandon…she thought I was crazy, I knew better.

Result: You likely eat enough for 1.4 people.

When a study asked 100 people to show us their typical cereal pour, only 1 in 10 poured close to the recommended portions. For flake cereals, the average pour was 40% more than the 1-cup serving size. A full cup of skim milk in the bowl means you’ve added 40 more calories over the label standard.

What to do: Read labels, then practice with a measuring cup, just to get an idea of the recommended serving. If you change cereals, start over.

My number one top tip:

Look at The Nutrition Information!
The key to knowing whether the foods you're buying are as nutritious as they seem is being able to read the nutrition labels. Some tips from the experts can help you navigate the information on a food package:

• Be mindful of portion size: people often miss the serving size. The packaging can make a food or drink look like a single serving, when it's actually two or more.

• Look for foods that are trans fat-free: Trans fat is harmful for your heart. While you're at it, though, also scan the label for partially hydrogenated oils, another ingredient you should avoid.

• Don't be seduced by misleading words: "Organic" doesn't necessarily mean a food is low in calories, and "fat-free" can be a mask for loads of added sugars to hide behind. Instead of assuming these marketing catch-phrases indicate a healthy food, check out the label and be mindful of the order in which the ingredients are itemized. If an unhealthy one like sugar is at or near the beginning of the list, steer clear of the food.

Information thanks to: