How to eat 278 fewer calories a day

Fruit vs. fruit juiceDrink more water and eat fruit. Honest, these two small changes will make a huge difference to your caloric intake if you’re like most North Americans.

Late in 2007, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that since 1971, overall energy intake from sweetened beverages increased 135 per cent.

This change represents a 278 total calorie increase per person per day. If you do the math, that’s enough extra calories to result in a 25 lb. weight gain over the course of a year.

Although pop and energy drinks are often cited as one of the insidious causes of obesity, we need to remember that healthy-hailed fruit juices can be high in calories, too.

In fact, my colleague Amy Snider, a professional home economist who specializes in nutrition, recommends that we reevaluate our opinions about fruit juice: “Canada’s Food Guide makes the recommendation to ‘have vegetables and fruit more often than juice’,” points out Amy.

“There are scores of beverage products currently marketed that claim to contain superfruit-enhanced nutritional benefits. However, calorie-for-calorie, these beverages can’t match the nutritional benefits of eating real fruit. This is because whole fruits and vegetables contain more fiber and are more filling while containing fewer calories ounce for ounce. Likewise, the carbohydrates consumed while eating fruit are broken down less quickly than those from juice; helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.

“There’s also a school of thought that would say that eating fruit in its natural form should increase the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you consume. Research is still working to identify all of the healthful components in plant foods and studies are still determining the bioavailability of nutritious plant compounds when processed into products such as juice or added as supplements into other products but why not hedge your bets?

“In my opinion, drinking juice can be a refreshing way to gain additional nutrients but should not replace whole fruit in our diets or water as our primary beverage source.”

This is great advice from Amy especially, as so-called “healthy” versions of products like Pepsi are launched and marketed to us.

6 Responses to How to eat 278 fewer calories a day

  1. Luis Mac says:

    Thanks for this great post. What do you think about taking health supplements along with a healthier diet? Needed? I just thought I would ask because I have been doing some reading periodically on what others are saying about different supplements they take on http://www.nutritionaltree.com

    If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear. Thanks

  2. danamccauley says:

    You know Luis, if you had asked me a year ago I would have said skip the supplements. Then, when I was dieting I took some to ensure that i was getting my nutrients and I really did feel quite good. I’m not an expert on supplements but I do take a few now myself.

    Amy, what is the official word on supplements? Does Health Canada recommend them or not?

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Luis and Dana,
    This is a very long and complicated topic. Health Canada regulates supplements separate from food under the Drugs and Health Products section.
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/index_e.html

    There are instances when it makes sense to supplement for example when you are pregnant and your diet may be compromised due to morning sickness or if you have Osteoporosis and you need to consider calcium and vitamin D supplements. Some seniors with low appetites can benefit from energy and protein supplements such as boost.

    However, the best practice for most healthy individuals is to try and get most of your nutrients from the food you eat rather than rely on supplements. A pill or shake can’t necessarily mimic all of the nutritional components found in food. If you are going to supplement, I recommend that you consult your physician and pharmacist for the best advice on the right product to choose for your situation.

  4. Amy says:

    Also – in the case of many nutrients such as water soluble vitamins, the body eliminates any excess nutrients it doesn’t need promptly – so there is no advantage to consuming more than the requirement. If you are not deficient, you may not feel better just poorer….

  5. Hi,
    I like the way you are performing your work .. Its really amazing .. The topic is really brilliant and the way you have discussed is really fantastic!
    .

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