The nutrition experts at MSN’s health & fitness channel offered up some advice recently on easy ways to cut 100 calories from your daily diet. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Ditch the Pop-Tart for a slice of high-fiber toast with strawberry jam.
- Top your waffles with Reddi-wip instead of syrup.
- Go ahead and have that piece of birthday cake –just scrape off the chocolate frosting first.
- Pass on the à la mode and savor that brownie au naturel.
- Can the cone. Have your ice cream in a bowl.
- Slather your bread with mustard rather than mayo.
- Two or more pizza slices? Blot off the grease with a napkin.
- Swap low-fat cottage cheese for whole-milk ricotta when you make lasagna or stuffed shells.
- Lay off the Lay’s Classic potato chips and have a handful of Rold Gold pretzels.
Hmmm … bread, waffles, ice cream, cake, brownies, pasta and pretzels. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, apparently it’s fine to eat a diet loaded with carbohydrates –as long as you cut 100 calories per day, preferably in the form of fat. The theory, of course, is that if you just make this tiny sacrifice, you’ll shave 36,500 off your calorie intake for the year and lose a bit more than than 10 pounds. All from just blotting the grease off your pizza!
Yeah, right. Sure, it’s that easy. That’s why there are so many people who are fatter than they want to be — because despite hating the way they look in the bathroom mirror, they’re just not willing to eat ice cream without the cone or skip the mayo when they eat a yummy white-bread sandwich. They could eat all that sugar and starch and still lose weight if they’d just consume 100 fewer calories per day.
I hate to break it to you, but if all you do is eliminate the mayo from your sandwich for a year, you won’t lose 10 pounds. You won’t lose any pounds. You’ll just end up eating a lot of dry sandwiches — and if you’re insulin-resistant (like most fat people), you’ll also get an insulin spike from the white bread that will tell your body to store fat.
People who’ve been brainwashed in nutrition classes may believe in the 100-calories-per-day theory, but your body doesn’t. It’ll simply adjust for the difference, probably by producing a teeny bit less heat while you’re sleeping.
People on low-calorie diets often complain of being cold. Ever wonder why? It’s because that cranky old super who lives between their ears decided to turn down the thermostat until he gets his back-due mayonnaise.
I sometimes wonder if these “it’s all about the calories” theorists live in the real world — or even talk to real people. Maybe they should do a little research on my son, who is naturally lean — complete with six-pack abs — and always gets exactly the same reading when he steps on a scale, year in and year out. (He did not inherit this blessed trait from me. I got fat as an adolescent.)
He consumes at least 3000 calories per day, which is more than 1.1 million calories per year. To gain just five pounds in a year, he’d only have to consume an extra 17,500 calories. That may sound like a lot, until you consider that it’s only 1.6 percent of 1.1 million.
So according to the “it’s all about the calories” theorists, my son manages to avoid gaining so much as five pounds by calculating his daily calorie needs and then eating exactly that amount – with better than 98.4 percent accuracy.
But since he never gains or loses more than two pounds, he’s even more precise than that! Yup, my boy manages to eat exactly the right number of calories, year in and year out, with 99.4 percent accuracy.
Pretty darned good for a guy who’s never read a nutrition label. He must be the Rain Man of dieting. He looks at the meal spread out before him and says, in a nasal but charming monotone, “Seven hundred twenty five and one-half calories. Gotta, gotta eat fast. Judge Judy is on in three hundred and ten seconds.”
When my son was playing high-school basketball, his coach wanted him to gain weight so he’d have some extra heft to toss around under the basket. He tried, but couldn’t. Same thing happened when he was in basic training.
And as Gary Taubes recounts in his book Good Caloies, Bad Calories, the same thing happened to a group of naturally-lean prisoners who agreed to consume an extra 1000 calories per day for six months as part of a research project. They gained a few pounds (which should’ve been 50 pounds, according to the “it’s all about the calories” goofs), then lost them as soon as the experiment was over.
If you really believe being thin is all about counting calories, do yourself a favor: Find someone whose weight never fluctuates. (My wife’s weight never fluctuates, but she’s busy trying to pack up our house, so find someone else.) Pick out that guy at the office who always looks great with his shirt tucked in and won’t wear a jacket unless it’s really cold outside. Then walk up to him and say, “Hey, Joe,” – if his name isn’t Joe, you should probably use another name – “if you don’t mind me asking, how many calories did you consume for lunch?”
If Joe is like most thin people, his answer will be, “I have no idea.” That’s because Joe, like my wife and son, has a body that doesn’t want to store fat. He doesn’t count calories … because for him, they don’t count.