Monday, May 30, 2011

Hidden Calories

Nowadays many more of us are opting for a healthy lifestyle. We try to eliminate saturated fats, processed foods, sugars and artificial additives but what happens when the healthy foods we chose are misleading and deceptive?  

If you have been working out and trying to eat healthier then you should see results right? Well it can be rather difficult to achieve results when the seemingly healthy foods we eat have hidden calories that many restaurants and food retailers try to keep on the down-lo. We work extremely hard trudging away on that treadmill and lifting weights but if you aren’t shedding the pounds maybe it is time to take a closer look at the foods you consume on a daily basis.

Like many Canadians I like Tim Hortons and could be spotted grabbing a quick coffee, yogurt or whole grain bagel on my way to where ever I was headed that day. But when I looked up the nutritional information on their bagels, low fat items, soups, sandwiches and real fruit smoothies I was shocked to find that what I had been consuming as seemingly healthy meals were in fact loaded with sugar, and salt. This revelation led to an epiphany moment for me, it got me wondering what else I was putting in my body that appeared to be healthy but wasn’t.

The more sugar and fat we consume the more our bodies crave it, and putting hidden calories into foods that should be healthy not only gets you hooked on them but also makes you believe that you are eating healthy and has you coming back for more day after day! No medium REAL FRUIT smoothie should have 46 g of sugar in it! I find that quite appalling.
Many foods that claim to be non-fat may indeed be non-fat or low fat, but that provides you with no information about the sugar or salt content. The non fat chocolate milk they had on sale at my local grocery store was non fat alright but it also had 23g of sugar in it which totally defeats the purpose of a healthy choice.

What we have to do is be informed consumers, it is imperative to read labels thoroughly and know exactly what is going into our bodies, after all they are “our temples” so we have to take care of them. Try to cook your meals at home and resist the temptation to eat out on a regular basis. If you do eat out try to do some research online before you chose what dish to have. Salads may not always be the best option and they can be rather dull, even if you get low fat dressing on the side you may not know exactly how many calories are hidden in your salad. Most restaurants have nutritional information posted online, be prepared and chose the healthiest option for you before you go out to eat. At the restaurant you can ask your server if your meal can be adjusted to reduce the amount of oil or salt that it is cooked in. Every little adjustment and cut back is beneficial to your body.

Preparing meals ahead of time can save you a lot of hassle when it comes to mealtime, freezing dishes is also an option for those nights when you are too fatigued to lift a finger. Buying and cooking your own meals is substantially healthier for you and helps keep you fit.

I am in no way suggesting that everyone should stop eating out all together, eating out on special occasions as a treat is perfectly fine and indulging every now and then in our favourite foods is a simple pleasure in life we must allow ourselves; what I am suggesting is that we all make informed decisions about what we eat and chose carefully.
Diet along with regular exercise is a healthy way to live.

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