Calories creep, just sneak up on you when you aren’t looking.
You do need calories because they provide energy. Sources of calories (called macro-nutrients) are protein, fat, and carbohydrates (sugar). But vitamins and minerals (called micro-nutrients) are the stuff that makes that energy work for you, tells your body to operate correctly. You find vitamins and minerals hiding out in the whole food sources of calories.
Virtually every natural food from the pasture or the garden contains some protein, fat, carbohydrate (sugar), vitamins and minerals. Your health is ultimately attached to the vitamins and minerals, not the calories. Got it?
We tend of think in terms of just calories, don’t we? The danger is when that calorie creep adds nothing nutritionally. These are the carbohydrate (sugar) calories created for you by commercial food manufacturers, virtually assured to pile on the pounds.
Facebook provides me with so much material. Following is an example of calorie creep I saw posted yesterday.
“Think a bite here and there won’t hurt you? It adds up faster than you think! Take a look:
Bite 1: You are cleaning out the refrigerator for trash day and notice there is only a quarter cup of juice left. You need the space so you decide to drink it instead of throwing it out. 30 calories 7 carbs (sugar).
Bite 2: The kids are having mini powdered donuts. They look so good, one can’t hurt. 65 calories 8 carbs (sugar).
Bite 3: You made the coffee too strong today so you add some hazelnut flavored creamer to tone down the taste. 35 calories 5 carbs (sugar).
Bite 4: You decide to have a small hamburger for lunch but forgot to tell them to leave off the dressing. 100 calories 7 carbs (sugar).
Bite 5: Your breath is not smelling so hot after eating lunch so you have two breath mints. 20 calories 12 carbs (conservatively) (sugar).
Bite 6: The candy jar at work is calling you. The peppermint patties are only snack size so one shouldn’t be a big deal, right!. 57 calories 18 carbs (conservatively) (sugar).
Bite 7: you are getting kind of hungry but it is too early for dinner. You decide to eat the other half of the protein bar in your drawer. 50 calories 15 net carbs (sugar).
Bite 8: Your commute home takes over an hour. You have some chips in the car and you grab about 8 chips to eat while you sit in traffic. 75 calories 12 carbs (yes, even this is sugar).
Bite 9: You are going to a card game at a friend’s house. There are all kinds of things to munch on. You decide on a handful of peanuts (1/4 cup), couldn’t hurt. 163 calories 5 carbs (sugar).
GRAND TOTAL: 695 calories and 89 carbs (sugar)!!!!! Things add up quick. Think before you grab.”
What if you just doubled that up! Two mini donuts instead of one. Four breath mints instead of two. Two peppermint patties, sixteen chips, two handfuls of nuts, a whole protein bar, etc. etc. A very small pile of stuff that contains almost 1400 calories and 180 grams of sugar. Can you see how easily that can happen?
We live in a world of nutritionally deficient processed food, usually just junk, that is predominantly carbohydrate (sugar) and makes up about 38% of the calories most people consume. In other words, 38% of your food may be adding only taste and body fat.
Carbohydrate Calorie Creep! Stick to whole food.
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Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All About the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR: president of Ouachita Village, Inc .board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry): chairman of the Tasty Acre project: and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.