DODGING DIET DISASTERS #440 12/29/2010
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Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.

Phyllis Diller

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8 "Diet" Foods That Can Make You Fat

By Justine Holberg

A veggie wrap for lunch. A night out for sushi. And you're working out . . . but you're still not losing weight. What gives?

Sushi

Some "diet" foods may be your worst enemy. That's because they're tricking you into eating too many calories. So what are some of the worst offenders?

  1. Sushi: Fish wrapped in rice and seaweed. Not a diet food? Yep, that's right. It's not always as "light" as it seems. Some sushi has calorie levels so high it might just shock you.

    Diet Shocker: One eight-piece serving of Philadelphia sushi roll is the caloric equivalent of 1 medium bagel with plain cream cheese—close to 500 calories. It's the cream cheese that gets you. And what about spicy tuna and other mayo-based rolls? They can contain as many as 450 calories and 11 grams of artery-clogging fat per serving. Eat too many of the "wrong" rolls and you're in Big Mac® calorie territory.
  2. WrapsWraps: You order the whole wheat veggie wrap thinking it'll put you on the skinny track. But is it actually the fat track? For some reason, wraps have been viewed as a healthy upgrade from a sandwich, but this isn't always the case.

    Diet Shocker: The tortilla holding your wrap together can easily contain the same number of calories as four slices of bread, not to mention more carbs and twice as much fat. Many kinds of wraps you get at a deli have at least 300 calories. And that's just the tortilla, not the contents. You also have to factor in the fillings—and keep in mind that a wrap has more surface space to spread these calorie-boosting culprits:
    • Dressing
    • Cheese
    • Mayo
    All told, one healthy-seeming wrap can easily trick you into eating hundreds more calories than you planned.
  3. Granola: When you're having granola, you might think, "It's healthy. The fiber and all those little pieces of dried fruit are so good for me." Truth is, although it's got good stuff in it, it also packs in the calories.

    Diet Shocker: A half-cup serving is what's often listed on the nutrition label of prepared granola. But who eats just half a cup? For most brands, there are more than 400 calories in a one-cup serving of granola. And when's the last time you actually measured? If you keep filling your cereal bowl with this stuff, it's no wonder you're not losing!
  4. MuffinsBran Muffins: The kinds sold at many bakeries today aren't the little 3-inch muffins Grandma used to bake. They're much, much bigger. And just because they're made with "healthy" bran doesn't mean they're a diet food, either.

    Diet Shocker: The average bakery muffin can contain as many as 630 calories. You might be slightly better off with a bran muffin than, say, a banana or blueberry one because of bran's extra fiber, but most of them are still packed with sugar and butter. Eat one bran muffin from Dunkin' Donuts® and you'll be consuming 480 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 46 grams of sugar. OMG.
  5. Dried Fruit: The more fruit you eat the better, right? Not when it comes to the dried stuff.

    Diet Shocker: You could boost your calorie count as much as four times (!) by choosing to eat the dried version of a fruit rather than its fresh counterpart. Check out these calorie comparisons based on a 100-gram (about 1 cup) serving:

  6. Fruit (about 1 cup) Fresh Dried
    Grapes 70 calories (Raisins) 300 calories
    Apricots 50 calories 240 calories
    Bananas 90 calories (Banana chips) 350 calories
    Plums 45 calories (Prunes) 230 calories

  7. Pumpkins, Pumpkin Pie with Whipped CreamPumpkin-Flavored Baked Goods: Pumpkin is nutritious, but these baked goods can be a dieting disaster. Like bran, pumpkin has lots of stuff that's good for you. So if you see pumpkin on a baked-goods label, it's easy to think you're eating something that's lower in calories. Not the case, though: pumpkin doesn't mean diet food.

    Diet Shocker: Dunkin' Donuts strikes again. Their pumpkin muffin has 630 calories and 28 grams of fat. OMG again! Want to switch bakeries? It won't help much. A pumpkin muffin from Panera Bread® has 530 calories and 20 grams of fat, and the pumpkin scone at Starbucks® has 470 calories and lots of fat too—22 grams worth. You might as well be eating pie with whipped cream!
  8. Olive Oil: It's a good fat and helps you burn fat. However, you don't need a lot of it to get the benefits. Two tablespoons a day can do the trick. And overdoing it can backfire.

    Diet Shocker: Olive oil served with bread at a restaurant is heart-healthy, but high in calories. You can easily sop up a quarter of a cup. That's 478 calories, not including the bread...or the rest of the meal you've ordered.
  9. Salad"Healthy" Salads: That's what some restaurants want you to believe in their "lite" section of the menu. It must be diet-friendly, right? Not always.

    Diet Shocker: Listed under "Healthy Options" on the T.G.I. Friday's® menu, their pecan-crusted chicken salad, which contains mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and celery, has 1,360 calories. Meanwhile, their cheeseburger and fries combo weighs in at 1,290 calories. Say it ain't so.

So what's a dieter to do in a world filled with "diet" traps?

Ask about nutrition and read food labels. After a while, you'll be a pro at it and enjoy the weight loss that comes with it. You won't even have to give up the foods you like. That's because you'll know how to work them into your food plan the right way.

Related Articles
"5 Things to Cut Out of Your Diet"
"9 Foods That Can Fool You"
"7 Foods That Make You Smarter"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, January 3rd, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Bring Home BRING IT! for the Holidays

Tony Horton's "Bring It!"Tony Horton's putting the X in MMXI (that's 2011 to non-Romans)! The Master of Motivation's new book Bring It! hit bookshelves December 21st. You can order yours now at the following online retailers.

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble.com
Borders.com
Indiebound.org

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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7 Tips for Portion Control

By Joe Wilkes

In the world of nutrition news, there was a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that took a look at cookbook recipes over the last several decades (with emphasis on recipes in The Joy of Cooking). This study found that calorie counts per serving have gone up dramatically as authors have increased portion sizes to conform to new cultural norms. Where the 1936 edition of the kitchen classic averaged 268 calories per serving, the most recent edition in 2006 averaged 384 calories. The study theorized that lower costs of food and larger plate sizes are part of the reason for the increase, but nutritionist Marion Nestle says that mainly it's just a reflection of people becoming accustomed to eating more and more overall. What can we do to monitor and control portion sizes? Here are some ideas . . .

Small Food Portion—Cups of Water—Food Containers

  1. Downsize your plate. One issue the study pointed out is that the average plate size has grown over the years, and the amount of food served on those plates has kept pace with that increase. Instead of breaking out the big dinner plate, try eating your dinner off a salad or dessert plate. The smaller plate will make the amount of food look larger by proportion, a visual cue that will trick your brain into thinking you're eating more. Plus you can trade in your big dinner fork for a more petite salad fork, which will also help to slow down any shoveling behavior you might be tempted to engage in at the dinner table.
  2. Food ContainersDivide and conquer. When you're cooking more than one serving of something, immediately store the prospective leftovers in single-serving containers. By putting out the entire dish, you run the risk of not having any leftovers at the end of the meal. Depending on what the meal is, I divide my food onto two plates—one for that meal and one for lunch the next day. And as a side benefit, this can help you tighten your wallet while you tighten your waistline.
  3. Count it down. If you eat your reasonably sized portion of food in the dining room/living room/den/bedroom/bathroom, etc., and leave the leftovers in the kitchen, it will make this next step a lot easier. Here's the scenario: You've finished your first portion, and yet you still want more. This is far from atypical, especially if the big plate of leftovers is sitting in front of you, tempting you, calling to you—maybe just a half a spoonful or maybe just a pick at the serving platter with your fork (just the good parts, of course). That couldn't possibly have more calories, right? Wrong. The calories from the food you sneak in after you finish eating are as potent as the calories from the food you're served. The good news is that if you can hold off, you won't be hungry for long.

    After you have a decent-sized portion of food, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to get the message from your stomach that you're full. So try this: Before you reach for seconds, glance at your wristwatch or the clock on the wall. Spend the next 20 minutes chatting with your dining companions, or if you're eating alone, check out the newspaper, read a magazine article, or play along with a round of Jeopardy on TV. Then, after 20 minutes, see if you're still starving for another bowl full of whatever. Chances are that your cravings will have disappeared. If they haven't, maybe you do still need a little more food to achieve satiety. Review what you ate before, and if the calorie count seems low, treat yourself to a little extra. Or, if the calorie count seems about right or high for a regular meal and you're still hungry, fill up on some low-cal veggies or have a big glass of water. Sometimes it's easy to confuse thirst with hunger.
  4. Small PortionsEmbrace your inner child. And we don't mean have candy for dinner . . . When you're on the road or out at a restaurant, don't be ashamed to look at the kids' menu. As the adult menu has been supersized to gluttonous proportions, the children's menu often has the most nutritious options. Check out Debbie Siebers' portion-control tips below, and you'll see that oftentimes the amount of food in a kids' meal is just the right amount for an adult watching his or her figure. Not to mention, if you play your cards right, there could be a free toy in it for you. Out of the mouths of babes . . .
  5. Sharing is good. And while we're getting lessons from the small set, how about sharing? If you're a foodie like me, the hardest part about eating out is passing up all the goodies you want to try on the menu. Instead of ordering too much for yourself, strategize with your fellow diners about how you can maximize the variety of the food instead of the quantity. Most restaurants will be more than happy to provide you with extra small plates so you can split dishes. And make sure you actually split them! Don't dine out with your friend who survives on a nibble here or there and split two dishes; you'll end up eating 80 percent of the food on the table while he or she makes do with a couple of forkfuls. In case you ever wondered how Top Chef® host Padma Lakshmi keeps her model physique while judging up to 12 meals a week, the secret is that she doesn't eat everything. Also, when you're figuring out how to eat family-style, make sure that at least one of the dishes is a healthy salad, a non-cream-based soup, or a vegetable dish. That way you and your family can get full without getting fat.
  6. Food LabelLearn your weights and measurements. As anyone who's a regular reader of this newsletter knows, we're always going on and on about reading labels. And like the calorie, carb, protein, and fat numbers, the serving size is important. This is where the corporate food interests get you a lot of the time, by adjusting the serving size downward to make the nutritional numbers look a little better. As anyone who's recently spent a Saturday night alone with the TV can tell you, the estimate of four servings in a pint of Ben & Jerry's® or Häagen-Dazs® is wildly optimistic. Whereas the label would indicate a 300-calorie serving, keep in mind that the entire container has 1,200 calories. And since most of the containers taper downward, eating what appears to be half of the container can actually amount to two-thirds.

    It's definitely too much of a hassle to weigh and measure everything you put in your body every day. Even the most anal-retentive people among us don't have the time to be hauling out the scale and measuring cups for every meal. But it's worth it to at least familiarize yourself with a few standard weights and measures. Try learning what an ounce, a gram, a tablespoon, etc., look like. That way you can at least eyeball how much you're eating. I've yet to meet the person who can make a typical bag of potato chips last for twelve servings.
  7. Give yourself a hand. For an easy guide to portion sizes, follow this guide from Slim in 6® creator Debbie Siebers.

Handy Portion-Control Guide

By Debbie Siebers, creator of Slim in 6®

To achieve weight loss—and maintain that healthy weight once you've achieved it—it's crucial to really understand what a portion is. Here's what may prove to be an indispensible tip: use your hand as a guideline for portion sizes. (If your hands happen to be extra-large or extra-small for your size, adjust accordingly.)

Palm = Proteins: Make protein portions the size of your palm. Protein is found in animal products, like fish, meats, and cottage cheese. Some veggie protein sources include legumes (beans, etc.), tofu, tempeh, and wheat glutens.

Thumb = Fats: Fats are important, but they're also very dense, so match fat portions to the size of your thumb. Good fat sources are avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Fist = Fruits, Grains, etc.: Your bread, fruit, cereal, rice, and grain portions should be about equal to the size of your closed fist. Remember that it's always preferable to consume whole grains.

Hand = Veggies: Open your hand and spread your fingers as wide as you can. That's a good vegetable portion. Raw vegetables are loaded with fiber and nutrients, and they contain very few calories.

Related Articles
"How I Overcame Compulsive Overeating"
"7 Common Factors of Successful Weight Management"
"10 Tiny Changes for Big Weight Loss"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, January 3rd, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Chalene Announces TurboFire® Sweepstakes on Facebook®!

TurboFire creator Chalene Johnson announces a Facebook sweepstakes to give away deluxe TurboFire kits! Click below to watch the video.

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Recipe: Chicken and Rice Wraps

Chicken and Rice WrapsHere's a healthy wrap recipe that's simple to make and tastes great served either hot or cold. Makes one dinner for two . . . or two lunches for one!

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 lowfat whole wheat flour tortillas (6 to 8 inches in diameter)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. fat-free salad dressing
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Medium-sized frying pan

Spray medium-sized pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add onions and garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Add raw chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until no pink remains in center of each piece. Remove pan from heat. Place tortillas on plates. Put half the lettuce on each tortilla, followed by half the chicken, half the dressing, and half the rice. To assemble wraps, roll tortilla around contents, securing each with a toothpick if necessary. Makes 2 servings.

Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
345 32 grams 4 grams 36 grams 4.5 grams <0.5 grams

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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