Monday, April 30, 2007

How Much Do You Really Eat?

Online Tools Make it Easier to Count Calories

Counting calories has never been an easy or fun routine keeping the average person from ever really knowing how many calories they eat in a given day nor the breakdown for fats to carbs to proteins.

Have you ever counted calories for a week or even for 1 day? No, then I challenge you to a Calorie Count Off.

Most of us rely on intuition or relativity by just dropping calories randomly or drastically when we want to loose weight which can have the starvation and gluttony effect of poor dieting. We might look at labels on packaged goods (which are tricky in themselves because of serving sizes), but when it comes to prepared foods we rely too much on our assumptions which can be way way off, especially when you are eating out.

Did you know 1 Qdoba Chicken Burrito contains:
- 1244 Calories
- 89% of Daily Fat
- 41% of Daily Carbs
- 112% of Daily Protein

With that kind of calorie punch in fast foods you might have thought were healthier, its easy to go way over your recommended caloric intake with just one fast meal.

In this age of technology we have help to make this nutrition exercise of assessing our calorie intake a lot easier.

1. Devices: there are actually little devices made by GNC and others that are pre-programmed with certain common foods and will add up your calories, fat, carbs, proteins, etc. for a day and store several days data. I found GNC's to be a way too basic in the foods they have programmed but it still gave me a decent estimate over several days.

2. Handheld Software: with all the people running around with handheld computers, its no surprise there are software downloads for nutrition databases and calorie counting, which may be the easiest way to go, since you people have their handhelds with them every time they eat. Some are free to download, others cost about $20.
Diet Organizer
Calorie King

3. Websites: There are tons of calorie counting websites for weight mgmt out on the web, here are two that I thought were easy to use and had valuable nutritional databases that contain all the major fast food chains, packaged food brands as well as whole foods: (free to start and search)

4. Books: and of course there are books of calorie lists that can slip in your backpack or handbag if you prefer old school.
Calorie King

So try out some of these tools and assess how many calories you are averaging a day versus what your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) + Activity Factor say your daily caloric intake should be to maintain your current weight.

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