Friday, March 8, 2013

Choosing the Lower Calorie Option

    In the current version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans  everyone is encouraged to deliberately choose the lower calorie option at home and when eating away from home (USDA/DHHS,2010).  This recommendation is made because the majority of Americans are overweight and more than 30% are obese.  These numbers are supported by new ones just released from the Gallop and Healthways poll .  It found that only one state had an obesity rate below 20% in 2012 and the average rate of obesity in most states was well above 20%.
   I take the "choose the low calorie option" very seriously - as most of you know.  It is the foundation of my volumized plate and informs how I choose meals at restaurants.  It also has an influence on the choices I make at the grocery store.  I have a great example and I share it because I think that the grocery food industry might have realized that there is more than one Deirdre in the world.
   In a recent post showcasing almond milks, I noted that the Almond Breeze brand had a greater amount of good fat and was, in that respect, the better choice between it and Silk Pure Almond.  It was also the less expensive of the two brands.  Almond Breeze costs nearly 50 cents less.  
   I buy 2 cartons of almond milk each week.  I have been buying the more expensive, technically less healthy brand, (Silk) because it has 30 calories per cup and Almond Breeze had 40.  YES - I am that stubborn.  And yes, I said had.
   I think people like me are growing in number.  I say this because NOW the Almond Breeze has the same amount of calories as Pure Silk and the same grams of fat.  I don't know why they changed, but I assume it was competition.  What they did not change was the price, so NOW I buy 2 cartons of Almond Breeze  each week.  [note: in both cases I am referring to unsweetened almond milk, (vanilla or original]
   This is example of why it makes sense to occasionally recheck the label of a product you buy all the time.  Things change.
OH - I think this is also an example of the power of front of pack labels!  The milks are sold from a cooler where they exist side by side.  The calorie per serving info is broadly displayed on the front of the cartons.  In this side by side comparison 10 calories is enough to make one look worse or better.  The sad thing is, the 10 extra calories were coming from good fat-  a nutrient we need.  Sadly, I like most people who consider calories, fall prey to the lower is better mentality when it isn't always the case.  Here is really isn't (wasn't). 

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