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The Road to Thinness: How to Tell Which Foods Are Going Your Way : Dietitian Offers Tips for Avoiding Calorie Hazards

May 01, 1986|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

You don't have to eat a lot of food to be overweight.

All you have to do is choose the wrong foods.

"The chances are that overweight people eat foods that are very dense in calories, and that means foods that are very high in sugars and fats," said Sue Magrann, registered dietitian, a weight-control specialist speaking for the California Dietetic Assn.

To illustrate the caloric difference between foods high in fat and other foods: Fat contains nine calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates and protein contain four calories per gram. Alcohol, another high-calorie food, contains seven calories per gram.

This means that foods that have a lot of fat are extra-high in calories even in small amounts.

Calorie-Laden Foods

For instance, margarine, butter, oils, heavily marbled meats, sausages, mayonnaise and sauces made with fat are considered calorie-dense and are "red-light" foods for people who are trying to lose weight or even maintain weight.

According to Magrann, who also runs the Vons grocery company nutrition program, people who consume a calorie-dense diet characteristically don't eat enough fiber, which provides more bulk in the diet, hence a feeling of fullness.

Fibrous foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (peas, beans, lentils, soy beans and kidney beans).

Magrann cited a study in which 20 volunteers spent two weeks on both a highly refined and whole food diet. The study showed that when the subjects ate foods that were high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and low in fat, they consumed about 1,500 calories per day. When the subjects switched to foods high in fat and protein and low in fiber, calories increased to 3,000 calories per day, a 1,500-calorie jump.

Reducing Calories in Recipes

To combat calorie-dense problem eating, Magrann advises that consumers learn how to "decalorize recipes they use on a daily basis."

These are some tips from Magrann:

--Use low-fat or nonfat dairy products in lieu of whole counterparts.

Whole milk (one cup): 150 calories

Low-fat milk: 120 calories

Nonfat milk: 90 calories

Cottage cheese (one cup): 260 calories

Low-fat cottage cheese (one cup): 200 calories

Calorie savings: 60 calories for nonfat milk per cup and 30 calories for low-fat milk; 60 calories for low-fat cottage cheese.

--Use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream.

Low-fat yogurt (one cup): 140 calories

Sour cream (one cup): 416 calories

Calorie saving: 276 calories per cup for low-fat yogurt.

--Use diet margarine or vegetable oil sprays in place of regular butter or margarine.

Oil (one tablespoon): 120 calories

Butter or margarine (one tablespoon): 100 calories

Vegetable oil spray: four calories calories per spray

Calorie saving: 100 to 116 calories for vegetable spray.

--Use imitation mayonnaise in place of regular mayonnaise.

Regular mayonnaise (one tablespoon): 101 calories

Imitation mayonnaise (one tablespoon): 64 calories

Calorie saving: 37 calories for imitation mayonnaise.

--Use mustard in place of either butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dressing.

Mustard (one tablespoon): 15 calories

Butter or margarine (one tablespoon): 100 calories

Mayonnaise or salad dressing (one tablespoon): 101 calories

Calorie saving: 85 calories per tablespoon for mustard.

--Use low-fat delicatessen meats in lieu of regular delicatessen meats.

Regular delicatessen meat (two ounces): 172 to 256 calories

Low-fat delicatessen meats (two ounces): 60 to 90 calories

Calorie saving: 112 to 166 calories for low-fat meats

--Select lean cuts of beef (round or flank steak).

Lean cut (three ounces): 120 calories

Fatty cut (three ounces) 330 calories

Calorie saving: 210 calories for lean cut

--Remove skin from chicken.

Chicken without skin (three ounces): 115 calories

Chicken with skin (three ounces): 165 calories

Calorie saving: 50 calories for chicken without skin

--Use water-packed tuna in lieu of oil-packed tuna.

Water-packed tuna (half a cup): 100 calories

Oil-packed tuna (half a cup): 245 calories

Calorie saving: 145 calories for water-packed

--Use sugar substitute in place of regular sugar or honey.

Sugar substitute (one tablespoon equivalent): negligible calories

Regular sugar (one tablespoon): 46 calories

Honey (one tablespoon): 64 calories

Calorie saving: 46 to 64 calories for sugar substitute

--Use sugar-free gelatin in place of regular gelatin.

Sugar-free gelatin (half a cup): eight calories

Regular gelatin (half a cup): 80 calories

Calorie saving: 72 calories for sugar-free

--Use water-packed canned fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit in place of syrup-packed fruit.

Water-packed canned fruit (half a cup): 30 to 35 calories

Unsweetened frozen fruit (half a cup): 30 to 35 calories

Syrup-packed canned fruit (half a cup): 100 calories

Calorie saving: 65 to 70 calories for water-packed or unsweetened

--Use low-calorie hot chocolate instead of regular hot chocolate mixes.

Low-calorie hot chocolate mix (per envelope): 60 calories

Regular hot chocolate mix (per envelope): 110 calories

Calorie saving: 50 calories for low-calorie

--Use diet soda in place of regular soda.

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