The other day on my facebook page, I posted a tip about the calorie counts on many labels not being accurate. It got a ton of responses since this isn’t common knowledge. Always go by protein, fat and carb totals in relation to your goal numbers and ignore calories on labels and in food log apps like My Fitness Pal. This is why…
Food companies are allowed certain leeway by the FDA in their labeling. They can legally round calories up to 10% without penalty. Some companies don’t do this, but many round down to make their products more appealing. If you’re dieting, which would you buy – the box that’s 100 calories or the one that’s 80? Additionally they are allowed to remove up to half the fiber from calculations.
This is HUGE nowadays because many products are fortified with whole grains and fiber to make them sound healthy. The more fiber, the more likely it is that the calorie math is off. Carbs and proteins are 4 calories per gram, and fats are 9 calories per gram. I pulled my loaf of fiber fortified bread out. The label says 50 calories per slice – 3P/11C/.5F. If you do the math, it’s actually 60.5 calories per slice. They’ve taken out the fiber calories.
Eat two slices and you’re off by 21 calories. It can add up quickly if many of your products take this approach. If you don’t think it could impact your weight, here is an example from an actual client food log. The total calories listed for the day were 1944 based on the labels with 108P/239C/119F. Do the math and it’s really 2459 calories. That’s a pretty large difference in calories for a day. All for the sake of marketing.
The less processed a food is the less likely it is to do this. You won’t find it with an apple, chicken breast, broccoli or a sweet potato. Food marketers are a very sneaky bunch of people to encourage you to buy their products. Be aware and don’t fall for label tricks! It doesn’t take much effort to throw together a quick meal using plenty of fresh unprocessed foods and that way you won’t have to worry about hidden calories missing from labels.
Last night I made meat loaf that took about 5 minutes to squish together and 30 minutes to cook. While it was in the oven, I straightened up the house and did a few other things. I love dinners like that where you don’t have to babysit them, you get a fresh meal, plus leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches the following day. Never one to settle for plain old meatloaf, I went with an apple curry flavored loaf. 😉
Apple Curry Turkey Meatloaf
- 16 oz lean ground turkey (93/7)
- 1/2 cup (40g) old fashioned oats
- 1 medium gala apple (120g), peeled and diced
- 1 egg white (46g if using carton egg white)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. I find squishing with my hands really lets me get everything mixed well. Press the mixture into your prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until done. Remove from oven and let it cool slightly. Cut into 4 slices and top with ketchup if desired.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 237 calories – 26g protein, 13g carbs and 9g fat.
If you’re looking for more dieting tips to make you think that you aren’t really dieting, I’d love for you to come over to my facebook page where I’ve got all kinds of fun tips like this. If you’d like more information on working with me one on one, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can eat fun foods while losing weight. You don’t have to feel deprived. 🙂