You Won’t Believe what this Simple Nutritional Change will do for Your Health

Both of these plates may look almost the same, but the plate on the right has 30% more calories, 50% more fat, and 850% more sodium. This shows us the importance of making good decisions about sauces, seasoning, and alternatives.

You have a dilemma. After a long day at work, you come home to discover the two plates shown on your table ready to eat. You would love to just dig in, but you also realize you’ve been watching your health and need to be careful about what you eat. Both plates look nearly identical. Each has 2 servings of meat, 2 servings of rice, 3 servings of vegetables, 1.5 servings of fruit, and a serving of dairy. But upon further inspection, you realize something is literally a bit salty about one of these dishes. You realize that the meal on the right has 30% more calories, 50% more fat, and 850% more sodium. You decide to eat the meal on the left. But how do two nearly identical meals have such different nutritional contents? Also, why should you care?

The differences between the two meals are as listed: pork vs chicken, light vs regular yogurt, not salted vs salted for taste, “reduced sodium” soy sauce vs no soy sauce, added sugar to sweeten the smoothie vs no added sugar, processed and packaged white rice vs whole brown rice, and boiled rice vs stir fried rice. If there is one thing I want you to learn from this article is that when it comes to food, there is always a “versus”. You always have options for adding an additional ingredient or substituting foods, and by substituting the right foods and using the right ingredients, the same meal can be significantly healthier for you. Let’s discuss each of these food showdowns.

Pork vs Chicken: Pork has about 25 more calories than chicken per serving, and about 3 times as much fat. By switching from pork or beer to fish or chicken, you can significantly decrease the amount of fat you are consuming.

Light vs Regular Yogurt: Both of the yogurts used in the two meals were very sweet, dessert tasting yogurts. However, the light yogurt had 90 calories per serving as opposed to 150 calories per serving, contained only 80 mg of sodium as opposed to 190 mg of sodium, and was fat-free compared to its counterpart which packed a couple grams of fat. Switching from normal to light yogurt is a good way to cut back on overall calories, fats, and sodium without eating less. We will discuss why you might want to do this later in this article.

Salted vs Not Salted for Taste: The meal on the right was lightly salted for taste. Just 1/4 teaspoons of salt contains 580 mg of sodium which is 25% of your recommended maximum daily sodium intake. A light salting of your food will more than likely skyrocket your sodium quota (and your blood pressure).

“Reduced Sodium” Soy Sauce vs No Soy Sauce: Many people enjoy eating their rice and vegetables with soy sauce and purchase a reduced sodium soy sauce thinking it is healthy. One tablespoon of reduced sodium soy sauce has 570 mg of sodium, almost as much as the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Just two tablespoons spread out among your meal can put you at 50% of your daily max value for sodium.

Added Sugar to Sweeten the Smoothie vs No Added Sugar: When you go to a restaurant and order a smoothie, they will normally add simple syrup, a solution that is mostly just sugar and water. Most fruits already have enough natural sugars to make them sweet, so next time you make a smoothie at home, try making it with just fruit blended with water. This will help keep the calories down, and will still taste very good.

Processed and Packaged White Rice vs Whole Brown Rice: White rice is often fortified to have about the same benefits of brown rice, but the point to make here is if you take a food that you can but fresh and whole, and then package it, the company is almost always going to add sodium to increase the shelf life of that product. Choosing processed over whole foods will almost always increase your sodium intake.

Boiled Rice vs Stir Fried Rice: When you stir fry rice, you are adding additional oil, thus you are adding additional fat and calories into your diet. The extra oil in the right side meal saw a significant increase in calories just from the small amount of extra oil it took to stir-fry the rice. This doesn’t take into account any added ingredients that are usually added to rice such as egg and additional vegetables.

So why is increasing your calories, fat, and sodium bad for you? To keep it short, increased calories may lead to weight gain, increased fat may lead to heart disease, and increased sodium may lead to high blood pressure. By not eating an excessive amount of calories, fats, and sodium, you will likely stay free of illness, as well as look and feel better. That is why it’s important to be very cautious about how much you salt your foods, how much salt is in the foods you are purchasing, and that we look for alternatives to high-fat foods such as replacing pork with chicken. Also, be aware of what sauces and seasonings you are adding to your foods. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, and soy sauce are just a few examples of sauces that will add extra sodium and calories to your meal. This happens in restaurants all the time! What your eating may look and sound healthy. However, they may have added excess oil and salt to make it taste better.

The same meal with a few non-cosmetic changes can make or break your diet, always be on the lookout for hidden nutritional contents such as additional sodium, fat, and calories.

Author: Scott Van Hoy


5 Things to Quit Right Now

1. Sitting for Extended Periods of Time

In 2010, doctors in Australia set out to see if watching TV affects your chance of dying. They observed that if you watch no TV each day, your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease in the next 10 or so years is close to zero. Then if you watched about 5 hours of TV per day, that probability of dying from cardiovascular disease increases to about 5%. This increase is added to the average probability of death of other non-cardiovascular ailments, so your chances of dying increases from 3% to 8% just by making your favorite after work hobby watching TV or playing video games. If you also have a desk job, this can increase significantly as you are now sitting for 8+ hours per day. So why does the death rate increase? When you sit down your natural enzymes that burn fat are reduced, your metabolism slows, insulin effectiveness is reduced, good cholesterol drops, your circulation slows, and you begin to have muscle degeneration. Choose hobbies that keep you active, and when you’re at work, ensure you are making time to get up and walk around.

2. Smoking Cigarettes

In any given year in the United States, there are close to 500,000 deaths that are directly related to smoking. Smoking can cause cancer in at least 16 different organs, including your lungs, mouth, and kidneys. Other parts of the body that research has shown to be negatively affected by smoking are your bones, immune system, blood, eyes, and reproductive system. Cigarettes have 43 chemicals that are known to cause cancer in them, as well as an additional 400 other toxins. You’ve been taught that smoking is bad since middle school health class, and that’s still the case today. If you are a current smoker, perhaps the best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking.

3. Eating Processed and Packaged Food

Processed and packaged food is a very large category that encompasses everything from potato chips to frozen dinners. If your food comes frozen or in a sealed bag or box it probably falls into the quit list. Processed and packaged food are notoriously high in fat, high in sodium, high in sugar, and low in nutrients. So if they’re so bad, why do they taste so good? It wasn’t until about the last century that food has become abundant, and that’s only in select parts of the world. Because food wasn’t as abundant, our bodies became hard-wired to love foods that had high energy contents, such as fat, salt, and sugar, which were difficult to come by in the wild. Now that these foods are available everywhere, our body still craves them, but we no longer need them to stay alive, they only hurt our health. So next time you reach for food that is packaged or processed, try to think about a fresh alternative that won’t have as much added fat, salt, and sugar. Your instincts may think you need them, but you’re better off going with fresh foods.

4. Drinking Soda Pop

A single 12oz can of Coke has 140 calories which are almost exclusively from sugar (a carbohydrate). Drinking just 2 cans of soda per day will account for about 15% of the average daily calorie intake for an average person. The problem is soda adds no nutritional value to your body and it isn’t filling, so these calories are usually added on top of what your body already is eating. This means your soda is being stored as fat. Soda can also cause insomnia due to the caffeine, and tooth decay from the sugar. So what if you drink diet soda? You may not be drinking any calories, but the artificial sweeteners may have some effects on your physiology. The more sweeteners you drink, the more your body will crave a diet that is very sweet, causing you to continue to crave foods that are high in sugar. Studies have shown that when it comes to losing weight, switching from normal to diet soda has very little impact on the outcome. It’s best to cut them out of your diet altogether and drink water.

5. Complaining and Making Excuses

Wait, this isn’t a food, how can this effect my health? Mental health aside, when it comes to staying physically healthy, you need to keep a positive attitude and work hard to meet your health goals. You need to keep a positive attitude toward any changes you make to better your health. For example, if you decide to cut out soda from your diet, then instead of complaining about how you don’t feel any different after only day one, stay positive and realize long term it will have great health benefits. Also, never make excuses for not exercising or eating healthy. It’s a matter of priority. If you prioritize your health, then you shouldn’t be telling yourself “well I got home late so I’ll make a frozen dinner and skip my workout”. Make time, not excuses.

Author: Scott Van Hoy – Click Here to view the author’s profile