Much to the irony of my liberal arts education, I currently spend most of my work day doing math. Rates, percentages, some mid level algebra, spotting patterns-these were not things that I was good at growing up. But as I am required to do math at work, I have gotten better at it. And now I would say that I am a spot on pattern detector. I have a good sense for when numbers don’t add up (figuratively and literally). And I understand fully that in business, you can make numbers say anything.
If you operate by the assumption that one should eat three meals a day with maybe one small snack (or better yet no snack) You should have no more than four eating opportunities during the day. I am going to go with this number for the sake of the exercise, even though we know that things like dessert creep in. If we believe that 1800-2000 calories are the target for an average day, those calories should probably be split out fairly evenly, right?? Let’s say that 90% of calories should come from meals and 10% from that snack you eat. Of 2000 calories, that means 200 calories for snacking and 1800 calories for meals. If each meal is even, then that means 600 calories for each meal.
On one hand, this is not a lot of calories in each meal when one considers the amount of 1000 and 1200 calorie meals available at fast foods restaurants daily. With so many people eating huge portion of fat heavy foods, obesity is the natural result. But when one considers that 3.6 ounces of beef tenderloin with some fat left on the cut is only 275 calories, that a baked potato is also 275 calories and a cup of broccoli is about 85 calories-that is a good sized meal for 635 calories! I don’t think I would walk away hungry from that table. And not every one of my meals is 600 calories. Lunch might be less, making room for some butter and yogurt on my potato at night. So my conclusion is, 1800-2200 calories a day is probably sufficient for me to be satiated.
So why on earth do I see dieticians and nutritionists (and websites and morning talk shows and people in my office and other bloggers…) recommending 200 and 300 calorie meals??!!! And why do people think that eating one 150 calorie serving of breakfast cereal is enough to keep you feeling good and full?? I get it, dieters need to cut back in order to lose weight, but come on! Anyone can see that such severe calorie restriction leads to binge eating. Consuming a 200 calorie breakfast would have me panhandling snacks from my co-workers before 10am. And if you have 3 300 calorie
When I see people thinking that healthy eating means severe calorie restriction, my heart bleeds for them. We have become so far removed from what real food is that people are AFRAID to eat. And what a shame because food is wonderful. But we all know, all calories are not created equal. And calories in do not equal calories out. But real (simple) food is naturally lower in calories than fried tater tots and hot dogs, and of course higher in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, etc. It keeps you fuller longer. So you can eat a greater volume of food and weigh less. While I love the political and nutritional aspects of food, and I love examining the ethics of sustainability and family farming, the truth is, I just want to eat more while being healthy and looking good
This post is Part of Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFLINS and Sustainable Eats