NO RUNNING! — Lesson of the Week #2

February 13th, 2012 in NO RUNNING by 5 Comments

To get lessons sent to your phone, text the words FOLLOW NORUNMARK to 40404.

The first step in my journey from being 45 pounds overweight to becoming a National Masters Champion was losing the weight. So, this week’s lesson is to watch what you eat.

Look at this picture of Rhythm Superfoods’ Kale Chips (click to enlarge).


Looks healthy! Kale, superfood, gluten-free, vegan, organic, Vitamin A, Vitamin C. Excellent! However, two things are wrong with this picture…and one of those things is VERY wrong:

1. If you divide the calories per serving (100) by the grams per serving (28) you get a “score” of 3.6 (100 / 28 = 3.6). That is not a good score. To give you an idea, sugar has 4 calories per gram. Even a McDonald’s cheeseburger is less than 3 calories per gram. Do you consider that to be conducive to weight management? I know I don’t.

When I started to shed my 45 pounds of fat, I started by switching to foods with less calories per gram. This led me to cut down on things like steak, packaged butter-noodle side dishes, and cereal. Instead, I focused on foods with less than 2 calories per gram (there are exceptions – see the upcoming book for details).

For the most part, the lower the score, the easier it is to maintain or lose weight. For example, tuna fish is about 56 calories per serving. Each serving is 2 ounces (56 grams), so tuna is about one calorie per gram (56 / 56 = 1). Lentils are 2.5 calories per gram, but this drops to 1.5 when they are cooked (because they absorb water). Keep that in mind with foods that absorb water when cooked (rice, barley, pasta, etc).

2. I calculated the score for Kale Chips using nutritional facts I found on their website. However, when I looked at the package in the store, there was a completely different set of nutritional facts!! (pictured to the far right of the photo).

Look at the difference! There’s less Vitamin A and less Vitamin C. Worse yet, the store package says that each serving is 220 calories!! When I divide 220 by 28 grams, I get 7.9 calories per gram.

That is easily the worst score I’ve ever seen for a commercial product. A Snickers bar is 5 calories per gram and pure fat is 9 calories per gram. So, cut the fat off a steak, melt a little Snickers on it, fry it up and you have something close to the same score as these Kale Chips.

Color me disgusted. When I see products like this, I feel bad for people who are trying to be healthy and lose weight. In my opinion, this product is about as far from a plate of steamed kale you can get…and it’s made out of kale!! Sickening.

The Bottom Line: Be aware of the total calories (and the calories per gram) of what you are eating. The math is easy to do and you only need to do it once to get a better understanding of what you are putting in your body. What seems healthy might actually be the reason you aren’t losing or maintaining your weight as easily as you could be.

 

To get lessons sent to your phone, text the words FOLLOW NORUNMARK to 40404.

Author: Mark

5 Comments

Great article that provokes a lot of questions about what it means to eat “healthy”. These kale chips are what I would call ‘gourmet raw/vegan’ food. I would be interested in seeing the ingredient list to figure out what makes it have 5g of fat per serving and what makes up the ‘kool ranch’ flavor.

I am a big fan of raw, organic fruits and vegetables and a low fat diet for peak athletic performance but I do eat these types of products and even make them albeit healthier versions from time to time for travelling and competing in other countries/parts of US – energy bars are the most utilitarian and common item that comes to mind but bananas, honey, dates, raisins and coconut water are what I also survive on.

I also eat a little of what is called The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) every few days in times of inconvenience, is money is tight and it is free and when I crave it a little. But I always go back to juicing and lots of fruit pretty quickly because it gives me more energy- most likely because it is encourages alkaline conditions and oxygenated blood. But I think for me a balance of 80 % raw to 20 % cooked food is what I have been eating the last few years.

To get back to your post, I love kale and other greens for many reasons but a big one is they’re a great source of protein and vitamins. Kale has more protein than beef per ounce but if you want to eat a burger once in a while maybe it can be good for your body too if you choose a high-quality one (more on that later).

I will write a more thorough article about what I have been eating as a marathoner with decent times a few wins and lofty enough goals to make the little things (some like myself might even say big) important for getting to the highest levels of competition. And while I’m at it I’ll explain the basic ideas out there about what is the ideal weight to compete at for various distances and specifically relate it to my story as a former soccer player who is now a distance runner.

Bryan Huberty

2/14/2012

You can destroy anything by frying and salting it.

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