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Sunday, October 21, 2012

What are the new “Mid-Calorie” foods?

What are “mid-calorie” foods and are they of any health benefit?   Should we even bother to pay extra for cookies and other goodies in calorie reduced packages? 
Many of us have tried reduced calorie, low calorie foods that have few calories but also little taste.  Some manufacturers are trying to lower calories but not lower taste.   These new products are termed “mid-calories” as they are not necessarily low calorie but less calories than the full fat, full sugar version. 

Ice Cream – who doesn’t like ice cream?  Dreyer’s is rolling out ice cream with less fat and thus less calories.   This “slow churned” brand has half the fat and 1/3 the calories of their regular ice cream.  Yes, some fat but less calories and more taste than fat free ice cream.  On the other hand, having a package of cookies around might mean we eat the whole package.  

                                                                    Dryer’s Ice Cream

Serving size
Calories from fat
Slow Churned Chocolate Chip
½ cup
Regular Chocolate Chip
½ cup

Slow Churned does cut some fat from a serving and about 30 calories.  But since most of us eat more than ½ cup ice cream at a time, the calorie and fat savings would be even more.  For a one cup serving of Slow Churned ice cream, calories would be reduced  by 60 calories and fat calories reduced by 60 calories.  
Lay’s snacks have already made great strides in offering healthier choices.  A number  of their chips are whole grain like Doritos and SunChips.  They have long offered baked potato chips which greatly reduces the fat calories.  A one ounce package of Baked Chips has 120 calories but only 20 calories from fat.   Lays Classic Potato Chips have 160 calories per one ounce serving and 90 calories from fat.  The fat content is thus high, over 50%.  So choosing baked chips lessen calories some, but lessens fat calories a lot.
Or instead of “mid-calorie” foods, you can choose the 100 calorie packages.  For example, Oreos offers cookies in 100 calorie packages. So you can enjoy your dessert and know exactly how many calories you are eating.
Is the “mid-calorie” craze and the 100 calorie offerings helpful?  Some nutritionists say yes.  Why?  Anytime we can reduce the calories we take in each day, we lessen our chances of obesity.  David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University states, “Reducing a nominal number of calories in your diet each day – even from that morning coffee run or afternoon visit to the vending machine for chips – is an effective way to battle obesity.”  "Want some taste with that ice cream?"  He goes on to say, obesity can be caused by just an extra 20 calories extra a day.  

So cutting out a few calories here and a few calories there is a healthy thing to do. 

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