I’m exploring new possibilities for weight loss and exercise that I’m able to maintain with what is going on with my health. I’ve been doing South Beach’s Phase 1 for too long, considering how important I feel fruits, vegetables and high grains are to a healthy diet. I still believe in a low glycemic-index eating and continue to avoid white flour, white rice, and white potatoes. I am allowing myself any fruit and vegetable my little heart desires, and after excluding most fruits from my diet for a long time, I find fresh pineapple, apples and grapes to be absolutely heavenly. I am not drinking fruit juices, or eating dried fruits as they are too high in sugar for my goals. I’d generally call what I’m doing South Beach Phase 3, which is the maintenance phase.
While on this path, as well as banishing high fructose corn syrup from my diet, I’ve been looking at a lot of food labels. I’ve also been checking out nutritional information from restaurants since that is where my real problem lies. At this point, I have my “at home” food under control because I don’t buy what I shouldn’t eat. Navigating a menu at a restaurant is treacherous because, except in rare cases, you cannot find calories/fat/sugar information once you’re in the restaurant.
This leads to my newest obsession, which is the nutrition lists prepared by David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding. They both write for Men’s Life magazine, and Matt is also the co-author of the book “Eat This, Not That” which is why you will find an alternative to the unhealthy item listed. The main link will take you to some very interesting links, and I think the first thing I’ve learned is to never go to a restaurant without a pick list of what is not ridiculously high in calories and sugar. When the Cheesecake Factory lists no fewer than ten single-portion menu items over 2,000 calories. Several more came were only slightly below 2,000. And yes, you can split it and take half home, but that is still over 1,000 calories in one sitting and not an insignificant number. They don’t list their nutritional information on their site, but I was able to find it elsewhere, but I have no idea if it matches their current offerings.
The main site also will show you just how unhealthy some of the foods in our pantries are, such as the “Unhealthiest Juices in America” and “Best and Worst Breakfast Cereals“. Due to the latter, I actually threw a box away straight from my pantry and I’m no dummy when it comes to nutritional information.
The lists don’t require a huge time investment, and are broken out into short bursts of information. As I’ve said many times recently, I’m absolutely shocked at the high level of unhealthy food that has become the standard rather than the indulgence. I’m wondering when corporate America will realize that killing off their customers with fat, sodium and sugar laden foods is detrimental to their bottom line. If they truly wanted to prove the “it’s the customers choice”, then why not put the nutritional information on the menu? Ruby Tuesday’s did it for awhile, but if memory serves this information has been stripped out. Applebee’s provides it for some of their dishes, but I don’t believe for the entire menu.
Yes, it is absolutely the responsibility of the diner for what they put in their mouth and the mouths of their children. That is why I research so much, and try to learn from my mistakes. As someone with heart disease and diabetes on one side of the family, and multi-generational breast cancer on the other, these issues are in my face and cannot be ignored. I worry about those that aren’t faced with these ticking time bombs and may think “Just this one indulgence”, which may be more of a recurring habit on closer inspection.
If it sounds as if this fat girl is trying to preach skinny dining on you, please know that I get the irony. I’m just trying to share the information I’ve found in the hopes of saving you extra time on the treadmill.
Please feel free to comment, as I’m interested in others’ experiences and thoughts.
4 replies on “Nutritional Information”
You are more than right and, forgive me the rhyme, are fighting the good fight. Good news: our new healthcare bill just passed requires that all chain restaurants that are more than like 40 (I think) outlets post nutritional info on their menus. Hallelujah! It is absolutely frightening what the calorie, fat, sugar and sodium count on many restaurant foods are.
Weight loss and a healthy diet is more than just looking good in your swim suit or jeans, it’s about living a longer, disease-free life. High blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and heart disease kill, but also lead to distressing disabilities, even among children now. So many of these conditions and diseases are directly attributable to a very unhealthy diet that has become the American way of life.
As a parent, I am truly concerned with many nasty unhealthy things that are commonly fed to kids: Lunchables, flavored milk (sugar and calorie content as high as sugar), “fruit” snacks, juice boxes (sugar content as high as soda also), sugar bomb cereal, chicken nuggets, extra sugar-laden yogurt, fast-food kids meals. All of these things are advertised unceasingly on kids TV.
I have ways of fighting the good fight when going out; so if you have questions, just ask. But in terms of diet, one of the healthiest ones I’ve seen is Weight Watchers, which promotes eating lots of green vegetables. When I used to work as a science reporter, I once heard an expect at the National Cancer Institute say if we followed NCI’s Five-A-Day guidelines of five fruit or veg servings per day, we would all lose weight because that’s quite a lot of fruit and vegs!
Anyway, kudos to you.
Lisa, I agree whole-heartedly with your observations and am horrified that the same foods that are most affordable for struggling Americans families are usually the least nutritional available.
Thank for the offer of help. I’d love to hear what you have to say about eating out healthily. Also, I’m a big believer in fruits and veggies and am thrilled to have a bigger variety in my daily diet. ^_^
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
“Yes, it is absolutely the responsibility of the diner for what they put in their mouth and the mouths of their children. That is why I research so much, and try to learn from my mistakes. As someone with heart disease and diabetes on one side of the family, and multi-generational breast cancer on the other, these issues are in my face and cannot be ignored. I worry about those that aren’t faced with these ticking time bombs and may think “Just this one indulgence”, which may be more of a recurring habit on closer inspection.”
This is incredibly on target. The food industry with our “permission” has taken over. People have no idea what they are eating, especially in restaurants and fast food joints. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America. I have people close to me who already have heart disease and say “oh, a little bit of this or that won’t hurt me.” First the bad food creates the disease, then the doctors hand out the statins to “fix” it (and it doesn’t really fix it) and some people feel they can keep eating the wrong food if they have that pill. I find myself at parties and get togethers at restaurants where I feel so tempted, and I know it’s not good for me (high fat food, high sodium, processed food, white flours, sugar). I “fall off the wagon,” and I don’t like it. I can control things much better in my own home when it comes to avoiding killer food. Heart disease and diabetes run in my family and they are epidemic in the developed world and creeping up elsewhere too. Lots of fresh fruit, veges, and avoiding eating out helps a lot! Trying to help educate people about the food industry and how it works and what is in the food also helps. Would recommend The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler to learn how the food industry works to try to keep people eating the bad stuff. But it’s true, WE have to take reasponsibility for what we eat and not just blame the food industry.
Many thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely check it out! I have to keep all these things in mind as I head in to a weekend full of temptations, and hope that I spoil my body by choosing correctly.
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my post and comment on it. I’m hopeful that people are finally seeing the damage done by fast food and convenience dining and that the tide will turn to the benefit of American families.