I have found that if I check different sources like calorie counter books, online calorie counters and then the actual label on the food item that I am going to eat; invariably they will all differ! It is frustrating so what I decided to do was use a combination of standard measuring cups, spoons and a calculator!
What I now do is take down the nutrtional label’s information (I count all of the macronutrients on my plan) and I use that. However, this is where the calculator comes in handy. For example, I have a favorite brand of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I buy. On the label it routinely says that there are 12 servings but usually there are 8 chicken breasts in there! So, if I were to ignore that piece of information I would actually wrongly think I was having one portion when I might be having 1.5 portions.
Hey, calories do count, especially as you are moving down the scale and you are eating less and less. When you are first starting out, you can “absorb” this inaccuracy but as you get closer to your goal weight it could be the reason why you aren’t seeing the weight lose results that you would like and all along you are thinking “Well, I measured this before and it said….”. See what I mean? Through no fault of your own you might actually be eating more calories than you think and have a false sense of accuracy. Thanks to the mislabeling that exists.
This is the main reason that I don’t go by how many servings they think it will serve. I have seen it wrong more than right. So, in the case of the chicken breasts example above, what I do is I take the average portion calories x the total amount of stated servings to find the total calorie for the whole package: 110 x 12=1320 calories total then I divide the 1320 calories by 8 pieces (that are actually in the package) which would be 1320/8=165 calories! See, there is a 55 calorie difference. If you do this often enough you could be eating several hundred calories more a week and not even realize it.
I still feel calorie counting is the best way to not only find out how many calories you eat but also it has an added benefit: it indirectly teaches you portion control which for me is a real big deal. It also helps me decide whether I want to continue to add that particular food item in my food plan.
I started counting sodium milligrams last summer and that was so eye opening to me that now that is something else I really eyeball when I am buying a food item in the grocery store. There are a lot of food items that I put back after I read the label!
And, we thought we were safe if we “just” counted carbs and/or fats! As if!
Everything on the nutritional label has to be factored in if you want to lose weight in a healthy way.