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Healthy Eating Paradox

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Old 09-25-2008, 08:57 AM   #1
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Default Healthy Eating Paradox

Quick show of hands: how many people out there enjoy the "Jay-walking" segments on The Tonight Show? If you're not familiar with it, this is where Jay Leno hits the streets with a microphone and asks average people simple questions. For example, "In what year did the Battle of Beroia result in the disappearance of the Pechenegs as an independent force?" The poor interviewee invariably replies with something really stupid, like 1124, when everybody knows it was 1122.

All right, I'm kidding. Usually it's more along the lines of, "Who was the first president?" which typically fetches a response of, "Abraham Lincoln?" (Hey, could be worse. At least they picked an actual president.)

I imagine if Jay asked people, "Which fast food restaurant would be the better choice for a dieter, McDonald's or Subway?" most of his victims would reply, "Abraham Lincoln?" Okay ... most of them would definitely say "Subway" and ironically, they'd be just as wrong as those who picked Lincoln.

Wait a minute, Charlie ... did you say that right? Subway is the wrong answer for the dieter? You're crazy. Jarad lost eight thousand pounds at Subway. They have forty-seven sandwiches with forty-seven or fewer calories. They sell cookies, that when broken apart, actually have negative calories. I went to a Subway one day, ordered lunch, and actually left two pant sizes smaller. You can't mean that, Charlie.

Well, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research last October, people ate on average 131% more calories when they thought they were eating healthful alternatives. Ironically, this was on top of the fact that the "healthy" meal already had 50% more calories than the "unhealthy" meal. What does this mean? It means we're stupid, that's what.

My advice to everyone (including myself) is simple: use your head. Just because something is "healthy" doesn't mean it's free. Pigging out on healthy entrees in a restaurant is no different from eating an entire box of fat free cookies or chowing down a ginormous bucket of fried chicken just because it was cooked in oils containing zero grams of trans fats. Don't fall for it ... or you just might end up on Jay Leno one day.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:12 AM   #2
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:33 AM   #3
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Cracks me up!

But, sadly, true! I've heard this before... that people tend to eat more cookies if they're 'reduced fat' or 'lite' etc.

Now, I love Subway subs. I find grabbing a 6-inch Veggie with some FF Honey Mustard to be quite satisfying. (And I avoid the negative-calorie cookies... or I'd leave the store feeling hungry.)

It just means we have to remember to watch our portions, even if it's a "healthy" alternative to a burger with 300 grams of fat.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:42 AM   #4
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Whoa ... did you say 300 grams of fat?

Now that's a burger!
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
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I've heard this paradox too. It just proves that anyone watching what they eat really does have to watch what they eat. All the time. It's kinda sucky, but there's no leeway really. (And I found that out the hard way!)
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillsc View Post
Whoa ... did you say 300 grams of fat?

Now that's a burger!
And that doesn't include deep-frying it.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:20 AM   #7
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LoL That was great! I actually just got done reading mindless eating and it had a study for that as well. That the people eating mcdonalds were fairly close on guessing their calories. But at subway someone thinking they were eating a 300 cal sub is actually consuming 1000cals of meat cheese and mayo. Man... this is why i dont trust my self to guestimate calories
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:39 AM   #8
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I think this really illustrates the problem discussed in the fat tax thread. The idea of taxing "unhealthy foods." The problem is, in my opinion, that no food, in itself, even a frankenfood that's been so processed it barely resembles food anymore, is an unhealthy food - it's how you use your foods, not the food itself that makes it unhealthy.

Beets are generally considered healthy, but the all-beet diet wouldn't be. Sun Chips may be a slightly better choice than Doritos, but I'd count them both as junk foods, and yet either could be part of a low-calorie, healthy, balanced diet if eaten sparingly.

There probably isn't a wholesome food that, if eaten in excess, couldn't create an unblanaced and unhealthy diet. And there's also probably no (or very few) junk foods that, if eaten rarely, couldn't be included in a healthy, balanced diet.

I don't think it would be wrong to say Subway is a healthier alternative to many other fast food - as long as you're an informed consumer. Just because "most people," eat more there, doesn't mean the food is going to march down your throat against your will.

No matter where we we go, I don't guess on the calories (or exchanges, which I'm using), I use the nutritional information I've found online (I print them out, and carry them in the car in a folder).

I find that at Subway I have more options. Usually I pick a salad or a sandwhich on whole wheat, and have them scoop away most of the bread (or do it myself), and only eat half of what's left (so I eat about 1/4 of the bread or less). Whether it's a salad or a sandwhich, I load it up with almost every veggie option (except olives, blegh).

I'm not really fond of fast food in general, but hubby is a fast food addict. He's managing to lose weight and eat better, but he still wants fast food at least a couple times a month. I'll either make something for myself at home, or I'll go online for the fast food chain he's interested in, and see if there's a reasonable option for me. There usually is, but except for Subway and Taco Bell, there's rarely more than a couple "not terrible" choices.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faerie View Post
And that doesn't include deep-frying it.
Uh, that's 2820 calories without the rest of the burger or they frying. What burger is that?
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Uh, that's 2820 calories without the rest of the burger or they frying. What burger is that?
I was being facetious.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:37 PM   #11
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I don't think of any fast food restaurant as being "healthy". I do like Subway because you can customize your subs, but I rarely eat there and I definitely don't eat chips or cookies when I eat there.

Honestly, I don't view most restaurants as healthy, even if they serve foods that are considered healthy. The vast majority of restaurants put butter on grilled steaks and steamed veggies. There's a lot of hidden fat out there! Plus, portion sizes are far too large.

It just goes to show that you need to do your research and really think before eating.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:18 PM   #12
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I agree with the study. You can eat healthy, say, make the choice to eat a 100 calorie snack pack instead of an entire box of oreos, but if you eat the entire box of 100 calorie snack packs you might as well have had the real cookies. Anything in excess is excessive...people, I have found my new bumpersticker slogan.
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