Salad Bar Dressing Portions, White vs Brown Chocolate, Why You’re Not Losing Weight with Exercise

Q: If I use one ladle of dressing from the salad bar, how much salad dressing is that?
Q: Is white chocolate a healthier choice than brown chocolate?
Q: I started exercising and began to lose weight but now the scale wont budge, even though I’m still exercising. What’s wrong?


Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: If I use one ladle of dressing from the salad bar, how much salad dressing is that?
Ladle sizes vary, so one ladle of dressing could be from two to six tablespoons. The four- tablespoon size (one-quarter cup) is probably most common. Four tablespoons equals two standard servings, as listed on a food label. That much regular (not reduced-fat) dressing probably contains 100 to 280 calories and 20 to 28 grams of fat. To get a better grasp on your salad dressing portion, lift the ladle out of the dressing and take a look at its size when empty. A ladle the size of a ping-pong ball or a short shot glass will give you two tablespoons. If it’s bigger than that, make sure you only fill the ladle part way before serving your dressing.

Q: Is white chocolate a healthier choice than brown chocolate?
A: No. White chocolate is just as high in calories as brown chocolate and each ounce contains about an extra 1.5 grams of cholesterol-raising saturated fat. Furthermore, white chocolate lacks the antioxidant phytochemicals found in brown chocolate, especially in dark chocolate. White chocolate does not contain caffeine, which may be important for people extremely sensitive to caffeine. (An ounce of milk chocolate has slightly more caffeine than a cup of decaffeinated coffee and dark chocolate has about the same as a cup of regular tea.) No matter what kind of chocolate you eat, remember it’s a concentrated source of calories, so enjoy a small amount and savor it.

Q: I started exercising and began to lose weight but now the scale wont budge, even though I’m still exercising. What’s wrong?
A: When you started exercising you burned more calories that you were eating, so your body met its additional needs by burning body fat and you lost weight. But at a lower weight, you burn fewer calories in all your daily activities. You may have stopped losing weight because you are now burning about as much as you are eating. To continue losing weight, you must once again burn more than you eat; to do so you can further increase your exercise or cut back a little more on what you eat. First, however, review all the diet and exercise changes you’ve made since you started losing weight and see how your current habits stack up. Sometimes new habits gradually slip a little – not enough to cause weight gain, but enough to keep you stuck on a plateau. There is also the possibility that your weight may settle at a level that is healthy but not as low as you’d like. Although excess weight is linked with increased risk of certain cancers and other health problems, there is a wide range of healthy weights. Your healthy weight may not match the super-thin look so popular in the fashion and entertainment worlds.

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research www.aicr.org

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