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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Why counting calories doesn’t add up

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We all know that eating fewer calories helps us decrease. But most of us don’t realize that how our bodies use that energy really matters, as Jo Macfarlane finds out

“Consume fewer calories, we are told, and we will lose weight. While this remains true, the problem is that it isn’t the full story. The mistake is that not all calories are created equal. ‘

A two-finger KitKat on one side. A small handful of nuts in the other. Both contain around 100 calories. Which would you choose if you were trying to lose weight? Does it even matter? That’s the tricky question at the heart of the whole concept of calories – those numerical measures of energy that appear on the nutritional labels of everything from canned soup to loaves of bread. Calorie claims are a legal requirement for packaged foods and beverages designed to help us make healthier eating choices and meet our recommended daily limits – currently 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

Starting this April, many cafes, restaurants and takeaways will be forced to display calorie information on every food and drink they sell thanks to the government’s obesity strategy. It makes sense on the surface. Many of our most devastating diseases are related to poor diet, and the bottom line is that we overeat. There is evidence that showing the calorie content can help us think better about what and how much we are eating.

Eat fewer calories, we are told, and we will lose weight. While this remains true, the problem is that it isn’t the full story. The mistake is that not all calories are created equal. But with so many diets out there – from the popular weight loss app Noom, which uses a traffic light system to organize foods by calorie content, to the intermittent fasting trend that tells us when we eat is just as important like what we eat – it’s no wonder we’re confused or that around 95 percent of diets fail.

What does basic research tell us? And can we really trust the calorie counts on the packaging? The answer to the latter is a resounding no, according to one of the country’s leading experts in the field. Dr. Giles Yeo, an obesity specialist at the University of Cambridge’s Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, says calorie counts are useful but not the full story. If we just look at the calorie content, we are ignoring not only the source of those calories, but the way the body metabolizes and digests the food we eat.

The important question, explains Dr. Yeo, is not “how many calories is in that?” But “how many calories can my body use from it?” Most people have no idea that the number of calories you see everywhere is wrong, ”he says. “Nobody lies or makes up numbers. But we don’t eat calories – we eat food that our bodies get calories from. The process of digestion and metabolism itself consumes energy and calories, which vary based on food intake. So it is the number that is left of the grand total that you see on the package that matters most. ‘

Vegan burgers and oat milk are far less healthy than we think.

This is the true calorific value of a food – a concept called “caloric availability” – and you won’t see that on any food label. It’s not impossible to add, says Dr. Yeo, because we already know the calorie availability of each of the main components of our diet – protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Once you understand the concept, you can see that where our calories come from is really important.

A protein calorie, for example from meat, fish, eggs, beans or tofu, will fill you up more than a calorie calorie is fat or carbohydrate because of the way they are digested in the body. Protein continues to travel through the intestines before being digested and absorbed. This triggers the release of gut hormones, which send signals to the brain telling us we are full. Protein is also more chemically complex than fat or carbohydrates, so more energy is required to metabolize it. So if we consume 100 calories of protein, scientists know that our bodies use around 30 calories to process and 70 are available for other uses. This is in part why high protein diets – like the Atkins or Keto plans – help us lose weight. And that’s why a handful of nuts trumps a KitKat every time we want to lose weight and stay healthy.

The same amount of fat, on the other hand, will leave us 98 calories after digestion, while the carbohydrates will vary between 90 and 95, depending on whether they’re refined like white bread and pasta or complex and whole grains. The fiber content of a food also plays a major role. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate and works to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Dr. Yeo says, “It’s mostly protein and fiber that make our bodies work harder. The side effect of these foods is that you consume fewer calories, which is great if you want to lose weight. And when your body is working harder to digest something, it is a good sign that you are eating good quality food. It’s better for you and contains more nutrients. ‘

What makes things even more complicated is that each of us has our own metabolism, which can also affect how quickly or slowly we process calories. Registered nutritionist Clare Thornton-Wood, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: “The calorie labels on the packaging are just a guide, because the number of calories we use depends on our height, age, muscle mass and lifestyle. I could burn 500 fewer calories in a day just sitting at my computer and not moving. We should consider these things – as well as what we eat. It is absolutely true that not all calories are created equal. ‘

Dr. Yeo explains that the big problem in modern life is that we are “ingesting too much food that our body doesn’t have to work hard to extract the calories from.” He speaks of ultra-processed foods that have gone through a mechanical or technical process.

Around 50 to 60 percent of all the calories we consume in the UK come from such foods. And it could be catastrophic to our health. These foods – most commonly products like pizza, sausages, bacon, reconstituted meat, and ready-made meals – have higher salt, sugar, and fat content to make them taste good. And because they’re less fiber and protein, the evidence shows we are consuming more to make up for it.

One study followed 20 healthy adults for two weeks and allowed them to eat as much or as little as they wanted. Half were on an ultra-processed diet while the other half were on a whole foods diet. Both diets had roughly the same number of calories per serving. But those on the processed diet ate about 500 more calories a day and gained an average of two pounds.

There is also ample evidence that more people are obese in countries where highly processed foods make up a greater proportion of the diet. Even options that we believe are “healthier” fall under the ultra-processed category. “Vegan burgers and oat milk are marketed as healthy, but by definition they are processed within an inch of their life,” adds Dr. Yeo added. “If you think you can get as many nutrients from them as you get from real food, you are wrong. Often times these products simply have better PR. ‘

Most experts agree that the way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie consumption. But instead of chasing after restrictive strategies that only work short-term because they can’t be sustained – such as cutting out carbohydrates or fat or just eating meat – the key to eating as many “real” foods as possible is naturally one have lower calorie availability and higher nutrient content. These are whole grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean meat, fish or proteins such as nuts and tofu.

“If we can get the government and industry to show calorie availability instead of calorie content,” says Dr. Yeo, “this means people can make an informed decision – which could make a world of difference.”

Dr. Giles Yeo’s book Why Calories Don’t Count: How We Got The Science of Weight Loss Wrong is published by Orion at a price of £ 14.99. To Order a copy by September 12th for £ 12.74 at mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £ 20.

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Expert’s nutrition tips for runners

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Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels

With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.

Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.

Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:

1. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.

For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.

Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.

2. Protein
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.

Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.

3.Fat
Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.

Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.

4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.

5.Water
The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.

Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).

Nutrition and running style

Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.

If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.

If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.

Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!

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Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.

Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!

This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!

Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:

Vegan Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.

Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing

Vegan Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.

Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism

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Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Myths about veganism

Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.

1. Milk has a lot of calcium

Credit: iStock

There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.

2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.

3. Vegans have B12 deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.

4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive

food item
Credit: iStock

The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.

5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.

6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer

  7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.

Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.

7. Veganism is a cult

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.

Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram

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