In our medical weight loss clinic, we issue protein and carb numbers. The protein number is the amount of protein one needs to maintain their muscle mass to keep the metabolism cranking, and the carb number is the most carbs one can eat per meal without storing the extra energy as fat. As much as we talk about carb and protein numbers, calories are still important. You can definitely eat too many calories and not lose weight. If someone sticks to their carb and protein numbers and eats reasonably, they don’t need to think about the calories because it will all work out. There’s one exception — ridiculous calories.
What are ridiculous calories? They are the things that can bring lots of calories in small packages. The big three are nuts, salad dressing, and peanut butter.
For example, a cup of peanuts is 800 cal, and a cup of almonds is 600 cal. Nuts are undoubtedly great for you, but it’s effortless to eat a cup if you are randomly grabbing nuts from a jar or can. Before you know it you have eaten 800 cal in one sitting. Our suggestion is to buy nuts in hundred calorie packs so at least you know how many you are eating.
Salad dressing can also bring calories very quickly. Many salad dressings are 100 cal per tablespoon, so if you pour salad dressing without measuring you may be consuming 400 to 500 cal of salad dressing. People often say “I just use oil and vinegar,” well, olive oil is 100 cal per tablespoon and is easy to overuse. We suggest that you use light dressings and pour your dressing onto a spoon first then into the salad. As well dressings like ranch and blue cheese which get most of their taste from fat tend not to be the tastiest light dressings unless they are expensive. Salad dressing that gets its taste from tangy flavors, like Asian flavors, vinegar, or citric fruits, tend to taste better as light dressing.
The most ridiculous of them all is peanut butter. People often think peanut butter is a great snack to curb hunger. It can be, but you have to be very careful because peanut butter is 200 cal per tablespoon. However at tablespoon is how much water fits in a spoon, so if you have a big heaping spoon of peanut butter, you could quickly get 400 to 600 cal per spoonful. Our suggestion is to use peanut butter sparingly, and if you like it in shakes, you can buy peanut butter powder.
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