Heavy (High Calorie Density) Foods
We have all probably felt light or heavy depending on what we eat. A big Thanksgiving meal, for instance, will leave you heavy and tired. A heaping plate of cucumbers and carrots leaves you light and energetic (if not still a little hungry). So what’s that about?
Well, for one thing, obviously the quantity matters. If you eat too much you’ll feel heavy. But the other thing is that some foods truly are “heavier” than others and vice versa. What we call those in calorie terms are “high or low density foods”. In the most basic terms, if you want to gain weight, eat high-density foods. If you want to lose weight, eat low-density foods.
So, here is a list of the top 5 high density foods to avoid and part 2 will be the top 5 low density foods to enjoy.
Heavy Food List
1- Chocolate -While I LOVE chocolate, I also know that it is super highly dense. One ounce of Dove Dark Chocolate for instance is over 150 calories! In one ounce! Chocolate fudge, chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc are all heavy (but delicious!) foods. Chocolate is densely packed and made from sugar and cocoa butter. It’s also really easy to overeat on, so while it is a treat, I try to limit the amount I eat because it is so heavy. Those little brownie bites also have about 150 calories EACH!! Yikes! If you want the chocolate flavor without so many calories, shred a small amount of dark chocolate onto some chopped strawberries in a fruit salad. Dark chocolate satisfies the chocolate urge more than milk chocolate. People who like milk or white chocolate usually are into the sugar and fat, and are not really chocoholics. For true chocolate lovers another low-cal way to enjoy chocoate could be to experiment with cocoa powder (that is naturally sugar and fat free) recipes.
2- Cheese- Again, another delicious, highly dense food. One ounce or about 3 dice-sized pieces- of cheddar cheese has close to 120 calories. Similar to chocolate, eating cheese will make you gain weight because it doesn’t take many bites to pound down a lot of calories. A quesadilla or nachos are examples of food with far too much cheese. Instead, opt for parmesan or other very flavorful cheese on top of a salad for instance instead of the bland and high cal American, cheddar, and cream cheeses that are easy to overdo. Some mozzarellas, low-fat string cheeses, and low fat cottage cheeses are still somewhat dense but better choices in cheese.
3-Flour products - Tightly packed (and especially white) flour products have a lot of calories for the bite. These include bagels, pastas, some breads, cereals and flour tortillas. A 2 oz mini-bagel has 100 calories! If these flour products are made with sugar and fat such as muffins, cakes, sweet breads, etc they are even more highly dense. And if they are topped with cheese, cream cheese, butter, honey or anything else, they are even heavier! If they are fried (like a donut) then add it up even more. One small chocolate cake donut has about 260 calories! To enjoy flour products, try whole-wheat flour, especially high-fiber varieties, but still be careful to limit the quantity.
4- Sugary products - Anything that has sugar listed as the first or second ingredient has too much sugar in it and is a high density food. The names for sugar could be: sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, mollasses, honey, maple syrup, and anything with the ending -ose such as dextrose, sucrose, fructose, etc. This means pretty much any regular soda is a high density food. While you can get 12 oz for 150 calories, most of those ounces are water.
One ounce of sugar syrup is over 100 calories, so a soda has about 1.5 ounces of pure sugar! Anything made with sugar and one of the above products is guaranteed to be heavy and cause weight gain and health problems if consumed regularly. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories from added sugar (the kind found in fruit for example is not included in this). That means only about 6 teaspoons of sugar. Less than what is in one can of soda or about one bite-sized brownie. Instead, calm your sweet tooth with fruit as dessert. Its natural sweetness is mellowed by the fiber and water content of the fruit.
5- Fried Food -Really any food that is fried is going to be a dense food, but especially if it has any of the above ingredients in it as well. For instance, a donut is a fried flour product with added sugar and maybe chocolate too or a cream cheese filling!
Other fried foods include fried chicken, fried fish, French fries, fried cheese sticks, sopapillas, chimichangas, tempura, potato chips, apple fritters, turnovers, Monte Cristos and pretty much anything at a carnival (think funnel cakes!). Oil (no matter what kind, olive, peanut or canola) is super dense with about 240 calories per ounce!! That is the densest of them all.
All of these fried foods are deep-fat fried which means they are dunked into a vat of this high density liquid that permeates into the rest of the food. If you are looking for an easy way to gain lots of weight, just eat oil or fat based foods like these fried foods. Instead of frying food, try using spray Pam to keep food from sticking without adding much in terms of calories, or eat food that is broiled, steamed, oven-roasted, grilled, microwaved or even lightly sauteed instead.
So there is my list of the top heavy foods. Now that you know how to gain weight and become heavier (by eating these heavy foods), check out this light food list to become lighter!
So what’s the real truth about Gatorade? It’s all over the place. We’re supposed to drink it during our workouts, our runs, and even for hangovers. The world’s top athletes are endorsing it and even Tiger Woods has his very own line of Gatorade (okay, that doesn’t mean much anymore). It’s an amazing concoction of electrolytes that provides hydration and increased performance for all of our athletic pursuits. It makes us run faster, longer, jump higher, lift more weights, and recovery more quickly.
Or does it?
Is Gatorade really healthy for us? Is it the true miracle drink that it’s marketed as? Will it really make us perform better and longer than our non-Gatorade drinking competition?
Gatorade was invented at the sports laboratories at the University of Florida in 1965 and tested on the football team, the Florida Gators (hence the name Gatorade). The original concoction consisted of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice. The football coach and his players hailed Gatorade as a savior to their hydration problems during hot summer workouts and the long, intense football season.
But, like everything else, someone along the way discovered that Gatorade could be produced less expensively by using artificial sweeteners and corn syrups. Until this year, Gatorade’s top two ingredients were water and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the evil artificial sweetener that’s in everything these days from soda to bread. In 2010, Gatorade changed its formula from HFCS to a sucrose-dextrose mix. Same animal, different name.
So what exactly are we drinking when we pick up a bottle of the nectar? Let’s look at Gatorade’s ingredients in comparison to the ingredients of Coca Cola.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Turns out they’re strikingly similar, aren’t they? True, Gatorade no longer has HFCS, but what do you think those other syrups are? Yep, you guessed it. They’re just manufactured corn syrups with different names, all made in the same factories with the same cheap corn used in HFCS. And after reading the ingredient lists, does this still sound like something you want to suck down during a 10-mile run or an intense gym session? Gatorade and soda aren’t too dissimilar when you really look at it. Pump some carbonation into your bottle of Gatorade and it’s soda, isn’t it?
Gatorade does do one thing. It replaces electrolytes. But what is the big secret behind the ingredients that do this? To replace electrolytes you don’t need some tricky formula, man made chemicals, refined sugars or colors. All you need is simple real food sources that provide a few key minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium.
Here are 4 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally and give your body some serious nutrition at the same time. Remember to choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
1. Juice Celery + Apple + Lemon – This juice combination works wonders for replacement of electrolytes. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, cholride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit.
2. Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – THis is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might htink drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to threat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mis because it makes the body less acidic and provides an adiitional source of sodium bicarbonate.
3. Shake Raw Coconut Water + Chia Seeds – Raw coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and potassium that will not only help you stay hydrated but also keep your body from getting any cramps. It is completely natural and very low in sugar. Combine this with a packet of chia seeds and you have a 1-2 punch! Chia seeds are an incredible energy food – full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. These seeds have the ability to keep you from getting dehydrated because they can hold 9 times their weight in water! There are travel packs available that don’t need refrigeration either – perfect for just throwing in you gym bag or purse.
4. Blend Frozen Banana + Almond Milk + Kale – This smoothie is extremely hydrating. Tha banana provides a good source of potassium and magnesium which help regulate your fluid stores. Almonds are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium. When you make your almond milk, make sure you add sea salt (store bought almond milk arleady has salt added to it). Kale is a superfood and another excellent source of magnesium and calcium.
No go outside and sweat, so you can enjoy one of these delicious drinks!
Does anyone else find it ironic that McDonald’s and Coca Cola are sponsors of the Olympics? I find this so strange because the VAST majority of food sold at McDonald’s would never be fit for a professional athlete trying to be in the shape of their life.The food is highly processed, full of preservatives and fillers, very high in fat, salts and sugars and very limited in overall proportion of vegetables and fruit. It is the beacon for a fast food overweight nation. So I suppose in only that way do McDonald’s and Coca Cola “represent” the United States in the global arena. But certainly not as a symbol of fitness and athleticism!
And as for Coca Cola? Research has concluded that there is really no reason to drink soda. It is completely bereft of nutrition, unless you count sugar calories, coloring and caffeine as nutrition. According to the Weight of the Nation, it is the only singled-out food that has been directly correlated with the obesity epidemic! So, I find it quite strange and moronic for these companies to be officially related to this world event! These huge food companies operate very similarly to tobacco companies.
They want to be seen everywhere and be associated in our mind especially with the biggest cultural events. They want to seem “normal” and a part of our every day life so that we don’t question what they are doing -we don’t even really see them any more. They are everywhere! And like the tobacco companies, they will claim to make subtle changes in their formulations (like cigarettes did with “lights” and McDonald’s does with adding fattening salads and Coke did with Diet) in order to assure us that they are on our side.
But the truth of the matter is that their main purpose is to sell as much as possible, as cheaply as possible to as many people possible and as early in life as they can (to make them customers for as long as possible).
Vegetables don’t last long. They also don’t have big subsidies behind them that make them cheap (like commodity beef and corn products). They don’t have big advertising budgets. They take time to prepare. And they don’t stimulate people to overeat which means people wouldn’t overspend/supersize the way they do with the junk food and that means lower profits for them. So veggies and healthful food will never be sold or advertised the way a big cheeseburger, French fries and huge Coke would be.
Does this bother you in light of the fact that nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese? What do you think of fast food and junk foods being the official sponsors of the Olympics? Do you think these types of ads are predatory, especially to children? What do you think should be done, if anything?