Every time that we begin the next round of struggle against excess weight, we arm ourselves with a certain minimum of theoretical knowledge that gives us the freedom to act solely for the benefit of our beauty and health. One of such knowledge and skills is the calculation of the caloric value of our menu. Just like in everything, however, you do not need to approach the desire to reduce calories with fanaticism and begin consuming just low-calorie products.
The caloric content of foods is the amount of energy that is released in our body from foods during the digestion. The main components of food – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – release a different amount of energy during digestion. The amount of this energy is the calorie content of a given product.
Each component provides a different number of calories, and the exact figures may vary depending on the type of product. Average indicators were taken to ease the calculation.
And now, every person who has ever wondered about the caloric value of foods, knows that:
- fats provide 9.3 kcal/g,
- proteins provide 4.1 kcal/g,
- carbohydrates provide 4.1 kcal/g.
But, in addition to this inseparable gang, the products can contain:
- carboxylic acids, e.g. citric acid (2.2 kcal/g),
- polyhydric alcohols – glycerin, sweeteners (2.4 kcal/g),
- alcohol (7.1 kcal/g).
And this is the point where many of us fall into a trap. With the desire to reduce the consumption of excess calories, we buy products with a low fat content, believing that the lack of the major calorie supplier solves all problems. However, this is not always reasonable.
And do not forget that the caloric content is traditionally indicated for 100 g of product. What is 100 g of yogurt? Half a cup…
The advertising slogan “Eat and Get Thin!” does not work here! Moreover, the desire to completely eliminate fats in any of their manifestations can adversely affect your health, because your body does need fats. Even those dangerous saturated fats, not to mention vegetable ones. It’s all about the norm.
Truly low-calorie foods are vegetables and fruits. They are rich in fiber, which is the harsh fibrous part of plants, a complex form of carbohydrates, which our body is incapable to digest.
Vegetables and fruits should preferably be eaten raw (if possible), because this allows you to get all the vitamins in their intact form, and besides, the enzymes of plant food will aid your digestion.
Raw fruits and vegetables are also useful from the mechanical point of view. In our refined epoch, chewing function is almost non-demanded, because all produced foods are as gentle, soft, peeled and ground as possible. All you need to do is to swallow them. Chewing solid foods:
- clears teeth from plaque,
- stimulates salivation,
- activates the production of gastric juice.
Still, no matter how good the fresh fruits and vegetables are, they can not fully provide our body with all the substances that we need. In addition to fruits and vegetables, human beings need:
It is not difficult to develop a balanced diet. The main thing is to remember the compatibility of products and to calculate the calorie content, at least approximately. Women need 1500 calories per day, and men need 2200 calories per day. These values may vary depending on the physical activity, age and health status of each individual person.
All low-calorie foods can be divided into several groups.
1. WATER (LIQUID)
It is not only the most low-calorie product (water contains no calories at all), but also a universal solvent. The role of water in our body is enormous, but many people forget about this fact for some reason. Water:
- facilitates the delivery of oxygen to cells,
- transports nutrients,
- ensures the saturation of cells with liquid,
- prevents cells clumping,
- removes toxins and waste from the body,
- improves cellular communication,
- maintains electrical properties of cells,
- accelerates the regeneration processes in the body.
The rules for drinking water are simple. Drink 30 ml of water daily for each kilogram of weight. That is, if your weight is 75 kg, you should drink at least 2.25 liters of water a day. Many people think that you need to drink only when you feel thirsty. This is a fundamentally erroneous judgment.
The appearance of thirst means that dehydration has reached a considerable extent. Start your day with a glass of hot water. During the day, drink a glass of water every hour, even if you do not feel thirsty. The list of low-calorie beverages also includes correctly brewed green tea and, oddly enough, cocoa.
Only cocoa should be made with water, and not with milk, and, of course, without sugar. Not so tasty, but much more good. The calorie content of cocoa is 380 kcal/100 g, but you do not brew a whole pack at once.
The caloric content of different types of greens ranges from 0 to 50 kcal. In addition to being low in calories, greens are also good because they contain a large number of phytonutrients, microelements and vitamins, already makes greens among the most desired products on our table.
All useful qualities of greens are revealed when you use it in fresh form. Therefore, try to put as much greens in salads, as you can, sprinkle first and second dishes with it, try using greens with a mildly expressed aroma in vitamin cocktails with fermented milk or fruit. The caloric value of some popular greens goes as follows (per 100 g):
- celery greens have zero calories,
- celery root is 32 kcal,
- salad is 10 kcal,
- sorrel and green onion – 19 kcal,
- asparagus – 21 kcal,
- spinach – 22 kcal,
- parsley greens – 49 kcal,
- parsley root – 53 kcal
*As you can see, even if you try very hard, it will be difficult to overdo with calories when it comes to greens.
In addition to low caloric content, vegetables have one important advantage over other products, which lies in the fact that they contain
VITAMINS, MICROELEMENTS, FIBER
PROTEINS AND CARBOHYDRATES
This means that you can consume vegetables practically without restrictions. This is good news for those who constantly fail to give up large portions. You do not need to get on a vegetable diet. It is enough to prepare a large portion of salad and eat before the main dish.
Thus, you will kill two birds with one stone:
- saturate your body with useful substances,
- reduce the volume of the main meal, which is high in calories.
The caloric content of vegetables varies from 11 to 80 kcal per 100 g. The most low-calorie vegetables are cucumbers – their caloric content is 11 to 14 kcal per 100 g. Further in an increasing order:
- Chinesecabbage (16 kcal),
- radish (21 kcal),
- tomatoes (23 kcal),
- pumpkin (25 kcal),
- bell pepper (26-27 kcal),
- white cabbage (27 kcal),
- cauliflower and broccoli (30 kcal),
- carrots (34 kcal).
The potato finishes the list – its caloric content is 80 kcal per 100 g, so slimming people should consume less potatoes. While the calorie content of boiled potatoes is almost the same as of raw potatoes, fried version contains twice as more calories.
They differ from vegetables through a smaller amount of fiber and a higher amount of carbohydrates. Some fruits, such as avocados or guavas, can boast of with the content of useful vegetable fats. Fruits are best served before lunch, so that fast carbohydrates found in them are expended as intended, instead of settling into the fatty deposits as a strategic reserve.
Nutritionists advise to consume fruit as the first breakfast in their natural form or, if it seems boring, in the form of salads or smoothies. Cheery plum is the most low-calorie fruit (only 27 kcal).
A little more calories is found in apricots, quince, pineapple, oranges, pomegranate, grapefruit, pear, guava, melon, figs, kiwi, lemon, mango, tangerine, peaches, persimmon and apples. The calorie content of these fruits varies from 30 to 60 kcal per 100 grams of product, depending on the variety, ripeness and other features.
Bananas, sometimes recommended by some authors as a light snack, contain 90 calories, which is not that low. If you also bear in mind that these fruits provide a pronounced constipating effect, banana automatically becomes a rare treat.
Avocado with its calorie content of 169 kcal, on the contrary, should appear in your plates quite often. The fact is that avocado contains monounsaturated fats in large quantities, as well as almost all known vitamins. If you use avocado as a dressing for a salad or as a sauce, then its high calorie content will not harm you at all.
The caloric content of berries directly depends on the amount of carbohydrates, Thus, the more acid a berry is, the fewer calories it contains. Just like fruits, berries contain a lot of vitamins, and those of dark colors – also contain special phytonutrients:
However, this refers to vegetables and fruits, as well. The darker and more saturated the color of the plant, the higher the concentration of nutrients in it. Berries with the lowest calorie content are cranberries (only 26 kcal), and grapes are the highest in calories (65 kcal).
As you can see, you have plenty of room for culinary fantasies. Berries, just like fruits, should be consumed before lunch, and better in their fresh form.
Cereals and floury foods traditionally do not belong to the list of low-calorie products. At first glance, this is correct, because the caloric content of, say, the same buckwheat reaches 310 kcal per 100 g. Yet these figures refer to dry cereals. When they are cooked, the caloric content of the finished product lowers by about three times.
In addition, cereals are a concentrate of so-called slow carbohydrates, a real slow fuel for our body. That’s why cereals are best used for lunch, so that slowly digesting carbohydrates feed the body during the evening and night.
To ease the process of calories calculation of your dinner serving, we will quote the caloric value of the cooked cereals (per 100g):
viscous wheat porridge cooked with water
fluffy wheat porridge
viscous rice porridge cooked with water
viscous barley porridge cooked with water
fluffy barley porridge
viscous oatmeal cooked with water
Bakery products are quite high in calories, but the lower the grade of flour that is used to make them, the lower the calorie content and the higher the nutritional value.
Just like cereals, these are also quite high in calories, but this does not mean that you need to stop consuming them for good. After all, they are rich in vegetable protein, which can adequately replace proteins of animal origin. How to calculate the calorie content of the finished product? It’s simple
- the degree to which the product increases in volume is equal to the lessening of its caloric value compared to dry cereals or legumes.
For example, the calorie content of cooked peas is approximately 150 kcal per 100 g, chickpea 150-160 kcal, beans – 123 kcal, lentils – 110 kcal. The figures are quite acceptable!
Our body does need animal proteins, and low-calorie fish and seafood can cope with their supply to our body. Caloric content of these products depends on fat content. Therefore, when choosing a fish for dinner, do not look at the mackerel that is literally oozing with fat – it has as much as 258 kcal per 100 g. Instead, pay attention to the dry-ish hake or pollock.
Low-fat fish varieties, steamed or baked with spices in foil can become a true delicacy. The caloric value of fish and seafood goes as follows (per 100g):
cod is 78 calories, pollock (79 kcal), blue whiting (81 kcal), hake (95 kcal), tuna (96 kcal), pike and pike perch (97 kcal), flounder and crucian (103 kcal), sea bass (112 kcal), catfish (114 kcal), mackerel and bream (124 kcal), carp (125 kcal), keta (129 kcal), pink salmon (147 kcal), herring (153 kcal)
- krill, shrimp, crab – about 95 kcal,
- squid – 110 kcal,
- mussels – only 50 kcal
We should separately mention seaweed (sea cabbage), the calorie content of which is just 5 kcal per 100 g, so you can have as much of it as you wish!
Caloric content of milk and fermented milk products also depends on fat content, yet the difference between fatty and low-fat varieties is not that high. For example,
- skim milk contains 31 kcal,
- 5% fat milk – 44 kcal,
- 5% fat milk – 52 kcal,
- 2% fat milk – 58 kcal.
At the same time, nutritionists do not advise to constantly consume skim milk and sour-milk products, because this deprives our body of useful fats. If the difference of 15 calories is crucial for you, buy milk with reduced or medium fat content.
You also can consume low-fat cottage cheese without fearing for your body, since it only contains 88 kcal (9%-fat cottage cheese already contains 160 kcal). Alas, we will have to forget about cheese while on a low-calorie diet…
Meat products with the lowest caloric value are:
- kidneys (88-98 kcal),
- liver (105-109 kcal),
- heart (96-101 kcal).
These figures refer to the by-products of pork and beef, while the chicken byproducts are higher in calories by about half. Otherwise, when choosing meat for the first or second course, be guided by the presence of fat. Pork, even the most lean cut, can not be considered a low-calorie product.