Study: Don’t be swayed by independent restaurants when trying to cut calories

(CNN)Many chain restaurants and fast-food joints now post calorie information on their menus, even before they will be required to by federal law at the end of 2016, making it obvious how calorie-laden their meals can be.

Non-chain restaurants are often seen as the healthier choice, even though — or perhaps because — the number of calories in their meals is a mystery. But a new study finds that these meals are generally just as calorie-rich as similar meals at chain restaurants.
Researchers determined the calorie content of the most popular dinners at independent eateries around Boston, San Francisco and Little Rock, Arkansas. In each area, they included about a dozen restaurants across a range of cuisines, from American burger joints to Italian trattorias and Greek cafes.

The researchers determined the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant had about 1,200 calories, which they found was similar to comparable dinners at chain restaurants and around half of the daily energy requirement for adults. Women are recommended to consume about 2,000 calories a day to maintain their weight, whereas men can reach about 2,500 calories a day.




For her part, Roberts thinks that advising people not to eat out so much is like “telling the tide not to rise.” “People like eating out, and it’s likely to become even more frequent. We need ways to help people deal with it better,” she said.

One of the easy things that consumers can do is ask for cheese and dressing on the side when they order. “You can just sprinkle a little on. A lot of the calories come from these high-calorie add-ons,” Roberts said.

It is also possible to curb how much you eat and get a doggie bag for leftovers, but many of us do not have this kind of willpower.

“The easiest solution is if you say up front (to the server), ‘I’d like to take a half-portion and you can give me the other portion to take home,’ but it’s kind of embarrassing unless you know the people you eat out with well,” she said.

Should non-chain restaurants post calorie information?

Although it may help consumers to get calorie information at independent restaurants just like at chain restaurants, “I don’t think simply disclosing (this information) is going to have a huge effect,” Roberts said. Although it could steer some toward lower-calorie options, people with less money may order the largest number of calories they can afford, she said.
In addition, “providing the caloric content information might affect restaurant behavior rather than consumer behavior,” such as spurring restaurants to make their meals healthier or make their portions smaller, Jarlenski said.

Roberts says the impact of restaurants offering smaller portions — such as half- or third-portions, for half or a third of the price — should be explored. “Restaurants will say, ‘We can’t possibly do that,’ but if everyone were required (by law) to do that, the playing field (would be) level,” she said. “I would eat out every night of the week if I could do that.”
Although Roberts doubts the calorie load at non-chain restaurants in other parts of the United States would be much better, it is hard to say how eateries in other cities and in rural areas would stack up.

The three cities in the study — Boston, San Francisco and Little Rock — differ in their demographics and their obesity rates.

“I would have thought that San Francisco (restaurants) would be better than Boston and Little Rock … because San Francisco is one of the lowest-BMI cities,” Jarlenski said.
That just goes to show that many other factors, in addition to calories in restaurant food, contribute to obesity rates, such as how often people go out to eat and how much exercise they get, she added.

What elite athletes can teach us about pregnancy

( CNN) Serena Williams strengthened Wednesday that she is pregnant with a due date in the sink. In a Tuesday post on Snapchat, she suggested she is exactly 20 -weeks pregnant, which would entail she was a good 2 month into her pregnancy in January when she rivalled in — and prevailed — the Australian Open.

Still, numerous ladies are anxious about workout during pregnancy. This, in spite of the fact that at least 18 ladies have rivalled in the Olympics while pregnant, according to Sports Reference. Some have done it unknowingly in the earliest days of their pregnancies, while others have participated closer to their due dates than some might believe possible.

The important extent: Not exclusively did these women compete while pregnant, some even prevailed gold medals in the process.

This Is How Much Exercise It Takes To Burn Off Your Favorite Summer Drinks

There’s nothing better than cooling off with a frosty, blended beverage on a scorching summer day.But did you know some of your favorite sips could totally be sabotaging your beach bod?

I mean, sure, we all knowmilkshakes and Slurpees probably aren’t the best thing to suck down when you’re watching your waistline.However, you might be surprised to know there are a lot of sugary drinks out there thatare deceptively bad for you.

Yep, from frozen frappes and iced lattes to fruity smoothies and protein shakes, there are a lot of seemingly innocent sips that look relatively healthy at a first glance.

But if you take a look at what’s actually inside some of those deceiving drinks, you’ll find a lot of your beloved beveragescontain a mind-blowing amount of calories, not to mention, a shit ton of sugar.

In fact,some of these ice-cold cups can contain as much sugar as half a dozen doughnuts.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to blow all of my calories in one sitting, I’d much rather stuff my face with a box of Krispy Kreme treats than waste my daily allotment on a shitty green smoothie.

If you’re wondering how your favorite drinks stack up against each other, you’re in luck.We recently set out to uncover the amount of calories hidden in these seasonal sips, and to put this number into perspective for you, we alsofigured outhow much exercise ittakes toburn off each of these bad boys.

Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to be spending a lot of time in the gym this summer.

Take a look at the pictures below to see how many minutes of exercise it takes to undo some of your favorite summer sips.(Note: Drink calories are based on a size large, and calories burned are based on a 140-pound person.)

Shake Shack Vanilla Shake

Jamba Juice Greens ‘n Ginger Smoothie

Dunkin’ Donuts Vanilla Bean Coolatta

Panera Bread Iced Caramel Latte

Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake

Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino

Burger King Oreo Shake

Juice Generation Protein Buzz Smoothie

7-Eleven Fanta Wild Cherry Slurpee

Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Smoothie

Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta

Burger King Tropical Mango Smoothie

Starbucks Iced Green Tea Latte

McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie

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6 Ways To Make Your Homemade Salad Taste Like You’re Not On A Diet

Tired of salads that are only a little more than a bowl of lettuce? Bored of the same old bagged salad kit?

If so, here are six tips for making a satisfying, nutrient-packed “super salad” for your next lunch or dinner:

1. Make it lean with greens.

Start with a base of fresh, leafy greens like kale, spinach, leaf lettuce, romaine, arugula, frise and radicchio to help you meet the daily minimum of three servings of vegetables per day. Two cups of mixed greens provides your daily requirement of Vitamins A, C and K and a powerful dose of disease-fighting phytonutrients.

Boost fiber and nutrition with another cup of fresh, steamed or grilled colorful veggies. Some of my favorites include grape tomatoes, grilled eggplant, beets, summer squash, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and red peppers.

2. Perfect your protein.

Next, add 3 to 5 ounces of calorie-conscious lean protein, like grilled chicken, tuna, eggs, salmon, tofu, shrimp, lean beef or cottage cheese. Protein foods bring flavor and texture, but they’ll also help you feel full for longer. A report published in the Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrition And Dieteticsanalyzed data from 20 studies and foundthat eating protein-rich meals kept peoplefeeling fuller longer, compared to lower protein meals with the same number of calories.

If you’re struggling to lose or maintain your weight, eating protein-rich salads and reducing low-quality calories that don’t contribute to satiety may help. Aim for about20 to 30 grams of protein for your salad.Forgo or limit calorie- and saturated fat-rich proteins like bacon, salami and other processed red meats and full-fat cheese.

3. Add some crunch.

For more interest, a few tablespoons of slivered almonds, toasted pine nuts, walnuts or seeds (think pumpkin, sesame, sunflower or flaxseeds) add crunch along with heart healthy fats. One of my favorite salads with crunch is this beet and goat cheese salad with walnuts.

Looking for something more exotic? Try pomegranate arils or crispy onions. Use caution with croutons because a half-cup serving of some store-bought seasoned varieties can add over 100 calories.

4. Drizzle it with dressing.

While olive oil and vinegar is an easy, basic dressing, it will make your salad will go from “ho-hum” to “yum” if you get more creative. For a burst of flavor that perfectly compliments greens and grains, add a mix of cumin, honey and curry powder to a base of canola oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s a perfect finish for this black bean, mango and quinoa salad.

You’ll have a tasty dressing in minutes that’s high in heart-smart monounsaturated fats, thanks to the canola oil. I love canola oil for all my dressings because it’s a neutral flavor, and the light texture doesn’t overpower other ingredients. For a rich, creamy option that won’t wreck your waistline, try this amazing Green Goddess dressing with a fat-free Greek yogurt base.

5. Use whole grains.

Hearty whole grains like bulgur, quinoa, brown rice and kasha offerdelicious nuttyflavor and important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins and high quality carbohydrates. Many are good sources of protein as well (take note, vegetarians).Research indicates that eating whole grains in placeof refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases.

While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least three servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. For something different that will wow your tastebuds, try this Chinese black rice, orange and avocado salad.

6. Add some pizzazz.

If you want to take it a step further, a few extra touches can transform a salad from ordinary to extraordinary. Add fresh, shopped herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, lemongrass or parsley.

This Middle Eastern-style Fattoush salad infuses mint and cilantro for a rich and flavorful meal. For a little sweetness, consider fresh fruit like apples, pears, berries, peaches or citrus. This mixed greens and apple saladis one of my favorites.

This article was originally published on WebMD.

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