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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

100-Calorie Snack Packs:
Do or Don't?

The 100-Calorie snack pack is all the rage right now with Oreo, Nabisco, Ritz, Keebler and other food producers filling the snack aisle with assorted 100 calorie offerings. But are these really smart choices for weight loss or weight maintenance with WLS? According to Supermarket Sleuth in the latest Food & fitness Advisor (February 2007) the 100-calorie packs contain as much as 23 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams or less protein and 3 grams or less dietary fiber. Many also contain trans fats without being required to list it on the label.

I believe there may be a tendency to say, “It’s only 100 calories, how can it hurt if it curbs my carb-craving?” Have you found yourself in thinking this way? And while portion control is always important, we also must focus on the nutritional value of even small food portions.

“Snacks are snacks no matter how you package them. These 100-calorie packs can be a useful tool for those trying to lose weight; however I would not describe most of them as healthful food choice, since nutritionally they don’t offer much,” says Allison Stevens, RD, a Kansas-based nutrition consultant.

Better 100-calorie snacks that provide nutritional value are:

6-ounces Yoplait Light
1-medium banana
1 slice whole-wheat brad
8 walnut halves
1.5-ounce light string cheese

The calorie-control packs, can however, be a good training tool in portion size and control. We hear all the time that “super-sized” is to blame for our national obesity crisis. Using the 100-calorie packs is an effective means to retrain our thinking (and perhaps our children’s perception) of what a portion size is.

So what do you think?

Are 100-calorie packs a Do or a Don’t for WLS post-ops?

Are 100-calorie packs a Do or a Don’t for children?

1 comment:

Portion Power said...

I think we should encourage any attempt to limit portion sizes. Yes, bananas and walnuts are a much better choice. But they have been around for a long time and people still want cookies once and while. As it was pointed out in the book "Mindless Eating" there are hundreds of factors that lead someone to eat too many cookies. Having a 100-calorie pack is a cue to eat less. Let's encourage restaurants to do more of this as well.