Weight-loss guru Jim Karas reveals the secret to serious slimming: get an A+ on this calorie-counting quiz. (fitness diet)
The weight-loss industry preaches that we shouldn’t worry about calories. Instead, we should applaud ourselves for eating foods that are fat free, low fat, lite, low sodium, low cholesterol … am I forgetting anything? While fat, sodium, and cholesterol are all worth keeping an eye on, don’t let them overshadow the one thing that really matters, and that’s the calories you consume. The bottom line will always be:
Calories In — Calories Out = Weight Loss, Gain, or Maintenance
To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you expend. Exercise will increase your calories out, but the real trick is to limit what you take in. Which brings us to the crucial question: Do you really know how many calories you’re eating? Take my quiz and see.
1. To lose one pound this week, which of these snacks should you cut from your daily diet?
a) slice of cake
b) candy bar and soda
c) plate of chips and creamy dip
Answer: a, b, or c. Each snack shown is about 500 calories. In order to lose one pound per week, you need to create a weekly caloric deficit of 3,500 calories, or 500 fewer calories per day (500 x 7 days=one pound of weight loss per week). This means that by cutting any one of these snacks–or 500 other unnecessary calories-each day, you’ll be able to meet your weight-loss goal.
2. Which of these options provides a satisfying 200-calorie filling for your sandwich?
a) two tablespoons of peanut butter
b) five ounces of turkey
c) veggies and two slices of low-fat cheese
Answer: b or c. All three of these options come in at around 200 calories, but that doesn’t necessarily mean each one will leave you feeling equally full. Do me a favor: Get out the peanut butter and measure two tablespoons (190 calories). Shocking, isn’t it? Can you limit your sandwich spread to that portion? Probably not–in fact, most peanut butter sandwiches are made with double that amount. Note to all moms out there: Choices b and c are the healthy way to go. Pack your kids (and yourself) a vegetable-and-cheese or turkey sandwich for lunch, and you’ll fill up faster-on fewer calories.
3. For the lightest breakfast, what’s your first choice?
a) deli-size bagel, jam topping
b) deli-size cinnamon-raisin bagel, no topping
c) small frozen bagel, cream-cheese topping
Answer: c. Did you know that many deli bagels are almost 500 calories before any topping is added? A small frozen bagel is half the size and less than half the calories (about 180), meaning you could add cream cheese (100 calories for two tablespoons) and still have a lighter breakfast than if you ate a plain deli bagel. And for the record, bagels with add-ins like raisins and chocolate chips can have even higher calorie counts.
4. Pick the omelet with fewer calories:
a) one-whole-egg omelet
b) four-egg-white omelet
Answer: b. An average egg contains 75 calories; 60 of those come from the yolk. For just 15 calories each, egg whites can be used in place of whole eggs in omelets. One word of caution: If you order an egg-white omelet in a restaurant, ask the kitchen to use a nonstick spray rather than butter, or you’ll double the calories in your meal.
5. If you’re trying to lose weight, which beverage is the worst breakfast choice?
Answer: c. Water, coffee, and even soda are, from a caloric point of view, better options than juice, which is about 15 calories an ounce. Water is your best choice-it’s the beverage your body needs most, and the one that many people don’t get enough of. If you must have juice, use lots of ice or dilute it with water. And if you are really serious about losing weight, measure the juice first, so you’ll know how many calories you’re drinking.
6. You’re at a restaurant and the waiter brings bread. You know it’s better to …
a) spread it with butter
b) dip it in olive oil
Answer: a. Despite all you’ve heard about olive oil being the kind of fat that’s heart-friendly (which is true), when it comes to cutting calories, butter wins the battle. (One tablespoon is 100 calories versus 120 calories per tablespoon of oil.) The bottom line: Both pack a lot of calories into a small serving size, so serious dieters should purchase an oil sprayer that provides maximum food coverage with a minimal amount of fat.
7. Which one the slimmest pick for dinner?
b) Caesar salad
c) one slice of cheese pizza
Answer: c. A small slice of cheese pizza has about 250 calories, 50 fewer than the 300-calorie cheeseburger and 400 fewer than the 650-calorie Caesar salad. Surprised about the salad? The good news: You can buy low-calorie bottled dressing in most grocery stores or, better yet, make it yoursef.
8. Choose the lunch that’s lighter in calories:
a) tuna-salad sandwich and diet Coke
b) roast beef sandwich, apple, Oreo cookie
Answer: b. We’ve all been told that fish is less caloric than red meat, and that’s true. But at 100 calories per tablespoon, mayonnaise turns this tuna salad into a diet disaster (750 calories versus 480 for option b). Still, a six-ounce can of tuna in water has only 200 calories, making it a great choice if you mix it with a little low-calorie mayonnaise, lemon, or Dijon mustard or simply place it on top of a dinner salad.
9. Which of these salad-bar dressings has fewer calories?
a) balsamic vinegar
Answer: a. At salad bars, it’s usually the dressing that gets you into trouble. For instance, two cups of cooked pasta have 400 calories. But add vinaigrette-with its three tablespoons of oil-and you’re getting another 360 calories. Vinegar, on the other hand, is virtually calorie free.
10. Rank these breakfasts from most to least calories:
a) bowl of granola, half cup of low-fat milk
b) bowl of cornflakes, half cup of low-fat milk, banana, half of a grapefruit
c) two pieces of toast with Jam, fruit salad, fried egg
Answer: a, c, b. One ounce of granola has about 125 calories, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider that the average bowl easily holds four ounces. With the addition of milk-even the low-fat kind–your breakfast could easily top 500 calories. Breakfast c, on the other hand, weighs in at around 360 calories, while b, the slimmest pick of all, is a mere 300 calories.
1) How many calories are in a pound?
a. 4,000 c. 5,000 b. 5,500 d. 3,500
2) How many calories are in one egg white?
a. 15 c. 40 b. 35 d. 50
3) A plain (no topping) bagel from the deli contains how many calories?
a. 150 c. 500 b. 200 d. 700
4) You love to have fruit juice in the morning. How many calories are in an eight-ounce glass?
a. 40 c. 90 b. 55 d. 120
5) The most popular salad in the United States is Caesar salad. How many calories are in a typical dinner-size serving?
a. 750 c. 350 b. 450 d. 650
6) You’re standing at the salad bar, trying to make a smart choice. About how many calories are in a two-cup serving of pasta salad with vinaigrette?
a. 560 c. 760 b. 660 d. 860
7) Approximately how many calories are in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil?
a. 160 c. 140 b. 120 d. 80
8) Approximately how many calories are in an average deli-counter tuna-salad sandwich?
a. 750 c. 450 b. 350 d. 650
9) How many calories are in one tablespoon of peanut butter?
a. 75 c. 65 b. 95 d. 105
10) One ounce of granola cereal has approximately how many calories?
a. 125 c. 145 b. 135 d. 155
Answers: 1. d; 2. a; 3. c; 4. d; 5. d; 6. c; 7. b; 8. a; 9. b; 10. a