Many of us consume more calories than we need. However, research shows that cutting down on the calories is not enough to be as healthy as possible. To help people to think more about the types of food that they eat, the British Nutrition Foundation has launched the concept of the “quality calorie”.
Calories give us energy, so we need to consume a certain amount each day to be able to function properly. For women, this is around 2,000 calories a day and for men, around 2,500. In England, excess calorie consumption is the main cause of obesity for women and men and therefore, tackling this issue is a key priority for the British Nutrition Foundation and Public Health England.
Public Health England recommend 400 calories at breakfast time, 600 at lunch and 600 hundred at dinner, leaving some leeway for drinks and snacks. Calorie information can be found on food packaging, however, making the healthiest choices can be much more difficult. The tricky bit is to realise which calories are “quality” and which ones are not.
What are quality calories?
In many cases, higher calorie foods are less healthy, but this isn’t always the case. Consequently, foods sold as low calorie aren’t necessarily the healthiest either. An avocado for example, has a higher calorie count than many other fresh fruits and vegetables, however, it contains a lot of good nutrients, so avocados contain quality calories.
Another example would be nuts. Whilst 30g of nuts contain around the same number of calories as a couple of chocolate digestives, nuts are quality calories and chocolate biscuits are not.
Zero calories and empty calories
Food manufacturers are permitted to say that a food contains zero calories if they contain less than five calories. Empty calories are something different altogether – this name is given to calories from foods that are very low in nutritional value. Alcoholic drinks are commonly referred to as empty calories.
Public Health England suggest that a healthy diet should contain a balance of some protein from meat, fish, dairy, pulses or other high protein foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, some starchy carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice, plus some fat.
It is suggested that we should look to consume less of the following:
- Sugary cereals
- Cakes and biscuits
- Sugary drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
A healthy diet not only helps to prevent obesity, but it also provides the energy that you need to stay active each day, and helps your body to repair and stay strong.
If you are in need of advice on a healthy diet, exercise and healthier living, contact the team at Fiona Passey osteopaths today. Our practitioners can provide advice to promote a healthy lifestyle and a greater feeling of well-being.
Call today on 0121 585 8555 for our Halesowen practice, or 01902 894894 for our practice in Wombourne.