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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (novick.vegsource.com)
Subject:         Re: Food for Life, Good Choice?
Date: October 5, 2007 at 4:58 am PST

In Reply to: Food for Life, Good Choice? posted by Monte on October 4, 2007 at 7:34 am:

The Food For Life cereals do pass my guidelines that I explained in the video. The make the guidelines of sodium, fat, whole grains and sugars.

However, there is one guideline I didn't cover in the video, because it is extremely hard to explain in simple terms, in relation to a food label. And that is calorie density.

Calorie density is a measure of calories per weight.

The higher the calorie density of the food, the less filling it is and the easier it is to overeat on, regardless of how otherwise "healthy" we may think it is.

To understand this better, lets look at two healthy foods, grapes and raisins.

Both are very healthy. But what happens when you take grapes and dry them out, increasing their concentration and their "caloric density", and make them into raisins?

You take grapes, which are 300 calories a pound, and make them into raisins, which are ~1400 calories per pound.

Now while you may not eat either of these by the pound, the impact of this is easy to see by looking at it the effect this way...

1 cup of grapes is around 60 calories. One cup of raisins is around 450 calories. This is almost 8x the calories for the same "measure" because of the effect of the concentration.

Which would be easier to overeat on?

The raisins, because drying them out and removing the water, concentrated them, decreased their volume, and increased their caloric density.

So, in regard to the Food For Life Cereal, most intact whole grains average around 500 calorie per pound. The Food For Life cereals are around 1500 calorie per pound. 3x the caloric density. And, much easier to overeat it.

So, my recommendation is they are OK, but very high in calorie density. If someone was concerned about their "excess" weight, or not wanting to gain weight, these would not be a good choice. If they ate them, they would have to portion control their servings so they wouldn't over consume calories. This would leave them having to deal with hunger, which isn't always pleasant.

Now, here is a trick on how to use the cereal and lower the caloric density..

Make a nice large bowl of fresh berries and fruit (which is very low in calorie density and very filling) and then add a small amount of the cereal on top of the fruit as a crunchy topic. this way, you have diluted out the high calorie density of the cereal with a food that is very low in calorie density.

Now, you have the best of both worlds. The cereal you like and a large filling, low calorie and healthy meal.

Hope this helps
In Health
Jeff

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