Monday, 14 September 2015

The Real Food Groups: Dangerous, Safe, Caution and Protein

I’ve been mildly obsessive conscientious about looking up and recording calories for about a week now. It’s an easy habit to get. Pick up some food from the shelf, flip the pack and find the nutrition table. You’re looking for the kilocalories (these are so-called "small calories”, and a small calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a gramme of water by one degree centrigrade; a “food calorie” is 1,000 small calories, sometimes written with a capital C). It’s worth doing for a while. I still can’t quite get over how many calories grains have, and how much fuller I feel if I eat the same amount of calories in root vegetables or potatoes.

Nobody can remember long lists of food and calories and of course it is silly to check everything before you eat it. The point is that you don’t need to. Start looking at calories and some patterns will jump right out at you. (Context: I cook most of my food at home from raw or tins of beans. The only processed foods I eat turn out to be those in the “Dangerous” group below. But if you eat prepared meals with little sachets of oil or mayo, you’ll need to look at the labels.)

Here’s one so obvious it’s hit even me within a few days of looking up the numbers:

Dangerous: 500+ Cals/100g or per portion. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cakes, biscuits, pastry, chocolate, four tablespoons of oil (Indian food cooked in ghee). Also anything that adds a disproportionate about of calories: mayo, salad cream, white or brown sugar.

Safe: less than 100 Cals/100g. Fruit, vegetables. Potatoes. Plus these have, if un-processed, lots of fibre which make me feel full.

Caution: between 100 and 500 cals/100g. Any carbs (wheat, rye, corn, rice, polenta and anything else that the health food faddists are pushing), cream, yoghurt with added flavours. Cheese, especially the hard stuff. Also sauces and gravy. Also beas: baked beans 150 calories / 100g, borlotti beans 355 calories / 100g. Cheap jam donuts, 250 calories. Bagels, 250 calories. Good strong wholemeal bread, going on 100 calories per slice.

Protein: between 100 and 500 Cals/100g (depending on fat content: oily fish and red meat is higher). Meat, fish, eggs. Protein comes from dead animals, not plants.

Protein gets its own group because animal protein is the foundation of any diet. (This blog is written by a man for men and men eat the flesh of dead animals and fish. Veggies and vegans are women, no matter what gender they may be. I know there are some serious lifters out there who are vegan, but they are exceptions.) Anytime you want to increase your oestrogen levels, tuck into the soya. Anytime you want to put on weight, get your proteins from beans that also come stuffed with carbohydrates.

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