Monday, 27 May 2013

Portion Distortion

Saturday's dinner was tagliatelle, with a simple homemade sauce of prawns, shallots, mushrooms, half fat crème frache and fish stock. Topped with a salmon fillet.  So your thinking, can't see much wrong with that, carbs, protein, omega 3's, vegetables and healthy fats.  What's wrong with that?

Well today I want to focus on the carbohydrates, mainly the pasta and the manufacturer's serving size of it.

Now this is the pasta in question, and I'm not doubting its deliciousness, because it was lovely (and yes I'd done intense exercise beforehand, so didn't feel too guilty eating it!)  I want to look at its implications of hindering weight loss if this is your primary goal.

This packet size is 350grams, and on the front says 'Serves 2' and this was definitely much more food than was needed for two people.  If you didn't realise, you would probably take this as gospel and tuck into your half a portion which would give you 485 calories, and 92.4grams of carbohydrate.  Now that's the calories just from the pasta without adding the other food groups.  If you are trying to lose weight you may not realise just how detrimental this could be for you.

When I made it on Saturday, even though pasta is one of my favourite meals (especially as a cheat meal) as I was dividing it between myself and my hubby, the portion was starting to look like a mountain!  Now if you've heard of the saying 'eyes are bigger than your belly' (putting more on your plate than you should) then yes I'd be in pasta heaven, but fortunately for me, my stomach and brain took over and I managed to get another portion which I kept for the following day's lunch. 

I worked it out that the whole pack cooked was 970kcals and the total carbohydrate was 184.8g so three portions worked out at a slightly better 323 kcals and 61.6g carbs per portion.  Overall the meal including the other veg and fish I'm estimating it to be around 410kcals.  Although the carbs is still pretty high (for one meal), a large proportion of that would be used to replenish low glycogen stores from the earlier weights and HIIT cardio workout.  If you haven't already seen it, find out how to make carbs work for you, visit this previous blog

Usually the more active we are, the more carbohydrates we can consume, as carbohydrates is our preferred source of fuel and should make up to 50% (but we're talking fibre rich foods and vegetables as well as starchy potatoes, rice and pasta).  Use the following as a guide as to how much carbohydrates you should be taking in daily.

Activity Level
Grams carbohydrate / kg bodyweight per day
2 – 4
Light – moderate
1 hour per day
4 – 5
1 – 2 hours per day
6 - 7
Moderate – heavy
2 – 4 hours
7 - 8
More than 4 hours per day
8 - 10

Take me for example, my daily carbohydrates for my activity level, moderate to heavy is 385g - 440g (55 x 7 / 8)

So I guess the moral of this blog is for you to not always 'eat with your eyes', think of the long term consequence's and if it looks too much, save some for the next day.  Also don't always go on the manufactures serving size, if me and hubby had shared that pasta after a sedentary day, most likely it would have been stored in our fat banks!!

Till next time, all the best

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