ForEliteAtheletes toFunRunners obstaclemudrunner.co.uk 20 Calorie Conundrum Jennie Gough jenniegough.com Recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that a third of people in the UK underestimate how many calories they’re eating It’s understood that although men report eating 2000 calories per day they in fact consume more than 3,000 whilst women claim to eat around 1,500 calories but actually consume almost 2,500*. This under-reporting may be in part due to people not being aware of everything they eat, but most likely also reflects an inability to accurately calculate the nutritional content of food. All too often we can get focused on eating healthily but not appreciate that some foods can also be loaded with calories making it easy to overdo our intake and leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. For example, you may think you’re being healthy by loading up your toast with nut butter, snacking on a tub of hummous or swapping sweets for dried fruit such as raisins or dates. However, if you’re not careful then for comparatively little food you can end up consuming a huge number of calories. At the same time, going for the low-calorie option isn’t always the best idea either. If you want to regulate your appetite and feel fuller for longer, then where your calories come from also matters. For example, if your calories come from foods that are high in sugar then it can disrupt your blood sugar balance and you’ll soon find yourself hungry again which can lead to overeating. Plus, if you focus solely on calories, it can be easy to end up with a very unhealthy diet with the long-term risk of becoming deficient in key vitamins and minerals that are so important for energy, fitness and strength. So what do you do? The solution is to choose foods that are nutrient dense and naturally low in calories. Vegetables, protein (such as eggs, fish, yoghurt and meat) and fruits (especially berries) are the key players here as they’ll help keep you feeling fuller for longer and will make you healthier and leaner in the long term. What does 300 calories look like? When you make the right food choices you may be surprised at how much food you can eat for only 300 calories and equally how easy it can be to consume too many calories if you choose foods that are very high in fat and/or sugar. KitKat (58g) A chocolate bar will give you an initial burst of energy but can subsequently cause an energy slump and cravings for more sugar. Blueberries (520g) If you need something sweet then blueberries are definitely a better bet. They contain important antioxidants and fibre so keep you feeling fuller for longer whilst also being low in calories and keeping your blood sugars more stable than other fruits. Almond butter (38g) Almond butter is a great source of healthy fats and the protein content makes it very satiating but eating too much will skyrocket your calorie intake. Broccoli (800g) You can eat a huge amount of broccoli for relatively little calories. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals – a superhero food! So next time you’re feeling peckish, be aware of what you’re putting in and ask yourself, how will you benefit from what you are about to eat? By questioning and acknowledging the benefits, you will stick to healthier choices and keep that OCR body looking spick and span. you are what you eat HEALTH & NUTRITION * The recommend daily intake is 2,500 for adult men and 2,000 for adult women although these values can vary depending on factors such as age, metabolism and levels of physical activity.