Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Servings not Calories

The weight-loss powerhouse Weight Watchers announced some changes to their popular points diet system this week. We applaud their recognition that the kinds of foods you eat is also as meaningful as the number of calories you consume. Progress is good, even if in small steps.

The best big step for everyone is to eliminate food that comes in boxes... if people simply stopped eating things out of boxes we wouldn't have an obesity problem in the US (my humble opinion). And, I fully recognize such an undertaking would be massive. So, in the meantime, we've designed Move.Eat.Be. to teach people to find their own personal path to wellness.

One of the best things about the nutrition portion of Move.Eat.Be. is we focus on servings instead of calories. Let's face it counting calories is tedious and it requires a reasonable amount knowledge on serving sizes and the ability to read labels (through our food label redesign project we all now know the labels currently displayed on our foods are confusing, at best). Yes, having a general idea of the science behind calories consumed and calories burned is important. Burn more than you consume is easy to understand. Counting each one? Old news

Evidenced by the Weight Watchers change, the "secret" that conventional nutrition is starting to embrace is that the kinds of foods we eat are much more important than the number of calories. Ever heard of a junk food vegetarian? These are people who give up meat in the name of "health" and end up eating processed, junk food instead. Not a good idea!

By counting servings you develop a stronger link between what you eat and your health. In Move.Eat.Be. we help people design their weekly eating plan by counting servings of:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Plant Protein
  • Water
  • Lean Meat
  • Treats
This system allows a great deal of flexibility and it gives you an easy way to make incremental improvements over time. Vegetarians and vegans can simply plan for zero servings of lean meat and more plant protein. Each week, we encourage you to add one serving of something new (quinoa anyone?). And, we include treats. To be fair, we help you set a goal for a reasonable amount of treats per week and treats include a wide variety of things (like processed foods including soda and sugary drinks, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chips, etc.).

If you eat more whole, natural, real food you will be more healthy. There really isn't an easier way to life-long health and wellness. 

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