Smart Ways to Feed Your Body
Q: I've heard that artificial sweeteners can make you crave more sweets. So why do weight loss plans encourage eating foods—like yogurt—with artificial sweeteners? —HILARY SHEFFLER HOWARD, ATHOL, ID
A: Diet sodas get more negative attention because they have zero nutrition. Yogurt, however, has some positives (protein and calcium) along with the artificial sweeteners. My advice is to limit your intake of artificially sweetened foods and drinks to two a day, because they keep the sweet taste on your mind and taste buds, which can make it harder to beat sugar cravings. As for yogurts, I prefer those with a little real sugar. Look for flavored ones with no more than 14 g sugar per 4-oz container and no more than 20 g per 6-oz. (This includes the sugar that's naturally found in yogurt from lactose and from fruit purée, honey or other added sweeteners.) Of course, less is best! Most flavored nonfat Greek yogurts meet my cutoff.
Q: Should I eat more on days when I exercise a lot? —LAUREN BAILEY, NEW YORK
A: Most of us usually don't exercise enough to justify extra calories. But here's a general guideline: Multiply your weight by 13. The total is how many calories you should eat daily, whether you're not exercising at all or if you're working out moderately for an hour or less (walking, swimming, doing an exercise DVD). On days when you exercise for more than an hour, add 100 to 200 calories per additional hour. So if you took a two-hour hike, for example, add 150 calories to a snack or meal that day. If your energy is lagging during a particularly active week, try adding more protein to breakfast (a scoop of cottage cheese, an egg) and snacks (a handful of almonds, string cheese).
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