Food Choices and Substitutions

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

*Notice* This is a bit of a rant.

I've been reading a lot on Spark People about how to make healthy changes, and I've been talking with my partner and thinking about it, too. I also subscribe to the Food Showdown emails.
While I completely understand the need to make healthy choices in the foods we eat, I find many of the suggestions that Spark People makes to not be helpful to me, and I've been thinking about *why*.
One of the reasons is the nature of recommended substitutions. Recently, one of the food challenges was between two types of bite-size candy bars. I can get into this sort of thing, as it can be pertinent. There was a clear winner. Then, down in the little paragraph afterwards, they recommended that instead of choosing either of the two types of candy bars, that instead you choose chocolate flavored graham crackers.
Graham Crackers, whether crusted in cinnamon or flavored with cocoa, are not candy bars. If I want a candy bar, they're not going to cut it. In fact, I'm likely to eat the crackers, wanting candy; and then go find something else to eat, still wanting candy. If I eat the candy in the first place, I won't eat graham crackers and lite pudding and a chocolate shake.
Why not, instead, suggest that instead of eating the serving size of 5 bite-size candy bars, suggest that you only eat one or two? 2/5 the calories is better for you, and if it kills the craving then it works, right?

Now, to be fair, when I just want something to munch on, I find carrots very satisfying, sometimes even more satisfying than munching on chips or cookies. But if what I want is the taste, then I am more likely to over eat by not choosing the "bad for me" item than by choosing it.

Now that I have come to this conclusion, I will obviously make my own choices. But how many people (myself included) have fought with weight gain when they think they're eating better, but eat too much because they don't listen to those cravings?
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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