Last year, the Federal Drug Administration began requiring large food chains to mark menus with calorie information, but how many people actually pay attention?
When looking for that next snack or meal carbs, sugar, protein and calories are all important factors. Nutritional labels are supposed to be used to help people make a more informed decision but that doesn’t mean everyone uses them.
“The positive of doing calorie counting is it kind of gives you an idea of what you’re putting in your mouth, but with that, a lot of patients are like if I don’t write it down it doesn’t count,” said Dr. Fariha Saleem, UND Center for Family Medicine.
But it does. Dr. Saleem says no matter what diet you’re on, it all boils down to caloric intake.
“The main thing I think you should look at is calories, in the sense of energy in versus energy out, which is what a calorie is. Other things like the Keto diet tells you to count carbs. There is the Paleo diet which tells you to count protein,” added Dr. Saleem. “They are all going to equal out over the span of time, into the same thing of how many calories are you putting in your body and how many calories are you taking out.”
The suggested calorie intake for women is 1,200 a day and for men 1,700. In a study by the British Medical Journal, results showed that even with calorie information shown on menus it still didn’t matter to some.
We spoke to one woman who says those larger than life numbers have her watching what goes into her body.
“So we’ve actually changed our entire diet and eating. It makes my decision whether I’m going to have a sandwich or a burger, or maybe I’ll have the burger without the bun to take away some of those extra calories and carbs,” said Minot resident, Jennifer Mineke.
Dr. Saleem agreed. She said it’s all about proportions and planning.
Dr. Saleem said, “The main premise is if you realize you’re eating a 400 calorie burger, maybe eat a 200 calorie salad for dinner and kind of balance your day out. You can eat everything in moderation.”
So the next time you head out to your favorite restaurant, you may want to take a look at those numbers before you take a bite.
Dr. Saleem says there are apps that can make counting daily intakes easier.