Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zero Calorie and Calorie Free

by Kris Pitcher

Did you know there's a new math in town? We can call something zero calorie if it has less than 5 calories per serving. Less than 5...

But less than 5 can be 4 calories per serving and be called zero. Four isn't zero, last time I checked. There's a whole lot of us out there who've got our heads in the sand on this one. You've been fleeced.

sweetened with Truvia
All this "zero" calorie stuff we're consuming has a cumulative effect, and it isn't ZERO! Remember when I gave up my sugarless gum? Well, I did. And part of the reason I did that was because sugarless gum is not calorie neutral. It has calories, 5 per slice. So, if I've got a 20 piece a day habit how many calories is that?

You're right, it's 100 calories. In a week I'm doing 700 calories of damage with my sugarless gum. Now we have zero calorie drinks and things which help us feel like we aren't dieting. If we truly are dieting, those zeros are adding up.

Nothing times nothing is still nothing. But the makers of these products squeeze 3 or 4 calories in that serving so it tastes good and you'll eat it, or drink it. All those 3's and 4's are the problem. The new math.

And that's the problem with this zero calorie business. These products contain sugar alcohols...which is a derivative of sugar, to make the product taste good - and it has a value. Add up all your 3's and 4's and you may have a problem.

So, depending on your goal maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe these items are tools to help you manage eating in a new way. Fine. Now you know they aren't really zero, they're just less than 5 calories.

If your goal however is sport specific, physique competition etc. you can look at it in a much different way. That 700 calories over a 16 week prep is 11,200 calories, or 3.2 pounds. Not so "zero" is it?

The choice about eliminating artificially sweetened "nothing" is one of personal value. It's up to you. Some people need their crystal light and gum or they would absolutely DIE. We don't want anyone to die.

I'm not suggesting crystal light says it has no calories, but we think of it as a "free" item. My suggestion is to consider the impact of zero on your progress over the long term. Make your decisions with an informed perspective. Know your math!

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