Is There Such a Thing as Healthier Calories?

Is There Such a Thing as Healthier Calories?

 

Question:

Is a 450 cal healthy smoothie better for you than 450 cal of some other food item? I’m wondering if there is such a thing as healthier calories.

 

 

Answer:

The nutritional value of foods besides energy matters greatly! Beyond the calories derived from carbohydrate, protein and fat, nutrients critical to optimal health include fiber, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. The best prevention for most major chronic diseases is to avoid saturated animal fats, refined flours and added processed sugars. Take all of these together and you have a spectrum of ‘healthfulness’ provided by foods.

Let’s take a simple apple for example:

A medium fresh apple with skin provides 4 gm fiber and 14% Daily Value of Vitamin C.*
Peel and cook that apple into unsweetened applesauce to get 2.6 gm fiber, 2% Daily Value of Vitamin C and less water content.*

Still healthier than the equivalent calories from straight candy, the applesauce isn’t “good” or “bad”. The comparison is relative. I hope you’d agree that a balanced meal of fish, mixed vegetables and brown rice is healthier than the equivalent calories from macaroni & cheese. So to answer your question about a healthy smoothie or other food item, it depends on the alternative.

You might be giving up the liquid bound in the smoothie if you opt for solid foods, but would perhaps gain more protein or fiber. Plus, what is ‘healthy’ for one person or use may not suit another. A smoothie made with mango, coconut milk, protein powder and wheat germ might be your ideal breakfast, but be troublesome for a person with diabetes who needs a slower digesting meal. A large omelet of egg whites, spinach, salsa and feta cheese could be healthy for someone trying to lose weight, but would be a poor choice for an athlete’s pre-race meal.

Whatever you choose, remember that variety is key. You’ll end up with more nutrients at the end of the week by alternating your meal components rather than eating the same thing every day.

 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

*USDA Household Fact Sheets, 2012.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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Spooky Treats and Kids Klub Hours For Your Little Ones

Spooky Treats and Kids Klub Hours For Your Little Ones

Festive Treats

Need a quick, healthy and kid friendly festive recipe? Try this clementine celery snack idea for your little ones.

You will need a few clementine oranges and celery. All you have to do is peel the clementine oranges, cut celery into sticks, and put the celery sticks in the top of the oranges. Enjoy this fun and healthy snack!

Kids Klub Hours

As a reminder on Monday October 31, 2016, all LA Fitness Kids Klubs will be closed during the evening. Regular hours will resume the following day, November 1, 2016.

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Should I Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

Should I Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

 

Question:

 

Hi Nutrition Folks,

I’ve heard the mantra about 8 glass of water/day. I have a hard time getting excited about drinking so much plain water every day. I mean, it’s just so plain. I love drinking unsweetened iced tea and can easily kick back 8 glasses of that every day or a mix of tea and water. I don’t notice any negative effects from the caffeine in the tea.

If I stick to iced tea am I really losing out on the health benefit?

-Todd W.

 

 

Answer:

You’re not losing out! A person’s fluid needs can be met in various ways and with little straight water. Beverages on average provide 95% free water, but thick smoothies or shakes have less – maybe 75% water.

As a habitual consumer of iced tea, you probably have a tolerance to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Plus, the volume is spread throughout the day so your beverage choice is fine. Remember your ice cubes are water, too!

To determine how much liquid you should be drinking, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.5 to get the recommended fluid ounces. Then divide by 8 (the # of fluid ounces per cup) to figure out how many cups that equates to.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Suggested Articles

Are All Calories Created Equal?

Are All Calories Created Equal?

 LA Fitness RDN, Debbie James, helps answer a member question asking if it’s important to watch the foods you eat or simply maintain a calorie deficit.

Ask our Dietitian

QA_icon

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

15 + 11 =

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

Want more? SUBSCRIBE to receive the latest Living Healthy articles right in your inbox!

LA Fitness Goes Pink in October

LA Fitness Goes Pink in October

October has arrived and it’s time to break out those Halloween costumes, get into the fall spirit and shop pink! We want you to shop pink this October to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Members can purchase either the Tri-Blend Seamless Tank in vintage pink, or the Burnout Racer Tank in light pink, at ShopLAFitness.com, all while supporting an excellent cause. What’s the cause? For purchases of these tanks through October 31, 2016, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Padres Pedal the Cause, which supports innovative life-saving cancer research, including breast cancer.*

 

 

For the second consecutive year, LA Fitness is supporting Padres Pedal the Cause to power a stationary bike class to help raise money for cancer research. Learn more and register for this year’s event on November 13th in San Diego, CA. With paid registration, each participant will receive an event shirt, towel and swag bag. Use code PINKPEDAL to save $15 off your registration fee. For more information and to register, please click here.

We are so excited to be involved with such a great cause!

Let’s make a difference together.

*Proceeds donated to Padres Pedal the Cause exclude amounts charged for shipping & handling and sales tax.

Shop the LA Fitness store today!

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Yoga For Digestion

Yoga For Digestion

Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –

In the Living Healthy blog, we’re often sharing nutrition advice to help you achieve better physical performance. In this article, we’re promoting certain exercise to improve your nutrition status. What a twist! Yes, pun intended.

Many digestive ills are relieved by yoga including gas, bloating and constipation. The practice of ayurvedic medicine promotes yoga for digestion. In fact, yoga is used to treat abdominal pain for several digestive disorders. Improving digestive health means better nutrition since nutrient absorption and waste elimination are enhanced.

How does yoga achieve this? Primarily by utilizing the poses that stimulate nerves, enhance the flow of blood and digestive juices, promote the travel of food in the GI tract and proper elimination. Alternate tension in your abdominal muscles with deep breathing (Pranayama), abdominal stretches and massaging twists, and you’ve got a perfect combination of yoga to help relieve your belly woes.

 

Primary yoga poses that are believed to aid digestion:

 

  • Cat-Cow (marjaryasana-bitilasana)
  • Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana)
  • Triangle (trikonasana) and Revolved triangle (pavrtta trikonasana)
  • Extended puppy (uttana shishosana)
  • Bridge (setu bandha saravangasana)
  • Gas release (ardha pawamuktasana)
  • Supine twist (supta matsyendrasana)
  • Knees to chest (apanasana) followed by Corpse (savasana)

The underlying tenet of Ayrurveda is that health begins in the digestive system.

LA Fitness yoga classes flow through a series of dynamic movements that help to increase your flexibility, restore balance, and strengthen core muscles of the lower back and abdominals. The class is great for improving focus and self-awareness.

Find an LA Fitness yoga class near you.

Should you wish to modify your diet to compliment your yoga, consider that most traditional practitioners eat a diet comprised mainly of vegetable proteins, rich in cereals, vitamin- and mineral-rich fruits, and which is low in salt content. Promoting a healthy balance of bacteria is indispensable to gut function. A high fiber diet combined with probiotic sources such as active culture yogurt, kefir and kimchi helps achieve this balance.

This information is not meant to replace medical advice. See your healthcare practitioner for any digestive concerns as there may be a more serious underlying condition.

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