Body & Fitness

Recognising and avoiding hidden calories

Hidden calories may sabotage your weight-loss efforts. These are the sneaky calories you may not take into account when working out how much you’ve eaten. Here’s how to recognise and avoid them.

Watch your coffee intake

These can be loaded with calories. There’s around 100 calories in a standard full-fat cappuccino, while lattes and mochas with trimmings such as cream can be over 200. Ask for yours with trim milk or, better yet, learn to love black coffee. It’s around five calories per mug.

Don’t drown salad in dressing

Making the effort to eat lots of salads is a great idea, but if you’re smothering them in a creamy dressing, you could be undoing all your good work. The creamier the dressing, the worse the calorie count – for example, a tablespoon of blue cheese or Caesar dressing is around 77 calories, while mayonnaise is around 60.

French dressing is about 73, so Italian, at around 43, is a better option. Opt for reduced fat versions or, better yet, try eating your salad without a dressing. If you need something to give it a bit of zing, try some lemon juice or a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.

Steer clear of dried fruits

Dried fruits make a great snack and, if you’re craving sugar, they’re far better for you than lollies or chocolate. But take care not to overdo it – they can be higher in calories than you think, plus they contain a lot of natural sugars, which can affect your blood-sugar levels, leading you to crave more sweet foods.

There’s around 100 calories in a ¼ cup of dried apricots and about 110 in the same amount of raisins. Unsweetened banana chips contain about 120. So you’re better off eating fruit.

Re-evaluate your breakfast

It’s important to eat breakfast, but if yours contains fruit juice, yoghurt and a cereal you may not be doing yourself any favours. While yoghurt is a great food, because of its calcium content, some versions are high in sugar, which will cause a spike in your blood-sugar levels.

Cereals can also be packed with sugar – make sure you read the labels carefully. Opt for rolled oats or bran cereals, or those with a lower sugar content – and don’t add lots of sugar! Juice also contains more calories than you’d think – some versions contain around 44 calories per 100ml, which is about the same as some soft drinks.

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