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Getting in the habit of calorie-counting

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by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

After having missed the boat for a couple of weeks, I managed to visit the farmer's market that recently reopened across the street from work. And my first stop was the apple stand: purveyors of delicious fruit but perhaps better known for their mouth-watering apple cider doughnuts. I bought a dozen as the market opened at 8 a.m.

I wasn't alone: another co-worker told me she also picked some up early that morning after hearing stories about the irresistible treats being sold out by 9:30 a.m.

Though I virtually inhaled the first delectable beignet, my hand pulled back from a second one after someone asked about the fat and calorie count of each tasty morsel. Somehow, my craving for another doughnut evaporated.

Lately, I've got calorie-counting on my mind (sort of).

More healthful eating is something that's been weighing down my thoughts for awhile now, especially when greeted with headlines that scream " TV viewing, computer use linked to obesity: StatsCan" (making this computer-dependent, TV lover anxious indeed).

Though I have started reading food labels for ingredient lists and countries of origin, I've tended to skim over calorie, cholesterol, fat and sodium information, which have usually been mystifying to me.

However, when a belly-busting calorie count stares back at me, I do usually find myself choosing something else, albeit reluctantly.

Last fall, CBC-TV's Marketplace examined how innocuous-looking meals at several well-known, casual-dining restaurants could actually contain more calories than an average person should consume in one day — a definite shock to people confronted with the news on camera.

Many who subsequently commented on the show's website echoed the program's call for more nutritional info on restaurant menus, something that certain Canadian fast-food chains provide.

Lack of posted or easily available nutritional info is an issue that could also lead to restaurant fines in New York City, considered one of the top food capitals of the world.

How much attention do you pay to nutritional information like sodium, fat or calorie counts? How does this affect your food habits?

P.S. This week, strolling past the farmer's market at 8 a.m., I bypassed the doughnuts and, instead, picked up a pint of fresh sugar snap peas to snack on. It's a baby step, I guess.

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With keeping track of stuff like this one might go insane. There are enough stressors in society without having to do this. Just lay off the BK - or any other restaurant food for that matter.

Posted June 23, 2008 09:24 AM

YK Lee

Montreal

I have always been confused with the debate on calories intake and the various ways to reduce your diet. Some research have suggested that counting calories may not be the detrimental factor. Some say that if you intake 2,500 calories per day then your metabolism will adjust itself so that your body begins to burn only 2,500 calories per day. They say that this is one of the reasons why starving yourself has not been an effective way to lose weight. Comments?

Posted June 26, 2008 10:31 AM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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