The Unknown Calorie

Apparently it's weird to eat broccoli this way.
Apparently it’s weird to eat broccoli this way.

I got a pretty good laugh today talking to a client about calories.

I know a lot of people don’t like counting calories, and if you aren’t competing in an aesthetic competition it’s not necessary, but some people like too.

This client is one of those people.

He is super analytical and enjoys tracking what he eats. His complaint today was how to account for dishes that he doesn’t cook. The “unknow” calorie. With him being so analytical, this seemed to actually be giving him some level of distress.

I talked to him about ways to estimate, by comparing to palm and fist sizes and estimating calories that way. Since he is trying to lose weight, I recommended to round up.

The funny part was when he explained his current system. He just makes a wild guess and then adds a taste factor.

The better the taste, the higher the calories. If he guessed 400, but then it was a 7 on a scale of 10. He would add a  hundred calories or so. If it was a 1 out of 10, he’d leave it.

Funny enough, talking to him on the phone about it. The dish in question, Jambalaya, was actually really close to the 400 calories he gave.

Either way, the one or two meals being off calories wise isn’t a huge deal. Estimates will work just as well.

If you need a comparison, typically a fist of processed carbs is around 150 calories, a fist of unprocessed carbs is around 80 calories, and a thumb of fat is about 50 calories and protein is about 125 calories.

Are these numbers exact, no, but it’s close enough. Besides, if you didn’t know, listed calories are off by as much as 25% anyway. Plants growing in different soils, animals living off of different feeds, food breakdown in storage over time, and measurements being off all play a factor in calory load, not to mention the calories lost during your digestion. So, don’t stress it.

Just figure out a plan for you (probably not with the taste factor) and then if you start gaining too much weight reduce your method, if you’re losing too much, increase it. As long as your method is somewhat quantifiable and consistent, it will all average in the end.