SALT LAKE CITY — In the world of dieting, calories are currency — tracked with vigilance and rationed tightfistedly by some, but too often spent with heedless abandon by others.
Calorie counting has its proponents and detractors, but most experts agree that whether you aggressively count calories or not, the amount you consume matters — so much so, that even seemingly trivial amounts can make a big difference.
Consider this: Cutting just 100 calories from your daily diet will make you 10 pounds lighter one year from today. So say health fitness experts in a wide array of disciplines, who say that small changes in food choices add up to big results down the line.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true: Overdo it by 100 calories a day and you'll end up 10 lbs. heavier in 12 months.
That's some food for thought (bad pun intended). Taking this advice at face value, we got to thinking: Looking at calories alone, does this really add up?
To answer this question and more, let’s start at the beginning …
What does 100 calories look like?
In a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, 100 calories are just 5 percent of the total daily budget. Depending on the type of food, 100 calories may seem like a little or a lot. Here is a sampling of what 100 calories will get you:
- 2 Twix Minis
- ¼ cup premium ice cream
- 2 regular Oreo cookies
- 10 Peanut M&Ms
- ¾ can of regular soda
- 2 slices American cheese
- 2 cups of strawberries
- 1 medium banana
- 7 cups of celery
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 13 dry roasted almonds
- 42 Goldfish crackers
- 28 red grapes
- 4 cups of cauliflower
- Swapping 1 tablespoon of butter for 1 tablespoon of olive oil will save you 60 calories.
- Buying 95 percent lean ground beef instead of 75 percent lean will save you 84 calories per serving.
- Having mustard only instead of mayo on a sandwich will save you 115 calories.
- Running stairs for six minutes or walking stairs for 11 minutes
- Dancing around the room for 20 minutes
- Playing catch for 35 minutes
- Weeding the garden for 18 minutes
- Playing with children for 23 minutes
- Rearranging the furniture for 14 minutes