Thursday, February 26, 2009

logging nutrition

I previously thought that keeping track of my calories and nutritional intake is going overboard, is micromanaging, is obsessive, and a waste of time. Actually it's been a good educational exercise. I think it's a great way to fine tune your eating plan. You can see what foods costs a lot in calories and fat, and decide if they are worth it to include or if you want lower quantities. It's been good for me for regulating the nut intake. And it's great to find out which foods you like that you can eat tons of. For example, I love carrots. I can go crazy with those babies. And I like fruit. I can only go a little crazy with fruit but I like them more than nuts, so can eat them instead. And things I love like beets and sweet potatoes, well, I can go crazy with them too. Fuhrman recommends we limit the starchy vegetables, but I think that's more for people trying to lose weight. I'd rather have baked beats than grains any day. So go for it!

So as it's turned out, it's actually kind of fun to log the calories and nutrition and you learn a lot doing it. This CRONoMeter program is easy to use. I won't do this forever, just until I feel I've learned what I want to learn. And not only do you learn a lot, it helps you regulate your intake. Check out this article from They refer to a major study in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that no matter what diet you go on, if you track your calories, you are more likely to lose weight. I know someone who lost 50 lbs in the last 6 months and she tracks her calories too. So I learned something new! Thanks to Howard for turning me on to this.


Howard Veit said...


I too am finding it fun to track the food intake. It is a bit obsessive, but I agree there is lots to learn from the exercise.

One of the lessons learned for me is what I've heard referred to as the Calorie Dilemma. I am going to write about this on my blog. I need around 2500 calories a day to fuel me and my cycling. It will be more when I really start to train hard. Where do those calories come from. You can load up on veggies, but get only a few hundred calories. Same with fruit. After awhile with fruit you take in too much sugar. So you go to nuts/seeds. Research shows 2 oz. is great, but some argue that over that amount is too much fat. Most of us don't want to eat more than a cup of beans per day for a variety of reasons. So what is left, if one believes all of that, is starchy veggies, potatoes, rice, etc. I am becoming convinced that vegans who eat a low calorie diet can skip the starches. But, people like me will compromise their health if they don't include starches because we would eat too much sugar (from fruit) and fat (from nuts/seeds). No the fat issue is debatable. I don't think I would have started to think this way without CRON-O-METER.

Howard Veit said...

One other thought. Maybe by doing our own analysis of diet and research reading, we won't be as likely to be captive to the "bias" of any one so called guru. Dr. Fuhrman is great. But, that doesn't mean he is right about everything. Also, I'll be he really isn't as rigid about starches as it may appear, especially for active people.

P.S. the second to last sentence in the last post should read...Now the fat issue is debatable.

kneecap said...

HI Howard, I agree about the calorie dilemma. I think in my older age, my metabolism is a lot lower than it used to be so I can skip the starches and grains (except the beats and sweet potatoes because all would be darkness and chaos). But it seems reasonable that younger people and more active people probably need the starches and grains.