Monday, May 28, 2012

Calories in the 6 week plan

I have had this feeling that Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week plan could be too high in calories for some of us older women so I decided to do a quick analysis of the calories.  Below is a list of items that many people on the Fuhrman forums would say is consistent with the 6 week plan, and my estimates of the calories.  I'll put calories in red:

1 lb raw veggies.  150 (can be 100-200 so I picked the average).
1 lb cooked veggies.  150
1 cup cooked beans.   250
at least 4 fresh fruits.  400.  this is very uncertain.  fruits vary widely and people vary widely in their interpretation of how much counts as 1 serving. this is a danger zone if you ask me.   I used 2 large apples and 2 large oranges for this number.
1 cup cooked starchy veggie or whole grain.  200
1 oz nuts and seed.  180
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed.  50
2 oz avocado  90

total:  1470.

That's more than I want when losing weight.   It's fine for a man or a young woman but not most of us women 50 years and older.   This is why it's not such a horrible idea to count calories just for a few days.  This diet could be tweaked in many ways to get down to 1300 calories:  e.g., by limiting the fruit to1 lb of low-sweet fruit, e.g, strawberries, which are only 150 calories per lb.  Then the total is 1220.

Or, say you have some extra fruit one day, then maybe nix the avocado, or the starchy veg.   I don't think I need an entire oz of nuts and seeds + 1 Tbsp of flaxseed plus 2 oz avocado for my healthy fats every single day, especially since I eat about 5 oz of soy yogurt every day which has a lot of healthy fat.

My point is, for older women, you might have to mix and match the fruit with the starchy veggies and healthy fats--i.e., not eat the full "recommended" amount all in one day.

For jollies, here's what I've been having lately:

3 lb raw veggies.  450  
1/2-1 lb cooked veggies.  100
1 cup cooked beans.   250
1-2 lbs fruit (1 lb if I eat a starchy veg).    150-300
1 cup cooked starchy veggie or whole grain (sometimes).  0-200
1/2-1 oz seed (depends on if I eat a starchy veg that day).  75-150
soy yogurt (also good healthy fat source)  50

total:  1400.

I mix and match my fruit and seeds and starchy veggies; that is, I don't eat the max amount of all three.

So say you don't want to count calories.  It seems to me the recommended amounts should be bit lower on the high calorie foods.  Dr. Fuhrman has said you can include your flaxseed in with your 1 oz nuts and seeds, if trying to lose weight.  How about 1 lb fruit maximum, and if you want avocado or soy products (edamame, tofu, soy yogurt are all high in healthy fats) one day, lower your nuts and seeds for that day.  Then you get:

1 lb raw veggies.  150 (can be 100-200 so I picked the average).
1 lb cooked veggies.  150
1 cup cooked beans.   250
1 lb low-sugar fruit.  150.
1 cup cooked starchy veggie or whole grain.  200
1 oz nuts and seed (including 1 Tbsp flaxseed).  180
0 oz avocado  0

total:  1080.

Fortunately this is too low for most people.  Now you can add in some extra things you like, but not all on the same day:   a serving of fruit (maybe even a sweet one), a small amount of avocado, soy yogurt, a date, etc.  My go-to treats are soy yogurt (on my strawberries), and lots of carrots and sugar snap peas. I also love sweet potatoes, and sweet corn in the summer.  


Anonymous said...

Great analysis. Thanks!

Marmee said...

From what I understood, when I read ETL, Dr. F recommends that you do not eat the nuts or avocado if you are attempting to lose weight.

kneecap said...

Mamee, my understanding is that Dr. Fuhrman recommends 1 oz of nuts and seeds for everyone, no exceptions. I asked him specifically once about older women with lower metabolism trying to lose weight and he replied, 1 oz is a minimum.

Shanna said...

What beans are so high in calories? I just checked my cans and they range from pinto 160 cal to kidney 220.

I do not even spend time on cooking beans, just buy a cart full whenever they are around $1 a can. Whole foods has really low sodiun ones.

kneecap said...

Hi Shanna, I guess it varies. I weighed one cup of beans and put it into cronometer and that's what it came up with. but my beans were home-made and thick with juice so might have been heavier from the liquid. I know chickpeas are higher calorie than most and red kidney beans are one of the lowest.

Anonymous said...

I have read that Dr Fuhrman has said that especially for people who want to lose weight the 1 tbsp of flax seed is part of the 1 oz nuts/seeds a day. So that's another 50 calories less...

I do agree with you that for many people (especially smaller older women) who want to lose weight 1500 calories is too much food and that it is good to be somewhat aware of calories, especially if weightloss becomes harder.

Unknown said...

OMG no wonder I've been gaining weight on ETL. I need to tweak the diet, as you have. Thanks.


kneecap said...

thanks for your comments. I edited the post again reflecting your input. I put the beans at 250 calories per cup. I left the extra 1 Tbsp of flaxseed in the top list because a lot of people think this is standard. I removed it in the bottom list. so the bottom list has more wiggle room for adding back in things, even for us older women!

Hi mberkowitz, nice to see you!