Nutritional Breakdown of the egg
Many people ask me why they can’t have eggs when doing the AgeLess Weight Management Program in place of Eggbeaters or just egg whites. The answer is pretty simple- they are more calories. For instance, the breakdown of 1/2 cup scrambled eggs ( not factoring any milk or other ingredients ) is:
183 cal., 12.2 g protein, and 13.4 g of fat
Now let’s look at the same amount of egg whites : 63 cal., 13 g protein, and < 1g fat.
So you’re getting the same amount of protein in a 1/2 cup of egg whites, and a fraction of the calories and fat ! Have you ever wondered why ?
Well to find out we have to have a look inside the egg itself.
Okay, that didn’t help much did it ? Let’s try again.
The Anatomy of the Egg
When you look at this picture, you have to remember is that the eggs isn’t intended by Nature to be food for us, but food as well as a life support system for a baby bird.
The yolk of an egg is meant to be not only the place where the embryo germinates but also is a food source for the chick. Just prior to hatching, the chick will draw in the yolk and the nutrition it provides through the umbilicus for the difficult task that is involved in breaking out of the eggshell. Actually, the nutrition provided by the egg yolk can sustain the newly hatched fuzzball for up to 72 hours after hatching. This is how hatcheries are able to ship day old chicks across the country with no food or water.
( Feeling guilty about eating eggs ? Don’t. Eggs you buy in the stores are infertile. )
So think about how much energy would be required to do all that hard work and then still have enough to sustain yourself for a couple days beyond that. That’s how much fat and how many calories the yolk of the egg provides. However for us humans, especially those of us who are trying to lose a few pounds all that fat and calories is unnecessary.
The egg white ( albumen ) however is simply there to protect the yolk and embryo when necessary. Sort of like Nature’s bubble wrap only not as much fun to play with. It doesn’t need to provide much in the way of nutrition to the baby bird, but for us humans it is a good, low calorie source of protein.
All those other parts of the egg are pretty cool and serve a function as well, but nothing that has to do with dietary uses for eggs, instead all designed for a specific function in the development of a new chicken. Ask me about it sometime if you want to see how big a nerd I am.
Some people don’t care for the taste of egg substitutes or find the egg white to be rather bland or tedious to separate from the yolk. There are ways to liven things up a little bit for your taste buds, mainly through the use of herbs and spices or adding some vegetables to them for a healthy, low cal omelette. A tablespoon of fresh salsa or two could go a long way as well.
So there you have it, a little biology with your breakfast. But part of healthy eating is to be informed about what exactly is it you’re eating; and while we won’t do columns on things like oatmeal ( man, I’d fall asleep writing it ) I think the egg is a pretty interesting piece of evolutionary engineering worth looking into a little more.
Eating Healthfully on the Road
Many of our weight loss clients are busy people. Whether it’s work related travel or extra curricular activity the kids are involved in, folks spend a lot of time on the go nowadays. So while sitting down as a family to a home cooked meal may be the ideal scenario, it certainly isn’t always realistic. So the question many people ask is, “How do I stick to the diet yet be able to eat on the go ?”
It’s actually pretty simple when you think about it.
One of the first things I recommend to people is to find a restaurant that has a pretty good salad bar. The reason I say this is because there you will be able to better manage what goes on your plate. By the first week or so you should be able to “eyeball” how much salad/ veggies 12 oz is so you will be able to load your plate up with lots of that at an average salad bar and walk away sated. Remember to try to stick to the leaner protein options available- often there will at least be some form of turkey or cottage cheese on hand. From there, be sure to avoid “diet killers” like chickpeas, cheese, croutons, bacon bits…you know, the “good” stuff !
If you find yourself in one of the many chain restaurants, be very careful what you order. Many people will order what they believe is a healthy, low calorie salad but in fact be getting something that is well over 1,000 calories ! For example:
Chili’s Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken – 930 cal. and 50 grams of fat
Appleby’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad – 1240 cal. and 54 grams of fat
Outback’s Queensland Salad (without dressing ) – 840 cal. and 59 grams of fat
And that’s just one meal !
When you find yourself in a situation where you are eating in a chain restaurant, the best thing to do is find the “low cal” menu many of them have, often around 500 calories or less. Also, simply substituting things like French Fries for healthier options such as steamed or grilled vegetables will cut down on the calories in your meal. Most waitstaff are able to accommodate this rather easily.
If there’s not even time for sitting down or the kids want a Happy Meal, it is possible to eat at fast food joints. For example:
McDonald’s Southwest Salad w/ grilled chicken – 320 calories
Burger King Garden Salad w/.Tender Grill chicken– 230 calories
Arby’s Turkey Club Salad – 250 calories
When ordering salads like the ones listed above, simply get them with low calorie dressing which averages around 40 calories per packet. Also, removing cheese and croutons if already on the salad will lower the calories more.
There are many resources available to consumers to find nutrition information about the food offered in most restaurants. Those with “smart phones” such as Droid or iPhone can find many useful apps to assist. For those still stuck in the 20th century ( like myself ) there is an outstanding book available,“The Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter” which lists just about any food you can think of, both in the supermarket and in restaurants.
For those who are on vacation, you may ultimately decide to throw caution to the wind and have whatever you want. After all you’re taking in the sights of a new place, you may as well have the local fare as well, right ? In cases like this I tell people, “Do your best.” but above all else enjoy your vacation, don’t cause yourself more stress by feeling guilty about that Texas BBQ you had while visiting Texas. Do your best, and when you return home return to a healthier eating plan, maybe using the AgeLess Weight Management menu to help get you back on track. Don’t stress, and don’t give up.
Travelling certainly can make sticking to a diet plan a challenge, but it’s not impossible. With a little planning and education it can be relatively simple to stay close to your ideal calorie range so you can still lose weight while dining with family, friends or co-workers while on the road.
Have YOU found a workable system of eating healthfully on the road? We’d love to hear from you.