Saturday, 30 July 2011

Anchor Light Real Cream

Whipped cream makes a delicious topping for desserts. But when you’re trying to reduce calories and fat, you generally have to swap to healthier alternatives such as fat free fromage frais or natural yogurt. However, you can still enjoy the taste of real dairy cream with Anchor Light Real Cream which contains 45% less fat than the standard equivalent.

Anchor Light Real Cream comes in a 250g aerosol can and is also known as ‘squirty cream’. It’s ultra heat treated so it keeps for months in the fridge. To use, simply give it a shake, then hold the can upside down while pressing the nozzle, and out comes your whipped cream.

An average squirt of cream (24g) has only 24 calories. Squirt some on a bowl of fruit and sugar free jelly for a delicious low calorie dessert.

Nutritional Information: Per 100g: 195 calories, 2.8g protein, 7.8g carbohydrate, 7.5g sugar, 17g fat, 11.9g saturates, 0.3g fibre, 0.1g salt. Suitable for vegetarians.

Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Grated Mature Cheese

There’s no getting away from the fact that most types of cheese are high in fat and calories. But if you’re on a diet and you love eating cheese, there are healthier options out there. One such choice is Weight Watchers reduced fat, grated mature cheese.
Grated cheese is perfect for sprinkling over salads, stirring through pasta or as a topping for baked potatoes.
Weight Watchers grated mature cheese has 43 calories per 20g serving (about the size of a matchbox) and has less than a third of the fat and saturated fat of regular cheddar cheese.
It’s available in a 200g re-sealable packet from larger supermarkets.
Nutritional Information: Per 100g: 214 calories, 30.5g protein, 0.6g carbohydrate, 0.1g sugar, 10g fat, 6.5g saturates, 2g salt. Suitable for vegetarians. (Regular cheddar cheese contains an average of 410 calories, 34g of fat and 21g of saturated fat per 100g)

Per 20g serving: 43 calories, 6.2g protein, <0.1g carbohydrate, 2.1g fat, 1.3g saturated fat, 0.4g salt. 1 Weight Watchers ProPoint.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Is Dark Chocolate Good For Your Health?

Most of us have a pretty good idea of what’s healthy and what’s not. But one food which causes some confusion is chocolate. Because of its high calorie content, chocolate is often the first treat to be left off the shopping list when going on a diet. However, several studies have discovered that chocolate does have some redeeming health benefits. Not just any old chocolate though. It has to be dark chocolate and it must contain at least 70 percent cocoa solids.

Dark chocolate benefits

Dark chocolate has some distinct health advantages over milk chocolate which means you can eat a little each day without feeling guilty. Good quality dark chocolate contains a greater amount of cocoa, which is considered to be one of the world’s most beneficial ‘superfoods’.

Cocoa has high levels of antioxidants which are important for fighting off free-radicals, which can lead to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. It can also help with lowering blood pressure. The antioxidants found in a bar of dark chocolate are on a par with those found in red wine and are even greater than fruit juice.

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating around 6g of dark chocolate a day for two weeks can reduce blood pressure and the risk of diabetes. This particular study included people suffering from blood pressure problems or diabetes who were given either white or dark chocolate and then asked to swap. Those eating the dark chocolate found their blood pressure and insulin resistance had lowered. But eating white chocolate produced no effect.

Dark chocolate nutrition

Dark chocolate provides further nutrients which are beneficial for health. Besides its antioxidant properties, it also contains a good source of magnesium and some calcium.

Unfortunately, dark chocolate has a similar number of calories and fat content as milk chocolate. On average, 100g of milk chocolate contains 588 calories and 100g of dark chocolate has 544 calories, though this will obviously vary from bar to bar.

To get the most health benefits from dark chocolate, look for chocolate with a cocoa solids content of at least 70 percent. Some brands of dark chocolate don’t quite make the 70 percent mark, so check the ingredients carefully.

Some good quality dark chocolate brands to look out for include:

Lindt 70% Cocoa Dark Noir: Per 100g: 520 calories, 40g fat, 24g saturated fat and 28g of sugar.

Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate: Per 100g: 630 calories, 13.8g sugar, 53.5g fat of which 32.1g is saturated fat.

Tesco Finest Swiss 72% Dark Chocolate: Per 100g: 563 calories, 27g of sugar, 45.6g of fat of which 27.4g are saturates.


Lindt Excellence 85% cocoa Dark Extra Fine Chocolate: Per 100g: 521 calories, 46g of fat, 27g of saturated fat, 15g of sugar.

Divine Fairtrade Dark 70% Chocolate: Per 100g: 554 calories, 46.3g fat, 29.2g saturated fat.

Several supermarkets have their own brand dark chocolates, such as Tesco’s Finest Swiss 72% Plain Chocolate as shown above. Watch out though, because not all chocolate called ‘plain’ chocolate has such a high cocoa content.

Even if you are on a diet or just watching your weight, there is no harm in treating yourself to a little dark chocolate each day. But, as can be seen from the nutritional information, it’s still loaded with calories and unhealthy saturated fat. However, the greater cocoa content in dark chocolate means just a small square or two is usually enough to provide you with that chocolate hit.

© Diets and Calories 2011

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Aunt Bessie's Delicious Mashed Carrot & Swede

Aunt Bessie are increasing their range of frozen products at a rapid rate. It's not surprising they're popular, as their products make cooking so much easier and save loads of preparation time. As part of their vegetable range you can find Aunt Bessie’s Mashed Carrot & Swede. They’re available in a 500g bag and similar to Aunt Bessie's Homestyle Mash, carrot & swede is formed into individual frozen blocks.

Not only is Aunt Bessie’s Mashed Carrot & Swede really tasty, it’s exceptionally low in calories, healthy and filling. Each 100g has just 32 calories with the entire 500g bag containing 160 calories.

They’re cooked from frozen, so you take out however many blocks you need, straight from the freezer. You can cook them in a saucepan or in the microwave for around 7 minutes.

Here’s a word from Aunt Bessie herself:

I’ve selected juicy carrots and crunchy Swedes to go into my recipe. I simply mash them with butter and a little salt & pepper. Now it’s over to you! Simply heat up for a delicious family dish that’s perfect any night of the week!”

You can find them in the freezer section of Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury as well as various other stores.

Nutritional Information: Per 100g: 32 calories, 0.8g protein, 6.1g carbohydrate, 2.5g sugar, 1.3g fat, 0.8g saturates, 0.3g fibre, 0.4g sodium. Suitable for vegetarians.

Frozen Carrot & Swede

Cooked Carrot & Swede

Spiral Lollies by Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s have a great range of ice lollies on sale, many of which are their own brand. Spiral lollies on a stick are made from vanilla & chocolate flavoured dairy ice cream and are shaped into a spiral swirl. They're a big hit with children, but adults may find they make a nice treat, especially since each lolly has only 68 calories. They’re available from Sainsbury’s in boxes of four.

Nutritional Information: Per lolly: 68 calories, 1.3g protein, 8.1g carbohydrate, 5.2g sugar, 3.4g fat, 2.0g saturates, 0.2g fibre, trace salt. Suitable for vegetarians.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Fat People More Likely To Stay That Way

There is more gloomy news for hard pressed dieters. According to research by scientists from the Medical Research Council, people who are overweight are more likely to stay fat. And this is apparently true even when weight is lost through dieting and exercising.
Out of the 12 million Britons who embark on a diet each year, less than 10 percent of them will succeed in losing a significant amount of weight. And of these, the majority will end up regaining most, if not all of the weight lost.

The study monitored 5,362 men and women from their birth in 1946 and another 20,000 from their birth in 1958. Measurements such as weight, blood pressure and lifestyles were taken into account. The researchers found that both groups started gaining weight in the 1980s and have continued gaining ever since.

Dr Rebecca Hardy, the study’s leader on body size, said: ‘Once people become overweight, they continue relentlessly upwards. They hardly ever go back down.’

She also commented that men gained weight steadily throughout their life while women started gaining slowly, then accelerated once they reached their mid-thirties.

The nation’s propensity for never ending dieting is obviously great news for the weight loss industry. However, research findings such as this can be enough to make us stop and wonder whether it's really worth all the bother of even trying to lose weight.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we should give up on dieting altogether. Indeed, the pattern of yo-yo dieting may even have some health benefits, as found in research by the Calorie Control Council. 

And if you are one of the 12 million Britons on a diet, don’t be put off from your goal. Many thousands of people do manage to lose weight and keep it off. Just remain positive and never lose sight of benefits of slimming down.

Source: Daily Mail

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Weight Watchers Rich Chocolate Dessert

Weight Watchers Rich Chocolate Dessert is exactly that. A rich, creamy, custard style dessert where each spoonful provides an intense chocolate hit. Although each pot contains just 70g, it’s just the right size as an after dinner treat. Each pot has 62 calories and is worth 2 ProPoints.

Weight Watchers Rich Chocolate Desserts are available in twin packs 2 x 70g in larger supermarkets.

Nutritional Information: Per pot: 62 calories, 2.5g protein, 9.4g carbohydrate, 7.1g sugar, 1.7g fat, 1.1g saturates, 1g fibre, 0.1g salt. Suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs. 2 ProPoints per pot.

Morrisons Diet Dandelion & Burdock

Dandelion & Burdock is a traditional British drink which, according to some sources, dates back to the 13th century. When made the traditional way, using fermented dandelions and burdock roots, the drink has a natural fizz. But these days, unless you choose a brand such as Fentimans, dandelion & burdock is more likely to be artificially flavoured with carbonated water for the fizz.

Morrison’s Diet Dandelion & Burdock however, has no artificial colours or flavours and has only 7 calories per 500ml bottle. You can find it in most branches of Morrisons.

Nutritional Information: Per 500ml bottle: 7 calories, trace protein, 0.9g carbohydrate, trace sugar, 0g fat, 0g saturates, trace salt. Suitable for vegetarians.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Outline of the LighterLife Diet

The LighterLife diet has been around since 1996 and is one of few ‘very low calorie diets' which provides dieters with their recommended amounts of nutrients each day.

It’s helped numerous people lose large amounts of weight where other diets have failed. This includes television actress, Pauline Quirke, who lost an amazing 6st 6lbs in just 7 months while following the LighterLife diet.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Kellogg’s Special K Double Milk Chocolate Bar

A new cereal bar from Kellogg’s Special K is called ‘Double Milk Chocolate’. It’s very sweet and chewy, a bit like a lightweight flapjack. It has a smooth, chocolate flavoured layer on the bottom with tiny chocolate chips throughout. Each bar has 80 calories.

They're available in supermarkets and smaller stores, though the introductory price shown in the photo probably won't be around for long.

Nutritional Information: Per 20g bar: 80 calories, 2g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, 2g fat, 1g saturates, 2g fibre, 0.1g salt. Suitable for vegetarians.

Weight Watchers Chocolate & Toffee Mini Pot Swirls

Weight Watchers Mini Pots Swirls are so delicious, it’s hard to believe they're a diet product. These frozen iced desserts taste the same as ice cream and are just like the little individual pots of ice cream you find on sale in theatres or at the cinema, but with a fraction of the calories.

Each box of 4 mini pots contains two flavours: Chocolate and Toffee Fudge. The Chocolate pots consist of a chocolate flavoured iced dessert with chocolate covered honeycomb pieces and a chocolate flavoured sauce swirl. The Toffee flavoured desserts have tiny fudge pieces with a caramel flavoured sauce swirl.

Both flavours have only 77 calories and contain very little fat. They also have a reasonable amount of fibre. You can find these delightful mini pots in the freezer section of larger supermarkets.

Nutritional Information: Per 100ml pot: 77 calories, 1.2g protein, 14.1g carbohydrate, 8.7g sugar, 1.4g fat, 0.9g saturates, 3.0g fibre, 0.1g salt. Each pot is worth 2 Weight Watchers ProPoints. They are suitable for vegetarians but may contain traces of peanuts, nuts and egg.

What they look like underneath the lid. Yummmm!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

8 Meringue Nests, Marks and Spencer

Meringues are really versatile and can be used in a variety of desserts such as pavlovas and Eton mess. And despite the fact they’re made with sugar, they are surprisingly low in calories.

These mini meringues from Marks and Spencer are available in boxes of 8 and each meringue has only 50 calories. They’re also virtually fat free and salt free with the only two ingredients being egg and sugar.

They are perfectly cooked with a crisp, caramelised outside and an inside which just melts in your mouth with it's soft, chewy texture.

Marks and Spencer meringues have a long shelf life of around three months so you don't need to get through them all in one go if you don't need to.

Top them with fresh fruit and fromage frais for a tasty and appetising dessert.

Nutritional Information: Per meringue: 50 calories, 0.6g protein, 11.7g carbohydrate, 11.7g sugar, trace fat, trace saturates, trace fibre, trace salt. Suitable for vegetarians but not suitable for nut allergy sufferers.

Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein, 'Count on Us'

Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein is from the Marks and Spencer’s ‘Count on Us’ range which provide a lower calorie option for those who are watching their waistlines. They're readily available in all Marks and Spencer food stores.

Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein is a complete meal for one which has just 265 calories per 380g pack. It's low in saturated fat, with 50 percent less fat in comparison with Marks and Spencer's regular chicken Chow Mein. Each meal also counts as 1 of your 5 a day. You can cook it in the oven or microwave and it's also freezable.

The meal itself provides a satisfying amount of food, with plenty of vegetables and is very mild in taste.

Nutritional Information: Per pack (380g): 265 calories, 23.9g protein, 33.1g carbohydrate, 5.3g sugar, 4.9g fat, 0.8g saturates, 8g fibre, 1.9g salt. Each pack is worth 7 Weight Watchers ProPoints as calculated by Marks and Spencer.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How Your Utensils Can Help You Lose Weight

Going on a diet can play havoc with your mind. It makes you hungry when you're not. It makes you crave foods you can't have. It makes you depressed and finally abandon the diet altogether.

Fortunately, there are mind games you can use to subconsciously convince your brain that you’ve eaten more than you really have. One of these involves using a teaspoon instead of a regular spoon when eating food such as desserts or breakfast cereal for example.

Doing this not only makes your food last longer, you’ll be taking more spoonfuls of food. This subconsciously leads you to believe you’ve eaten more than you really have. Plus, if you’re taking longer to get through your food, your stomach will have a chance to start sending signals to your brain that it’s filling up. This doesn’t happen so readily if you bolt your food down in a hurry.

In contrast, an interesting finding from researchers at the University of Utah have discovered that using a larger fork when eating out, causes you to eat less food. During a two day experiment in an Italian restaurant, tables were set with a big fork or a regular sized fork. Tables with the larger forks were given plates with 20 percent more food and those with smaller plates given 20 percent less food.

Food was weighed before and after to calculate how much was eaten. Researchers found those with the larger forks and bigger meals consistently left more food. The authors believe that the size of the fork helps the diner see how much of their meal is left before finishing, while those using the smaller forks felt their progress was slower, causing them to make more of an effort to satisfying their hunger. This resulted in them eating more.

What does this all really mean? Possibly that many of us rely on external factors to help us decide when to stop eating, rather than waiting for signals from our stomach informing us when we’re full up. It’s all quite confusing. But when it comes down to losing weight, it’s always worthwhile trying out different methods to see what works for you.

This report was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sainsbury’s Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam

Jam is a popular spread which is enjoyed by many people and it's especially delicious when spread onto hot toast. While jam might contain a lot of fruit, this is usually equaled by the sugar content. So jam will never be a low calorie food. However, you can save quite a few calories by choosing low sugar or reduced sugar jams.

Sainsbury’s Reduced Sugar strawberry jam is packed with strawberries and has an easy to spread consistency. It has 183 calories and 39.9g of sugar per 100g compared with 254 calories and 48.5g of sugar per 100g for Sainsbury’s regular strawberry jam. So using the reduced sugar version will save you 16 calories per tablespoon.

Found in most Sainsbury’s stores.

Nutritional Information: Per tablespoon (23g): 42 calories, 0.1g protein, 10.2g carbohydrate, 9.2g sugar, trace fat, trace saturates, 0.3g fibre, trace salt. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Ross 4 Fish Steaks in Butter Sauce

Most of us should try to eat more fish. It’s healthy, low in fat, and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. But not everyone knows what to do with a piece of fish, apart from frying it, which of course, isn’t the healthiest way to cook food. And smothering fish in fattening sauces doesn’t help the waistline much either. This is where good old boil in the bag fish steaks can help you out. These fish steaks in butter sauce are made by Ross and are exceptionally low in calories despite the butter sauce.

Each box contains 4 frozen fish steaks with the fish in question being Pollock. Unfortunately, fish accounts for only 49 percent of each bag and the rest is sauce. Although the fish and sauce tastes nice, the sauce is quite watery. It does however, make a quick, healthy and low calorie meal and it goes well with Aunt Bessie’s mashed potato and some steamed vegetables.

Available in larger supermarkets in the freezer section.

Nutritional Information: Per steak: 111 calories, 14.8g protein, 3.6g carbohydrate, 2.1g sugar, 4.2g fat, 2.8g saturates, 1.1g salt, 114mg omega 3. Suitable for vegetarians.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Traffic Light and Nutrient Guides Fat, Sugar and Salt

Making healthy choices when shopping for food isn’t always that easy, especially if you’re buying food that’s been processed in any way. Although nutritional labels can be helpful by informing you how many calories a product contains, or how much fat it has per portion, sometimes you need to read the small print just to find out whether something is really high in fat, sugar or calories.

For example, some products might be promoted as being reduced in fat, but it could still be a high fat product. And of course, manufacturers aren’t going to advertise this aspect. Instead, you can get a clearer idea of whether a product is high or low in fat, sugar or calories, by inspecting the nutritional label and looking for the amounts per 100g.

The table below can give you an idea of what amounts are considered, high, medium or low per 100g for sugar, fat and salt.

Nutrient per 100g
Over 15g
5g - 15g
5g and below
Over 20g
3g – 20g
3g and below
Saturated Fat
Over 5g
1g – 5g
1.5g and below
Over 1.5g
0.3g – 1.5g
0.3g and below
 Source: Food and Drink Federation

The table below shows how many grams per day the average healthy, normal weight person needs of the various different nutrients commonly found on nutrition labels.

Daily Guidelines for Different Nutrients
Typical Values
(5-10 years)
2,000 kcal
2,500 kcal
1,800 kcal

Source: Food and Drink Federation

So next time you're unsure whether something has too much salt, fat or sugar to be considered healthy, just look at the amounts per 100g and make an informed judgement for yourself.

© Diets and Calories 2011

Friday, 15 July 2011

Del Monte 100% Juice Ice Lollies

When the weather’s hot and you’re thirsty, an icy cold drink of juice usually goes down well. The trouble is, it can go down too fast. To make it last longer, why not eat your juice frozen on a stick! If you haven’t got time to freeze your own juice, Del Monte have two different flavour ice lollies: Orange or Pineapple, both of which are made from 100% fruit juice.

The orange lollies have 73 calories each and the pineapple have slightly less with 65 calories. Although they are high in sugar, each ice lolly is equivalent to eating one portion of fruit, so it counts as one of your ‘5 a day’. They're available in boxes of 3 in most supermarkets.

Nutritional Information: Per pineapple ice lolly: 65 calories, 0.6g protein, 15.5g sugar, trace fat, trace saturates, trace salt. Suitable for vegetarians.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Del Monte Raspberry Iced Smoothie

Del Monte's Raspberry Iced Smoothies are deliciously, thick and creamy ice lollies on a stick. Each lolly has 25% raspberry puree and a tiny amount of blackcurrant puree. They are high in sugar unfortunately, which accounts for most of the calories. Each smoothie lolly has the equivalent of 4 and a half teaspoons of sugar.

But on a happier note, there's practically no fat or salt and each one has only 81 calories.

Del Monte's Iced Smoothies are also available in mango flavour. They're widely available in supermarkets in packs of three and are suitable for vegetarians.

Nutritional Information: Per 90ml smoothie: 88 calories, 0.3g protein, 19.2g carbohydrates, 18.5g sugar, 0.2g fat, 0.1g saturated fat, 0.5g fibre, 0.05gsalt.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Obsession With Diets and Calories Leads To Unhealthy Eating

According to a study of 2,000 consumers carried out for the vitamin supplement makers, Seven Seas, people in Britain seem to be more concerned with counting calories or embarking on new diets, rather than eating healthy food.

The study found that around one in five men and women begin a new diet every month. However, from the women’s point of view, around 63 percent of them believe there is too much pressure for them to be slim. Despite this, 43 percent of women regularly shop for low-calorie food while 36 percent of men and women look for the least fattening food items while shopping.

Although seven in ten people said they wanted to improve their health, many of them said they were too busy to do so. And generally, people think there are too many contradictory messages regarding which foods are healthy.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the eternal merry go round of dieting, is a result of eating too many sweets. According to the findings, almost two-thirds of people ate sweets at least once a week and half of the mothers admitted their shopping basket was usually influenced by their children’s preferences. In other words, unhealthy.

It seems the older generation are certainly wiser, since almost three quarters of them manage to eat their ‘5 a day’. On the other hand, only a quarter of the 16 to 24 years olds can say the same thing.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, a nutritionist from Manchester Metropolitan University, who contributed to the report, said that although acknowledging calorie intake was important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of ‘good nutrition’. People often choose low calorie processed foods which aren’t always the healthiest, and often contain unacceptably high levels of salt, sugar or additives.

People have always found it a struggle to lose weight and easy to put it on. That’s why the dieting industry is so successful. But isn’t it strange that in these days where diet foods are more plentiful than ever, we’re faced with an obesity epidemic. People seem to be torn one way or the other, veering from dieting to over eating with no happy medium. Perhaps if we all just got back to the basics, we’d be a lot healthier and less obsessed with dieting.

Source: Daily Mail

Monday, 11 July 2011

Robinsons Fruit Shoot Hydro Mini Sugar Free

Robinsons Fruit Shoot Hydro Mini are sugar free, flavoured bottles of spring water which are targeted towards active kids. They’re available in multi packs of 8 x 250ml and larger bottles come in packs of 4 x 350ml (for thirstier kids)! Flavours available include Blackcurrant, Orange and Pineapple, or Apple & Raspberry.

As described on the cardboard outer sleeve: ‘Fruit Shoot Hydro is an exciting product combining the very best of 2 worlds: A product that is as hydrating as it is great tasting, all in a bottle with a spill free sports cap. It’s just as rough and tumble as they are and it’s great for kids on the go!

Available in larger branches of major supermarkets.

Nutritional Information: Per 250ml bottle: 3 calories, trace protein, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar, 0g fat, 0g saturates, 0g salt.


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