Intermittent Fasting: Why intermittent fasting is testing my mental arithmetic!

Alistair Hall

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Last week I reverted to one meal per day in the evening. I find this the easiest and in terms of having a little less than 600 calories to play with, it’s quite enjoyable planning my meal. Why slightly less than 600? I’m even counting my green tea (2 calories per cup) and black coffee (4 calories per cup). That’s probably surprised a few of you who thought there were no calories in black tea and coffee!

But on to this week’s topic and all I can say is that I hope that the benefits to the brain (we’re all supposed to think more clearly as a result of fasting) start to become apparent quickly because the food industry is doing its utmost to test my mental arithmetic! Let’s see how you get on with this brain teaser. A man goes into the supermarket and buys 3 items:

180 grams of pineapple, at 46 calories per 80g

160 grams of blueberries and raspberries, at 32 calories per 100g

200 grams of papaya and mango at 48 calories per 80g

He ate the whole lot in one go – how many calories did he consume? Come on now, surely you can work that one out as you stand in the check-out line? No? Well the answer is 274.7 and I only know that because I knocked up a quick spread-sheet as I was waiting in-line (yes, I am that man).

Now you might all think that is totally acceptable as of course just because you buy 180 grams of pineapple doesn’t mean to say that you eat 180 grams of pineapple. That is until you realize that all these items were in the food-to-go section and were packaged and marketed as single portions. So given that people are likely to eat the whole thing, why on earth can’t they give the calories of the whole thing? Duh!

Some supermarkets are better than others and are at least trying to make things simple. For example one supermarket gives the information (at least some of the time) in easy to understand terms. I bought a pack of two chicken breasts and was informed that the average chicken breast contained 205 calories. Useful information, however, when I weighed them both, one was 195g and the other was 155g and on this occasion they didn’t give the calories per 100g as they do on most items. Calories per 100g is the easiest universal measure as it is easy to multiply and divide by one hundred in your head.

So come on supermarkets, please give us intermittent fasters and calorie counters a break and get your act together on food labeling. If you can be bothered to put it on there in the first place you may as well make it easy to use!


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