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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Small Packs Trick Dieters

Let me just start with saying that I love and hate these little "100 calorie packs" that have infiltrated every aisle of the grocery store. I love them because they help people control portions (or so I thought). We have learned as Americans that we cannot control our portions ourselves, so buying a smaller package is one way to control portion.

I dislike them for more reasons. Most of them are filled with ingredients that are not good for us! The majority of the 100 calorie packs out there are refined flour and sugar puffed with air and put into a small bag inside of a box that costs more and pollutes the environment. Even though I am a dietitian, I am not a perfect eater. I love sweets just like the rest of you! But I have made a very conscious effort to not have these lying around the house because I will tend to eat them thinking, "It is ONLY 100 calories!"

Many people are shocked when they hear my dislike for these little 100 calorie packs because these same people think the tiny packs are good "diet food." I prefer to recommend snacking on foods that are more nutritious and have a lower glycemic index.

The reason I started this blog ranting about the 100 calorie packs is because of a new study in the October issue of Journal of Consumer Research. This study found that the smaller packages were more likely to fuel temptation because "they are considered to be innocent pleasures," say the researchers. When subjects were observed watching TV they were more likely to open a 100 calorie pack than either skip the snack or open a larger bag.

Bottom line
Every calorie counts. Choose snacks that will five you some nutritional value and satisfaction. Small bags filled with white flour and sugar may make you feel a bit better for a short period of time, but they will not give you lasting energy (think spike and fall in blood sugar). And don't forget that just an extra 100 calories per day leads to 10 pounds of weight gain per year (3,500 calories equals a pound).

Photo courtesy of totalfitmom.com
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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