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Thread: USDA says butter and cream are "empty calories". Thoughts? page 2

  1. #11
    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    I think that it's because everyone always looks at the "nutrition/calorie" ratio, or ANDI score. It's a pretty good scale for vegetables and fruit, to help you pick more nutritious ones, but I think the scale can be skewed by having really low calories, which isn't really all that useful for me, as I'm trying to gain weight. The main thing that drives up calories in most fruit is the sugars, so if you are trying to be low-carb, that will help.

    It's also telling that the creator of that scale felt that meat, seafood, and dairy weren't healthful.

  2. #12
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    The USDA can bite me! Butter and cream make life worth living.

  3. #13
    Nelle's Avatar
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    haha, you guys are awesome. The USDA is still pushing a low-fat or fat-free diet except they do encourage a limited amount of olive & canola oil. (side question RE: canola oil-- after learning about how processed it is, I don't eat it anymore. Does anyone have a credible source I can post in my class on why it's not as good as the good ol' gubment says?) It's definitely been an interesting experience. For the assignments, I hold my nose and tell the teacher what she wants to hear but on our discussion forum (it's an online class) I have mentioned a few times my true opinions on fat, grains, and other food.

  4. #14
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    First, you have to see that the USDA is invested in promoting a grain-based diet because big agribusiness makes more money from grain, CAFO foods, and franken foods than it does from healthily raised animals and plants.

    Let's toss a few numbers out. Fictional woman. 120 lbs. Not a couch potato, but not a gym rat. Maybe 35-45 years old. She's learned over time that the average daily calories needed to maintain her weight is about 1500.

    She eats about .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight or 96 grams. Each gram of protein has 4 calories, so her calories from protein are 4 x 96 = 384. Let's say that she eats mostly lean proteins, so she gets another 100 calories from fat.

    She tries to eat healthy and so eats enough veggies and fruits to consume 120 gms of carbs - I chose this number because our fictional woman has maintained her weight for a bunch of years and this number is at the lowish end of what Mark calls the sweet spot on the carb curve for maintaining weight. Also 4 calories per gram, 4 x 120 = 480.

    So, from the totals above (384+100+480), she's eating 964 calories per day.

    According to the USDA, she should choose all those yummy grains to get the other 536 calories she needs to sustain life. People who believe that the USDA has been literally killing us with their "advice" in the last thirty years think she should be eating more fat. So, assuming she gets all her vitamins from the 964 calories above, she doesn't need for fats to be particularly nutritional, which is also a reason why the USDA shoves grains down everyone's throat - most of them aren't very nutritional either.

    IOW, if you eat nutritionally dense foods (animals and colorful veggies and fruits) and get all your vitamins, you can eat all the empty calories you want (within your body's caloric needs) and they're not necessarily going to hurt you. In fact, if you get your calories from healthy fats, some of us believe it will help you because unlike grains, it will sate your appetite and not give you gut problems.

    "Empty calories" is an old throwback idea to the calorie only model. Basically it was, at the time, fairly common sense and meant that you shouldn't be eating candy and cakes, etc., because you weren't getting nutrients from them. And if you're eating low nutrient density foods, like grains, fat could be considered empty calories, because you could be starving yourself of nutrients. But in addition to nutrients, we need fuel. Fat is good fuel.

    I'm not sure if that's the most coherent thing I've ever posted, but I gave it a shot.

  5. #15
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    What's an empty calorie? You could say that sweet potato is an "empty vitamin A" because it's only rich in vitamin A (which it's not really but that's not the point". Saturated fat is needed jus like vitamins. So then you could say butter is "empty saturated fat" which isn't bad at all.
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  6. #16
    healthy11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nelle View Post
    haha, you guys are awesome. The USDA is still pushing a low-fat or fat-free diet except they do encourage a limited amount of olive & canola oil. (side question RE: canola oil-- after learning about how processed it is, I don't eat it anymore. Does anyone have a credible source I can post in my class on why it's not as good as the good ol' gubment says?) It's definitely been an interesting experience. For the assignments, I hold my nose and tell the teacher what she wants to hear but on our discussion forum (it's an online class) I have mentioned a few times my true opinions on fat, grains, and other food.
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    Last edited by healthy11; 11-03-2012 at 07:16 AM.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanieL View Post
    I'm not sure if that's the most coherent thing I've ever posted, but I gave it a shot.
    Actually that was very good and I hadn't thought of it like that. That after you got your nutrients, you'd be left with quite a few calories to fill out. If you choose to fill them out with fat, you'll not only absorb more of the nutrients, you'll feel happy and satisfied and have joints that don't get inflamed. But if you choose to fill out those calories with grains, you could end up triggering hunger or truly empty calories like cookies which lead to weight gain and for folks like me, you could also end up fat with subclinical metabolic syndrome (which likely would have turned into the real thing in another decade.)
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanieL View Post
    I'm not sure if that's the most coherent thing I've ever posted, but I gave it a shot.
    I liked it, and it makes sense.

  9. #19
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    You need very little fat in your diet in order to meet requirements, and so yes butter is essentially empty calories. That means it shouldn't make up a significant proportion of your diet.

  10. #20
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    I smell troll........

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