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Why are people so obsessed with cals in food?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I really enjoy cooking and baking but I am tired of seeing people refuse good food because of the calories it contains! I mean don't over do it but can't you just enjoy life a little and try a bit of it? Does anyone else feel the same way that I do???:cry:
post #2 of 24
I think in today's age people are becoming a lot more calorie and health conscious - which is a good thing. I believe everything should be in balance, I pig out on the weekends but during the week I m quite strict.

Yes you are right people should live a little, but they also have a right to be fussy eaters too. Who are you having problems with, friends, family?
post #3 of 24
No, I don't feel the same way. I have a daily allowance of calories, which I try not to exceed. In order to eat healthy and stay within my caloric budget, it is important to have at least a working knowledge of what each food contains, not just the calories per se, but how those calories break down in good or bad carbs and good or bad fats. If I blow the whole budget on junk food, fatty, sugary or starchy treats in one sitting, I have to either go hungry the rest of the day (not an option) or exceed my nutritional allowances. I am careful, not only about the number of calories, but their nutritional values as well. Healthy eating is a lifestyle I enjoy. I wouldn't call it an obsession to want to make educated, intelligent choices on a daily basis. For the record, I have no serious health considerations such as diabets. My goal is to prevent problems and maintain good health through proper diet and exercise.
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post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
I understand that you should not overeat with junkfood and you should follow your daily caloric intake. (I eat healthy just like you.) My point is that for example if you spent 10 hours making a decedent, once in a lifetime dessert, and your friend refused to take just one bite because she was worried about getting fat. All I am saying is that if you eat one bite you won't get fat! Sometimes refusing desserts can be rude especially if the person spent 10 hours of hard work to make it. Get my point???
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
My sister is a health nut and it just makes me mad when she refuses every dish I spent a lot of time making!
post #6 of 24
:lol:

In that case I agree with you. That is ridiculous. Unless your friend is entering some Ms Fitness competition and in intense training etc. then ok, but if they are just refusing one bite for no serious reason at all then I would also be cheesed, especially if I put so much effort into it.

Some people just don'lt appreciate cooking and how much love and hard work we put into it.
post #7 of 24
IMHO its not about the calories or the fats, starches, proteins..... its about wanting to blame laziness on food instead of the consumer/person eating it. I am about 30 pounds over weight and its not because I had a slice of chocolate cake or a candy bar, its because I am to lazy to do anything about it. It is proven that you can eat almost anything in moderation as long as you have some sort of regular exercise to counter balance the consumption. Now I am not saying that you can eat an entire pizza and walk it off, but a slice or two isnt going to kill you. You need to be able to practice self control and know what the limits are.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #8 of 24
Because we all have different diets, I think it's important to consider the personalities of those we are serving to. If I have a group of women over for small party and I know more than half of them are trying to loose weight, I know cheesecake isn't going to go over well. I choose a menu that tastes great but is also within the calorie range that I know the group will be comfortable with.

However if my father is coming over, I know I can spend 10 hours on an amazing dessert and he'll eat every bit and take some home for seconds.

If you are trying to please your sister, why not look for some low calorie desserts that she would enjoy and save your amazing high calorie desserts for friends that you know will want to splurge and try some. Good luck!
post #9 of 24
The answer is simple. In order to maintain our weight we must expend the calories we take in. In order to lose weight we must take in less calories than we expend. It's about doing the math, deciding on your course of action, and doing it. It is NOT about you and your 10 hours of cooking a decadent meal. I honestly don't see why you are taking it so personally, it is not done to spite you. On the contrary I think you should be more supportive of a guest if they are showing the willpower to refuse dessert. I wish I had that kind of control.

Which brings to mind the question "why do we cook?" I assume we all cook for similar reasons... we enjoy the process and skill it requires, we love the taste of a perfectly made meal, we love watching our friends and loved ones enjoy the fruits of our work, etc. But I don't think it is appropriate to base how we feel about ourselves on every one else's opinion of our food. I don't see how it can be taken so personally that someone else is on a diet. On the same token does your guest have the right to be angry with you for not making a more calorie-friendly dessert? :crazy:

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 24
Theres no getting over it. We live in a diet, guilt ridden society, where the media hype virtually forces folk to eat well or go to hel*.
I could do with losing 20lbs, but i have given up on diets simply because of the guilt i feel when i want to , or am co-erced into eating someting "outside the plan". ie your 10 hour preparation.

My stance now is to take care most of the time and when tempted with something truly scrumptious, enjoy it.
BTW it works for me cos i use to be 30lbs plus overweight 2 years ago

PS.I wouldnt be too upset at a refusal to try your culinary delight on the grounds of calories...The poor calorie concious victim is probarbly going through a genuine mental conflict. :(
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post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am so glad someone sees my point. I am willing to share a dessert anytime with you friend!
post #12 of 24
Personally, when i hear someone (who does not have a health problem like diabetes) say "oh, i NEVER eat deserts" i feel particularly challenged to make a particularly good one. I usually get them to break down (and one desert, occasionally, is not going to ruin anything).
I think that it;s fine to be concerned about health, and junk food and too much crap in the diet. But pleasure in food is not bad. It's good. It;s healthy. It makes no sense to nme to talk about "guilt" in relation to food. Why guilt? I feel guilty if i hurt someone, not if i eat something. And truly, naturally skinny people will often be the ones who will eat whatever they please, lick the frosting off the cake and leave the cake, pick out the best of whatever it is that's there, and enjoy their food.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 24
OTOH, if you know your friend is a fussy, or careful, eater, might it not be rude to expect her to eat something she'd prefer not to eat. Maybe you could lighten up a little and allow your friend her preferences without putting any pressure on her - and just offering something that's outside her boundaries can be construed as pressure as she has to weigh insulting you - which, from your postings, seems easy to do - against her needs and preferences.

IMO, a good host will accomodate his or her guests ...
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post #14 of 24
Then, since you know her preferences, make something she likes. Since she's your sister, and her refusal to eat your dishes is not something new, you probably know what she likes. If not, ask her, and show her that you care, and maybe even learn something new yourself.

I cannot help but think it might be more than just calories that concerns your sister, for if it were just calories, she could eat smaller portions or just take a taste. Maybe there are concerns about the food itself - you say she is a "health nut." Maybe she has strong feelings about what's good for her and what's healthy. Does she prefer organic food and you don't offer it? Is she a vegetarian and you're offering her meat? Does she prefer fresh vegetables and you provide canned or frozen?

And why is it, even today, when someone's concerned about what they eat, they are often called a "nut?"
Lance
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post #15 of 24
I think this is only true to a point, because a host/hostess cannot be expected to be a slave to every diner's preconceived notions and misinformation. I'm reminded of a time when I cooked a friend some simple marinated chicken breasts sauteed in EVOO, with a pan sauce of nothing more than a bit of white wine/ balsamic/chicken stock. She declined to touch it, saying "I don't eat fried food." She was not open to learning what the difference was between frying and sauteeing, because her doctor told her no fried food due to cholesterol and I'm not a doctor.

I love the challenge of coming up with nice dinner ideas for friends who diets are restricted in some way, be it kosher or veggie or whatever. But if you're not going to be poisoned by what I made then you better eat it and like it.:mad:
post #16 of 24
The OP mentioned that the diner in question is his sister, not "every diner." By now he should know what his sister's preferences are and either prepare food - at least something - that she can eat and not publicly berate her for not wanting to eat what he presents. Do we know why she refuses some of his dishes? No, we don't, and we only know a part of the story. See my other posts for more thoughts on the matter.

"Better eat it and like it." What hubris!
Lance
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post #17 of 24
No.

Dieting for women can be very difficult. My wife is finally hitting the end of her weight loss after a baby and its not easy for her. They don't want to be tempted, they don't want a taste to get the desire to eat flowing.

They don't need someone who tries to get them to eat things they are trying to avoid and feel pressured to give in because it makes that person mad.

Did they ask you to spend 10 hours cooking something and then refuse? That would be rude.

You trying to get them to eat something they don't want to eat is equally rude.
post #18 of 24
Calories are a guidline here so we follow the mind-set that a "diet" is what you normally consume for your daily meals and try to make it as balanced as possible. That's also how we teach the DD. Maybe that way she'll have half a fighting chance to not get sucked into all those fads of poor eating where you consume way too much of some things and eliminate whole groups of others.:look:
post #19 of 24
Alright, I must warn that I have a particular axe to grind with the “healthy” eating crowd. Since a dear friend of mine spent almost two years of her life trying to save her daughter from anorexia. Due to the fact that she had to become a self-educated expert on nutrition I am very familiar with what a human body needs to stay mentally and physically healthy.

She visits this forum every once in a while but mainly she volunteers on an anorexia forum that provides high nutrition high calorie recipes to help weight restore anorexics . She could give you an idea about how hard it is to gain weight.

The idea that eating healthy is eating to be thin is crazy. Thin is a societal aesthetic that doesn’t necessarily equate to healthy. In fact, in a good many cases it is down right unhealthy. Furthermore, the “thin” ideal is akin to Japanese foot binding, and equally as crippling.

To eat healthy one needs to look at nutritional value, i.e. all those vitamins, minerals and proteins. If calories are all you look at, you might find yourself well fed and malnourished. Oh and did you know that malnutrition is linked to mental illness?

In a society that has been counting calories for decades and restricting our diets to achieve a text book weight we wonder why all the thin girls are on Prozac.

People who are hyper concerned about counting calories both bug me and make me worried. I always feel like they are either buying into the “thin” ideal myth (bug me) or might be in the early stages of an eating disorder (worried).

I’ll quit the preaching and share a funny story. We went to the Sunday Brunch at the Grand Hotel a few years back with the kids. I headed to the dessert table (a large assortment of beautiful tarts) and began loading up a big plate, three tarts per kid (5 kids). There was a lady standing there with a plate and she was carefully studying the display.
She looked at my plate and said “I wish I could do that, I just can’t make up my mind on which ONE I’ll take.”
I told her that these were for the kids, but I’d be back for mine. Then I gave her my standard line for the gals that are always worried about “splurging” on dessert :“Are you married? (yes) Does your husband love you? (yes) Then eat all you want and if you gain more weight than you want to carry, get him to help you work it off.;):smoking:”
She picked up five tarts and winked at me.
post #20 of 24
Well geeze izbnso... I wonder why we are such an unhealthy society. I wonder why girls feel the need to starve themselves. Could it be because we live in a country where junk food is sold in the same aisle as glossy airbrushed magazines? Could it be because celebrities who suffer from eating disorders are regularly boasted to be "best dressed?" Could it be because women have unrealistic views of beauty? Could it be because we are bombarded with the availability of bad food and the high cost of good food? Could it be because we get mixed messages about food from our friends and loved ones all the time? Even the OP admitted it - getting her sister to eat dessert was more about the 10 hours of work she put into it than about her sister's committment to nutrition.

Let me tell you what would happen in stages if I had a bite of the dessert I was trying to avoid.

Stage 1: Temptation... "boy does that look good!"
Stage 2: Guilt.. "Oh but she worked so hard, I should eat it not to be rude."
Stage 3: Confusion... "why is she getting so upset that I'm not eating?"
Stage 4: Eating... "will I be able to stop?"
Stage 5: Pleasure... "I'm going to finish the whole piece."
Stage 6: Acceptance... "wow she's so glad I like this piece of cake, it really is good."
Stage 7: Guilt... "I can't believe I ate that, I feel sick."
Stage 8: Self Hatred... "I'm so fat, I have no willpower."
Stage 9: Failure... "might as well eat another piece, I'm no good at diets."

Therefore I politely refuse dessert and say that I'm on a diet. Anything is preferable to this inner dialogue. And that's just a typical day in the life of a woman.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #21 of 24
I'm sorry but I have to mostly disagree with you, on just about everything.

Anorexia is obviously a serious issue for those with it, but no less serious then the legions and legions of people over weight. We as humans are not designed for this much food, and this quality of food. Our bodies can't handle it because there was no need to evolve genes to stay a healthy weight when starvation was a real threat. Those days are long past for those of us in the West, (and who knows they may return one day), and we are killing ourselves with food.

People can do stupid and dangerous things to be thin, but in reality for most of us its just putting the fork down.

I told her that these were for the kids, but I’d be back for mine. Then I gave her my standard line for the gals that are always worried about “splurging” on dessert :“Are you married? (yes) Does your husband love you? (yes) Then eat all you want and if you gain more weight than you want to carry, get him to help you work it off.;):smoking:”
She picked up five tarts and winked at me


Letting yourself 'go' is one of the leading factors in divorce, even when people don't' want to seem shallow and admit it. I've seen it from people I've known first hand. Spouse gets fat, other spouse doesn't feel attracted to them anymore, marriage ends for various reasons. The last one I knew this happened to I was a good friend of the wife and gently hinted to the woman that perhaps there sex life would improve if she lost some weight. She assured me that wasn't the case, her husband never said anything about that, no thats not the problem. Well a year latter they are divorced and talking with the now ex-husband he said 'I should have told her she was fat a lot sooner.'

If I ate what I wanted to eat I'd guess I'd platue at 290 lbs. Not good.

So guess what, I mentally tally those calories.
post #22 of 24
I'll try to help put this in perspective:

It's difficult to budget calories. Now I say budget because just cutting cals doesn't work. A proper protein/carb/fat balance is the main way to lose or maintain healthy weight. The real problem is, every once in a while you get cravings for food you love. For me, it's french fries and ice cream. I love both of them but I refrain from eating too much of them unless I know I'm going to be okay with it. You see, it's like quitting smoking. You have to stop altogether or else you may not stop at all. Your sister may look like she's being a hardass and doesn't want your food because it's unhealthy but would you ask a friend who's trying to quit smoking if they'd like a cigarette? Who cares if you went out and picked the tobacco yourself and then spent 3 days fanning it to dry it out before rolling some of the most astounding smokes anyone has ever had the fortune of having blown in their face; they quit and you knew it. Would you be offended if a vegetarian refused to eat a cassoulet you spent 2 days getting prepared because there was meat in it? I doubt you'd try to pry their mouth open and force feed them some of it (then again, it might be fun).

I think there's two sides to this. I'd be pissed that someone didn't eat something I spent hours making, BUT I usually make sure I know who eats what before hand. Got a Jewish friend coming over? No pork. Catholic? Is it lent and friday? No meat. Got a vegetarian coming over? Not on your life lol. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is it was mildly rude on both sides of the equation. Eating healthy is a lifestyle choice, not someone being stuck up about what they eat. Can some people make exceptions? Sure. Can all? No.
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post #23 of 24
I believe it is all about balance. I pick at work, since I need to taste everything and because I appreciate the nice stuff! If I then followed that by having a big lunch, full of carbs, I would get fat, especially considering that I don't do that much exercise outside of work.
As a result I generally don't say no when one of my team offers me a taste of, say, triple chocolate pannacotta, because I will enjoy tasting it, but I will only have a mouthful. Eat the bad stuff in moderation, balance it with the healthy stuff, listen to your body and be aware of what goes into it.
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post #24 of 24
Doc,

First take note that I didn’t disparage all “calorie counting” I purposefully used the term “HYPER CONCERNED”. I am well aware of the new studies that are coming out about how the human animal was built to fend off starvation with fat storage. I recently saw coverage about how certain people have a specific gene that would have been very beneficial even two hundred years ago that causes them to retain body fat but now that we have all these technological conveniences (cars instead of walking, washing machines that need no hand crank, food supply that doesn’t require direct labor to procure, etc) are causing other health problems such as obesity. Maybe we saw the same documentary. And you’re right, it may yet be handy again real soon.

I get that weight is a real health issue. I merely want to point out that it is on BOTH ends of the spectrum. And I whole heartedly stated that I do have reason (from personal experience) of being vigilant about the thin/malnourished end of the spectrum. It’s my ax and I’ll grind it if I want to:D. And I should state that I would no more push a high calorie food on an obese person than I would push an allergen onto someone with the peanut allergy. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t politely offer a slice of cake to a portly friend, maybe they want some and who am I to judge? I’m a picky eater myself and hate to tell someone that I wouldn’t eat the garbage (IMO) they call food after they push me to try their newest SPAM casserole. So I’d be a giant hypocrite if I tried to pressure someone into eating something they, for what ever reason, have declined.

As Koukouvagi pointed out there are all sorts of unhealthy societal influences to be thin. Thin or fat shouldn’t be about value judgment of a person’s worth. Ironically our national diet (I know that most folks visiting this forum eat a much better quality than most because of our shared love of cooking, so please ya’ll: I’m not talking about you.) is one that lacks nutrition while having calories, and often lots of them. And yes if you look to the lower socio-economic groups you can find studies reporting malnourished obese kids.

My own family carries a rare gene that causes an endocrine disorder called hypoparathyroidism. This means that members of my family have trouble maintaining proper levels of vitamin D and calcium. The therapy is high levels of D and Calcium, in essence a nutritional therapy. The symptoms of being deficient in these two items are broad: my brother’s seizures, my sisters anxiety and panic attacks, my uncle’s need for leg braces (it was misdiagnosed as mild MD), my oldest child’s abnormal bone growth in her feet, my second child’s behavior and cognitive delay, my dental problems…I could go on. They actually call this disorder “the great pretender” because it looks like so many other conditions neurological, muscular, dermatological and so forth. In my research I found a case study in which a male in his late 30’s had been living with a schizophrenia diagnosis all of his adult life. Misdiagnosis… it was hypoparathyroidsm and he was “cured” with massive D and calcium supplements. I have learned far more than I ever wanted to know about the importance of vitamin D and calcium.

Hence my statement that eating healthy is not equal to eating to be thin. While they are certainly not always mutually exclusive, all too often proper nutrition isn’t considered when people endeavor to loose weight even when they really do need to loose weight. Tack onto the argument the fact that the BMI is a more than questionable indicator of proper height weight ratio and we have a bunch of people who think they are fat but are actually quite healthy and you’ve got people restricting their diets for all the wrong reasons.

I know that when I am at the high end of a “normal” BMI weight I look like a cancer patient. I’m 5’3” and a size 10/12 on bottom and size 8/10 up top, I’ve got wide pelvic bones (I’m a breeder with 5 younguns to show for it!) My measurements are 37-30-41 (I only know that off the top of my head because I’m a seamstress and sew my own clothes, I’ll be sure to post pics of the ball gown I’m making for myself.) and according to the BMI I’m 27.5. “Over weight” is 25.0-29.9 “obese” starts at 30. I ask you, even though this baby has some “back” (for all you Sir Mix-a-lot fans out there) do I sound over weight to you? According to the BMI I need to loose 20-25 pounds. (Quick like a bunny everybody google a BMI chart to see how much I weigh:lol:)

If we did see the same documentary on weight and genetics, did you see the portion where they discussed Sumo wrestlers? Guess what, they use nutrition and training to pack on the pounds but the fat is distributed in such a manner that they are far healthier than people who are MUUUUCCCH thinner. (Disclaimer: Sumo wrestlers use ancient and proven methods of weight gain under strict supervision and are professional athletes. This is not permission to over eat and wear funny looking jock straps to justify it.)

As I said, I realize that obesity is a problem, a very real one. However, more often than not the baby is being thrown out with the bath water when it comes to dieting. Furthermore there is real long standing evidence to show that even a short period of being malnourished can lead to permanent neurological damage. Because of my personal experience (and that ax I’m so fond of talking about) I never pass up an opportunity to discuss good nutritional habits especially when it comes to weight loss. Does that mean I live on an extreme diet? Heck no I love junk food as much as the next gal, but all things in moderation.

As to the moral of my personal anecdote about loving husbands and their wives appearance…..for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health… marriage is a team sport and hard work. If you can’t communicate and work with the person who is supposed to be your best friend, most intimate partner and the soul you turn to when the chips are both up and down, then maybe you’re not married to that person after all.

One thing I love about this forum is our ability to discuss how many strands of angel hair pasta can dance on the head of a pin. I see the issues of health and diet to be part of a vital discussion about how those here (both the pros and the at homes) prepare and offer food to others. The at homes are feeding families and friends, the people we love. The pros feed loved ones plus a lot more folks. In fact, health issues with food is probably far more important to the pros than some might think.

Some time in the last year or so I was reading an industry article (before our current economic woes) that said only one segment of the food industry was growing more than “gourmet” and that was “specialized diets”. From vegan to gluten free to low carb to nut free to you name it. Catering (pardon the pun) to the ever growing number of specialized diets (both for health and life style choice) is apparently where the new money is going to be for a while, especially given the Boomer’s numbers and how they are increasingly being made aware of their health needs. Given the nature of today’s economy it might be doubly important for professional food service people to be well versed in several “specialized” diet regimes.

The only other thing I can add (what she still has something to say, I bet she never shuts up;)) is that anyone considering restricting their diet needs to pay as much attention to daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, and proteins as they do to calories and carbs because sometimes the "cure" is worse than the disease.
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