Ever craved a cookie so much you couldn’t think straight? Research from Melbourne’s Flinders University (published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science in May) has proved that obsessing over a treat is such a drain on the brain that it’s difficult to concentrate on other tasks.
But brain and willpower may be the least of your problems when faced with a box of biscuits. “We snack due to boredom, social commitments and mindless eating, which really packs on the calories instead of normal meals,” says Jyothi Prasad, chief dietitian, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.
Also See Biscuits, Chocolates, Beverages, Savouries, Snacks (PDF)
An average man needs a minimum of 1,400 calories and a woman around 1,200 calories to survive. “Generally speaking, a person with higher activity levels will need more calories than a sedentary person. The recommended dietary allowance for adults on an average is 30-35 calories per kg of ideal body weight for weight maintenance, 20-25 calories per kg of ideal body weight for weight loss and 40-45 calories per kg for weight gain.
If the activity is high, the calories are computed based on the level of activity,” says Prasad. This means that three main meals worth 400 calories each and two snacks of 100-125 calories is what you should look to consume each day. However, eating just 3,500 calories over and above this calorie count in a week means gaining an extra pound a week, unless it is burnt off. Considering that 100g of aloo bhujia or a chocolate a day add up to a whopping 400-500 calories, you can see where you may be eating a whole extra meal, without even thinking about it!
Photographs by Ramesh Pathania and Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Here’s a reality check on the common culprits.
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