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07.16.08
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Dear Hungry Girl,

I eat Special K Red Berries cereal for breakfast every morning. The box says it contains about eleven servings, but there is no way it contains eleven cups of cereal (the serving size is one cup). I know because I always measure my cereal with a measuring cup. Why does it say it contains so many servings?

Red Berries Alert
Dear Red Berries Alert,

Excellent question. And one that got me VERY curious. So I went to the store to pick up a box and do some examining, and here's what I found. For starters, my box of Special K Red Berries contained 360g of cereal, not 340g like the box said. That's really not much of a difference at all, but I thought I'd mention it. Then I did some SERIOUS weighing and measuring, and the results weren't pretty. First of all, each serving is supposed to weigh 31 grams and measure out at one cup. I measured a cup of cereal and it weighed 46g -- far from 31. In fact, 31 grams of that Special K Red Berries cereal measured out to be about two-thirds of a cup. So my box of cereal contained closer to eight 1-cup servings, or eleven 2/3-cup servings. Since I was REALLY curious, I decided to break out every single box of cereal at the HG HQ for some further investigation. While many had accurate stats, the cereals with many components (like flakes, fruit, and clusters) typically measured out to smaller serving sizes than the labels said. So what's happening here? Well, it's possible that the flakes break into smaller pieces when the boxes are shipped, making a cup of the cereal more compact. So by the time a box gets to you, the weighed serving size could be smaller than the original measured amount. Also, when a cereal has pieces in it with different sizes and weights (like light flakes mixed with heavy granola clusters), you could be getting more of the heavier items in your bowl, which would throw off the weight and measurement. But let this be a lesson to all of us... if you are super-careful about counting calories, carbs, POINTS®, etc., use a food scale. You don't need a fancy one -- just one that measures both ounces and grams (click here for one I like a lot). Then weigh out the given serving size (31g for that Red Berries cereal), and you'll have yourself one true serving. In my case, if I decided to eat a full cup of that cereal (46g), I'd be eating about 163 calories instead of 110. So when it comes to cereals, snack mixes, etc., weigh AND measure them for a true serving size. Good luck... and happy chewing!!!


Dear Hungry Girl,

How can I boost my metabolism? Please help!

Burn, Baby, Burn

Dear Burn, Baby, Burn,

A lot of factors that influence your metabolism can’t be changed -- a few of those are age, genetics and gender (well, gender can be changed, but not easily!). However, there are some things you can do to rev up your metabolism. First of all, drink lots of water. Research suggests staying hydrated speeds up your metabolic rate. And lack of water can slow your metabolic rate. Exercise also gets your metabolism going. Cardio -- exercises that raise your heart rate to a target level, like jogging or aerobics -- ups your metabolism for several hours following your workout. And don't forget about flexing your muscles -- head to the weight room next time you hit the gym. If you increase your lean muscle mass, you increase your resting metabolic rate. That means you'll burn more calories throughout the entire day... even while you sleep! Another tip is to eat often during the day (just don't overdo it, of course!) -- frequent mini-meals keep your metabolism at peak performance. As for eating specific foods to raise it? Spicy foods, green tea, and high-protein foods are said to give your metabolism a little (but not significant) boost. One more thing -- EAT BREAKFAST! That will kick your metabolism into gear for the rest of the day. P.S. The less you weigh, the slower your metabolism. (This doesn't include metabolism-boosting factors like exercise.) Think about it -- the more weight you carry, the harder your body has to work. So if you're heading toward a weight-loss goal and hit a plateau, use these tips to get your metabolism working faster for you (sure beats eating less!).

 
Hey, You! Check out the HG cookbook for our Ginormous Cereal Bowl-anza plus more ways to rev up your metabolism with mini-meals and fun little exercises you can do throughout the day! The book's in stores, online, and just waiting for you to snag it!
 
CHEW ON THIS:
July is California Salmon Month. Salmon is loaded with omega-3s and is also GREAT for your skin. So chew it up -- even if it's not from Cali!
 
 

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*The Points® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the Points® registered trademark.