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10.31.07
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Dear Hungry Girl,

My friends say you have a supermarket list on your site, but I can't find it. Do you know what they are talking about, and can you please let me (and the rest of the world!) know where it is?

Looking for the List
Dear Looking,

Yay... an easy question! So many people email in asking where to find this list. It's right here. Just click on the blue link and there it is! By the way, that list has been viewed almost half a million times, so it's pretty popular. Please note that the list is NOT complete by any means -- it's just a helpful bunch of recommended products I like. Happy shopping! And remember, never go to the supermarket when you're hungry. Bad idea -- you'll likely buy stuff you don't even need, and you might start to devour your groceries while youÂ’re still shopping. BTW, we run NEW versions of this list every so often, when the latest HG faves need to be added. So look out for those, and feel free to email the products you think should make the next list to suggest@hungry-girl.com.


Dear HG,

A long time ago I learned that the total calories in any food come from carbs, protein, and fat, and that each gram of carbs has 4 calories, a gram of protein has 4 calories, and a gram of fat has 9 calories. And with some simple math, I would be able to read labels and see that the formula ALWAYS worked -- all the calories from carbs, protein and fat added up to the total calories per serving for that food. This is no longer the case. I have noticed that high-fiber packaged foods are the ones that typically have this problem (like Fiber One bran cereal and the 80-calorie La Tortilla Factory tortillas). What gives, HG?

Calorie-Confused
Dear Calorie-Confused,

THAT is an excellent question. And it's one that keeps popping up. I'm REALLY glad people are becoming more savvy when it comes to reading labels. And I was confused for exactly the same reason as you. So I called on some of my pals who are nutrition experts for help with this one (my friend Tanya Zuckerbrot, who is an author and the QUEEN of fiber, was particularly helpful). Here's what I deduced after chatting extensively with some of the experts (and harassing several others via email). While fiber is considered a carb (and the grams of fiber are included in the total carbs listed on labels and packages), the calories from fiber are not absorbed by the body. So, many products subtract the calories that come from fiber from the total number of calories listed. For example, if you used your little equation to figure out the calories in a serving of Fiber One -- adding up the calories from 2g of protein (8 cals), 25g of carbs (100 cals) and 1g of fat (9 cals) -- you would come up with 117 calories per 1/2-cup serving. But since F1 has 14g of fiber per serving, you can subtract 56 calories from that total number (4 calories for each gram of fiber), which leaves you with 61 calories (rounded down to 60 on the box's label). This is pretty standard for high-fiber foods these days, and it's the reason the nutritionals on the package (as well as in recipes made with the stuff) don't always add up. The important thing to remember here is that those calories from fiber are NOT absorbed by the body, so no need to panic and add them all back in if you are counting calories. Now where it gets SUPER-CONFUSING is with natural foods like raspberries, which supposedly have 64 calories per cup (about 15g carbs, 0.5g fat, 1.5g protein). Those berries also have 8g of fiber per cup! So do raspberries REALLY have more like 32 calories per cup (once you subtract the calories from fiber)? It would seem so (though experts hesitate to give a concrete answer to this, for some reason). The good news is that since calorie-counters likely ARE counting the calories from fiber in the natural foods they consume, the worst they can do is overestimate their total calorie intake. BTW, sugar alcohols (like maltitol or xylitol) are another source of carbs that don't always contribute fully to the total calories listed (they usually have 3 calories or less per gram), which is why nutritionals for some sugar-free products like pudding and jam may not add up. Sorry to get all technical and confusing, but this is important stuff to know about if you're a label reader. OK, I'm ending this answer now that my head is going to explode. Hope it was helpful.

 
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