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Please help settle a bet between my co-worker, who is an engineer, and myself, a conscious label reader. He says the worst thing that could happen if you ate a pound of M&Ms is you would gain one pound. He says a pound is a pound. Well if that's the case, break open the M&Ms and let's have a party! I completely disagree with him, but can't seem to find my reasoning as to why I think his theory is bogus. Can you help me?? I'm desperate to prove him wrong! Thanks, Hungry Girl! You rock!

Frustrated for Real
Dear Frustrated,

Just READING your email frustrated me! Your nutty co-worker is wrong. If his theory were true, all that would matter is how much a food weighs and not how many calories it has. So then everyone would be eating light things all day -- like whipped cream, potato chips and chocolate mousse. Do you KNOW how many calories a pound of chocolate mousse has?! About 1,500 - 2,000! A pound of apples, on the other hand, only has 236 calories. And a pound of M&Ms has around 2,200 calories. The more calories you eat, the more you have to burn in order to NOT gain weight. A pound of weight on your body is equal to 3,500 calories. Any time you eat 3,500 more calories than you burn, you gain a pound -- no matter how light or heavy the food is. Hope that makes sense. Now show this to your co-worker and make him buy you lunch (but don't weigh it!).

Dear Hungry Girl,

The foods I eat are pretty healthy -- lots of veggies and low-fat stuff -- however, I LOVE condiments like BBQ sauce, honey mustard, sweet & sour sauce, and different types of salsa to go along with all these healthy foods. I know these condiments are usually low in fat but can contain a lot of calories. Am I defeating the purpose of eating healthy foods if I drench them with condiments?

Curious About Condiments
Dear Curious,

Good Q. The most important thing is to ALWAYS read labels. And NEVER make assumptions. There are some BBQ and honey mustard sauces that are loaded with sugar, and those often contain a lot of calories. Try to stick with ones that come from a jar or bottle that has nutritional info. When you're out and don't have access to nutritional panels, you're better off sticking with things like salsa, straight mustard and soy sauce. When in doubt, avoid things that are super-thick and syrupy (usually high in sugar) or super-oily (usually high in fat). And while it's true that drowning a bowl of broccoli in sweet & sour sauce could add a few hundred calories to it, that's still better than eating oily, breaded sesame chicken drowned in sweet & sour sauce. So if adding a little sauce helps you make smart selections and avoid full-on bad food choices, I'd say it's worth it. My best advice to you is to use these super-sweet sauces sparingly if you don't know the exact calorie counts. And if you have some favorites that fit your nutritional needs, throw 'em in your purse (tightly sealed so they don't drown your wallet) and take them with you. Better safe than sorry...

Today, April 25th, is National Zucchini Bread Day. We're changing it to National Zucchini Day, though, to save fat and calories. Why drown the poor zucchini in sugar and flour?
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