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Dear Hungry Girl,

I've taken your advice to weigh foods, since many prepackaged ones are heavier than the packages indicate (which means more calories!). My question is this: If the item actually weighs LESS than the package states, can you deduct calories accordingly? One of my favorite food products often weighs only about 70 percent of what the package says it weighs. Does it have only 70 percent of the calories? Thanks!

Watching the Weight
Dear Watching,

It IS a good idea to weigh everything -- even packaged food. And, while the food often weighs MORE than the package indicates (which works against you in the calories and fat departments), there are those special times when your food actually weighs LESS than the label states. And since all nutritionals are based on weight, you absolutely ARE consuming fewer calories, fat, carbs, etc. if the food weighs less than it's supposed to. That's when you get to whip out your handy-dandy calculator to determine just how much of the stuff your food actually does contain. So to answer your question, yes, if your food weighs 30% less than the label says, it will also contain 30% fewer calories. Cool, huh? I have to say, though, this rarely happens. Sad, but true.

Dear Hungry Girl,

When it comes to canned soup, I usually drain some of the broth from the can. And I always strain out the liquid from canned fruit, and then eat just the fruit. Does that cut some calories off of the amounts listed on the cans?

Diva in Draining
Dear Diva,

Sauces, syrups and liquids often contain tons of fat, calories & carbs. But while straining some of the broth from a broth-based soup seems to make sense, it won't save you very many calories. Soup broth is extremely low in calories. In fact, most of the calories in a broth-based soup come from everything BUT the liquid. (In contrast, MOST of the calories in a cream-based soup come from the liquid part. So while you could drain a little to cut calories, you're better off just looking for light versions.) You WILL, however, get rid of some sodium if you pour out some broth. So if you're watching your salt intake, strain away! Canned fruit, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Ditching some of the sweet, sugary syrup that your poor innocent fruit is drowning in is a great idea. That's where a lot of canned fruit's calories, sugar & carbs come from. Go for fruit packed in juice or light syrup rather than the heavy stuff. These days, some canned fruits come packed in WATER! Compared to fruit soaked in heavy syrup, you can save about 100 calories and 25 carbs per cup with the water-packed stuff! Draining the syrup gets rid of some (or even most) of those calories, but water-packed fruit is a safer option, since the syrup-packed fruit has already soaked up some of that syrup by the time you get to it. Hungry Girl Tip: No matter what canned fruit you buy, you may want to rinse the fruit before you eat it. Then you'll be absolutely sure you're pretty much getting rid of everything but the fruit.

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