So, one day I was hungry and when I got home, the doors were locked. No one was home, so I could not get in. I had just arrived from the village. So, I decided to buy something to eat. I bought a 250-gram packet of biscuits and a 500 ml bottle of a popular soft drink. Both were from very popular Zimbabwean food and beverage companies. I then sat down and ate these as I waited for my brother to come. They were delicious! I felt good, my tongue rejoiced and danced in my mouth! But, wait a minute!
My experiences with a pack of biscuits and a soft drink
I was satisfied for about 1 hour only! And started feeling hungry again?
That’s when I started thinking. And I asked myself a question. Isn’t this the reason why people gain weight? Eating refined foods and sugar-sweetened beverages all the time? Eating food that fills the stomach for one hour only? Then get hungry within the next hour. And then eating again to fill the gap in the stomach.
Why do you fill your stomach with biscuits and a soft drink to feel hungry in the next hour? What happens?
Does refined food disappear from the stomach?
No! Refined foods and sugar-sweetened beverages do not disappear. It’s just that they lack dietary fibre. Dietary fibre makes it hard for the enzymes to digest food quickly. So, when you eat biscuits and a soft drink, most of the soft drink is sugar and water. And sugar is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. And for the biscuits, most of them is readily digestible simple carbohydrates. These are easily digested and absorbed within an hour. Now, since there is very little fibre, what remains in the stomach? Almost nothing!
Also read: 13 Healthy eating habits for your family
My calculations on the energy content of 250 g of loose biscuits and 500 ml of soft drink
So I decided to make calculations. I wanted to calculate how many calories are in this meal. And I wanted to know because I have seen people who eat 3 packets of biscuits and 4 bottles of soft drink in one go!
But before we go there take note that:
The daily intake of calories varies in people. It depends on your age, metabolism and levels of physical activity. It also depends on other things. Generally, is recommended that daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women. And that for men is 2,500 for men.
So I looked at the nutritional information of the loose biscuits first. And I discovered that 100 grams give 396 calories of energy. But I ate 250 grams. That means I had consumed about 930 calories from this packet. And let’s remember, I was hungry again within 60 minutes.
And that’s not all, I calculated the calories for the soft drinks and realised that the 500 ml of soft drinks gave me 210 calories of energy.
That means in one go, I had eaten 1140 calories of energy
Out of 2500. And if I was a lady, I would have eaten 1140 of 2000.
Now, if we add breakfast, lunch and supper to that. This means I was more likely to 1500 or more calories. Now if we add snacks, sweets and confectioneries. It means we will have over 2500 calories eaten per day!
Where do the excess calories go?
Now tell me where do the excess calories go? Because your body does not need them!
The body stores the excess energy as fat under your skin, around your waist, on your thighs and breasts. And you gain a lot of weight! So, with excess calories, you get body fat. And with body fat, you get extra weight.
This is the reason why it’s difficult to lose weight. Because most people always have excess calories.
Also read: Are refined grains any good?
We eat energy-dense foods that are appealing to us. But these foods have low satiety. As a result, we always overeat.
Refined foods/cereals (biscuits) are the main reason people gain weight. They are the main reason people overeat. Refined foods and sweetened beverages are the reason why it’s hard to get rid of belly fat. Because they make it difficult to create a calorie deficit.
Some of the dangers of excess calories in the diet
The problem with refined and sweetened foods is not only with weight management. They also increase risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
1. They increase post-meal blood glucose levels. This because they are digested faster (high glycemic index). This increases the risks of you losing insulin sensitivity. It also increases the risk of you developing insulin resistance. And all of these lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus
2. These refined cereals are energy-dense but have low satiety. Which means you will overeat. And as a result, you a lot of excess calories in the body. Excess calories are converted to fat. And this leads to weight gain. It also leads to increased risks of obesity, overweight and cardiac health problems.
This is what 250 grams of biscuits and 500 ml of soft drink taught me. So, this one meal taught me a lesson. What do you think? Tell, me your struggles in the comment section.