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food fight

Food Fight: Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Written on January 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm , by

chocolate bar

Photo by iStock.

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

With all the recent talk about how certain types of chocolate are indeed good for you, an excuse to eat it isn’t all that hard to find.

But before you go and start eating chocolate bar after bar though, there is a small catch to all this good-for-you business. Chocolate, no matter the type, is still a source of calories and because it tastes oh-so-good to so many of us, it’s easy to over do it. Plus, not all chocolates are created equal. To get the health benefits chocolate provides, you really have to know which chocolate bar offers the most amount of nutrients and the least amount of calorie-ridden fat and sugar.

Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Although milk chocolate may taste great, it’s not nearly as good for you as dark chocolate is. This is because milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate does. Although milk chocolate does contain cocoa solids, it’s often diluted with the addition of milk solids, sugar, and cream. Since milk chocolate does contain some cocoa solids though, its not completely void of all nutrition; however, the nutritional quality is minimal in comparison with dark chocolate, which typically has more of the original cocoa present.

This is important because the more cocoa that is present, the higher the nutritional quality. Cocoa is a fabulous source of flavonoids, a special class of antioxidants that are the primary reason chocolate is now considered to be a good-for-you treat. The more cocoa, the more flavonoids, and the better for you the chocolate becomes. Plus, dark chocolate varieties often have less added sugar and fat which can also improve its overall nutritional value.

The Benefits of Flavonoids

Flavonoids are often found in wine, fruits, vegetables, and, of course, dark chocolate. These flavonoids have been shown to reduce the amount of cell damage often implicated in heart disease. Flavonoids also help improve vascular function and can assist in lowering blood pressure. They can also enhance the power of vitamin C and prevent inflammation throughout the body when eaten in proper amounts. Some studies have also shown that they may be beneficial in keeping blood glucose levels stable and may help normalize cholesterol levels as well.
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Food Fight: The Greek Yogurt Debate

Written on December 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm , by

yogurt cup

Photo by iStockPhoto

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

It seems like everyone has jumped onto the Greek yogurt bandwagon. Perhaps this is because it’s relatively low in calories, often fat free, and packs a strong protein punch. This powerful combination can help you feel fuller for longer with less calories, and often help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because of Greek yogurt’s recent buzz and skyrocketing sales, not all Greek yogurts that have hit the market are as great as they claim to be. Additionally, determining which yogurt fits best into your diet depends on more than just nutrition facts. Texture, cost, and versatility all play a role. To help you determine which Greek yogurt is best for you, let’s take a look at three of the most common varieties available.

1. Yoplait Greek Yogurt

Yoplait Greek yogurt is relatively inexpensive; however, many do not consider it to be a true Greek yogurt because it contains milk protein concentrate for added protein power and several different thickeners in its flavored varieties. Milk protein concentrate is also considered to be a controversial ingredient since it is often imported from other countries where safety regulations aren’t as stringent.

On a more positive note, this brand does have a wide variety of flavors available and boasts double the protein of traditional yogurt. It is also a great source of both calcium and vitamin D. If you are a fan of traditional Yoplait yogurt, you may find this brand enjoyable; however, it is important to note that the flavored varieties often contain more sugar (18-20 grams per serving). According to Yoplait’s website, all of their products contain live and active cultures, important probiotics that have been shown to be beneficial for overall health. Some diets, like The 17 Day Diet, advise a daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt. Unfortunately, the live and active cultures used are not individually listed on the ingredient list, making it difficult to know which type or quantity of each is found in the end product.

Keep reading to see how Chobani and Stoneyfield Oikos compare! Read more

Food Fight: Dark Meat vs. White Meat Turkey

Written on November 15, 2011 at 9:02 am , by

Turkey illo

Illustration by Flickr user tengrrl

By Heather Ashare, MPH for DietsInReview.com

In response to the fear of fat that has been driven into all of us, this Thanksgiving we may shun the dark turkey meat and instead pile our plates high with the white meat. But in our attempts to shave off a few calories, are we missing out on some key nutrients?

We decided to compare dark meat and white meat turkey and determine once and for all if the drumstick or the breast is the better option. Some surprising facts presented themselves in our research…

*Note: The serving size for our analysis is for a 3.5-ounce serving of turkey meat without skin—about the size of a deck of cards.

Round One: Nutrition

  •  Calories: White meat = 161 calories. Dark meat = 192 calories.
  •  Fat: White meat = 4g. Dark meat = 8g.
  •  Protein: White meat = 30g. Dark meat = 28g.
  •  Iron: White meat = 1.57 mg. Dark meat = 2.4 mg.
  •  Zinc: White meat = 2.08 mg. Dark meat = 4.3 mg.
  •  Folate: White meat = .01 mcg. Dark meat = 10 mcg.

Round Two: Taste and Leftover Potential

When it comes to taste, dark turkey meat offers an undeniably richer taste than white meat, but its higher fat content also lends itself to tasting a bit more on the slimy side, which may detract those who are sensitive to their food’s texture, or prefer lighter-tasting eats.

In regards to cooking with leftover turkey, dark meat’s higher fat content gives it a juicier flavor and therefore protects it from suffering from the dry taste that accompanies white meat turkey once it has sat in the refrigerator for a few days. Therefore, for a sandwich, salad or soup protein-punch, dark turkey meat is the clear winner. But if you’re looking to undo some of the gluttonous Thanksgiving Day damage, then you might want to reach for the white meat to save a few calories and fat.

Post-Match Commentary

Drumstick-lovers rejoice! Dark turkey meat delivers a much more nutrient-dense wallop than white turkey meat. With greater amounts of vitamin B like riboflavin, thiamine and folate and minerals like iron and zinc, dark turkey meat’s sullied reputation for being too high in fat deserves to be overturned considering these impressive nutrition numbers.

When it comes to calories and fat, the difference between the two is negligible. In fact, dark turkey meat contains a mere 30 calories more than white meat and just an additional four grams of fat. Place your fork down just one bite shy of finishing off that slice of pumpkin pie and you will have balanced out any extra calories you consumed by choosing dark meat over white.

To reap the powerful nutrition benefits of the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, whichever kind of meat you select, just make sure to remove the skin and go easy on the gravy. These two items pile on the calories, so you’ll keep your dinner on the leaner side without them.

More from Diets in Review:

Infographic: How Many Calories are in a Thanksgiving Dinner?

Food Fight: Milk vs. Milk

Written on November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am , by

FitnessMagazine.com is proud to partner with DietsinReview.com to provide our users with even more great health information!

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plain milk cartons

Photo by Flickr user Cubist Castle

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

Do you remember when milk was just milk? These days there are many milk varieties fighting for your attention. Though each touts their own unique blend of health claims, it can be really hard to choose which one is the right one for you

To help you out, let’s compare three popular milk choices: Cow’s milk, soy milk, and almond milk.

Cow’s Milk, 2%

2% (or low fat) cow’s milk is one of the most common and affordable types of milk available. Each glass is a nutritional powerhouse: rich in vitamins D, K, and A, as well as calcium and protein. In part, these nutrients are what make milk and the entire dairy group important for overall health. Additionally, milk produced by grass-fed cows contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an important fatty acid which has been shown to play a role in weight management and to have anti-cancer properties.

Despite all of these healthy benefits, cow’s milk isn’t perfect. Many health authorities believe that pasteurizing cow’s milk destroys potentially beneficial bacteria, protein, and enzymes that may help aid the body in digestion. Nevertheless, selling or serving raw milk can be potentially life-threatening and most health experts agree that the benefits of pasteurized milk far outweigh the possible negatives.

Nutrition Knock-Out Facts for 2% milk (1 cup):  122 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 293 mg of of calcium, 342 mg potassium

 

Soy Milk

Soy milk is pretty comparable to cow’s milk. Many individuals choose to incorporate this alternative into their day because of an allergy or intolerance to the lactose found in cow’s milk. Others choose soy milk because they are vegetarian or simply because they like the different, somewhat thicker consistency of the beverage. Its nutritional breakdown is similar to that of reduced-fat cow’s milk, except that it is much richer in isoflavones that bind estrogen receptors and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Which product will “win” this fight?  Keep reading to find out. Read more

Food Fight: Diet Coke vs. Snapple Tea

Written on November 1, 2011 at 9:00 am , by

FitnessMagazine.com is proud to partner with DietsinReview.com to provide our users with even more great health information!

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Snapple vs. Diet Coke

Neither choice is good for you, but if you had to choose one, find out the winner.

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com

You finally caught the bug and you’re making some healthier choices for yourself. Maybe you’re tired of your pants being too tight, or maybe tired of being winded playing with your kids. Whatever the reason, you’ve started making some changes. To be healthier, your go-to beverage is a little healthier, or so you think.

So many women grab a bottle of Diet Coke or Snapple because of the health halo attached to them. The what? The health halo, as Kati Mora, RD describes at DietsInReview.com, “is actually a clever way to identify foods that claim to be more than what they really are.”

Food manufacturers slap the words “diet” or “low-fat”, or even a picture of fresh fruit, on the front of a package and no one thinks twice about eating it because it appears healthy. It has a health halo.

That’s the case with Diet Coke and Snapple Tea. They appear to be a healthy choice. Heck, the marketing says so, the packaging is believable. While the right answer is that neither of them is great for you, in this food fight, something has to win.

Which product will “win” this fight? (We promise not to just tell you “Water wins!” Keep reading to find out.) Read more