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Vido
03-06-2003, 10:10 PM
I've often heard of veggies as "free foods", as they are composed mainly of water. I'm just wondering, for those of you who count calories on a daily basis, do you include the calories from veggies? Why or why not?

Maki Riddington
03-07-2003, 12:11 AM
It depends, on a keto diet I can't consume brocoli (sp) freely because of it's carb content. Normally it depends on what veggie it is. If it has a rather small macronutriet breakdown I leave it out.

bradley
03-07-2003, 03:07 AM
I agree the calorie count is almost negligible because of the high fiber that veggies contain. The cal total includes carbs from fiber so after you subtract the amount from fiber there really is not much left.

aka23
03-07-2003, 09:23 AM
I've often heard of veggies as "free foods", as they are composed mainly of water. I'm just wondering, for those of you who count calories on a daily basis, do you include the calories from veggies? Why or why not?

There are several different types of vegetables that have different caloric densities. Some people call starchy foods like potatoes and corn vegetables. Nutritionally they more closely resemble grains. These foods have a good amount of calories. A medium sized potato has about 220 calories. Pulses and legumes such as peas and lima beans also have a good amount of calories. Vegetables that are primarily composed of water such as broccoli and green beans tend to have few calories. Even these low-calorie vegetables can become higher calorie meals when toppings like salad dressing or cheese are added.

I count all vegatables towards my caloric total because I want to get an accurate estimate of my calories. In a typical day I get about 150 calories from low-calorie type vegatbles. This is a significant amount. Others who only eat a half cup of vegatables per day or only want a rough estimate of their calories may not want to be concerned with low-calorie type vegatbles. Note that I do not count calories on a daily basis. I only do the totals a few times per year.



I agree the calorie count is almost negligible because of the high fiber that veggies contain. The cal total includes carbs from fiber so after you subtract the amount from fiber there really is not much left.

You should not subtract fiber from the calorie totals that are written on packages. It is my understanding that these totals are accurate. Some choose to subtract fiber from total carbohydrates when calculating dietary percentages or when counting carbs since little fiber is absorbed in the body. This method is often popular when tracking carb counts with lower carb type diets. This method is not perfect and tends to underestimate calories in foods with lots of soluble fiber, like low-cal vegetables. For example:

2lb Package Broccoli (using large serving to avoid small numbers in calculations) -- 263 calories, 3g fat, 49g carb, 28g protein, 27g fiber.
Using subtract fiber method -- 3*9 + (49-27)*4 + 28*4 = 227 , 227 < 263 , estimation is 36 calories too low
Using include all carbs method -- 3*9 + 49*4 + 28*4 = 308 , 308 > 263 , estimation is 45 calories too high

bradley
03-07-2003, 01:57 PM
2lb Package Broccoli (using large serving to avoid small numbers in calculations) -- 263 calories, 3g fat, 49g carb, 28g protein, 27g fiber.
Using subtract fiber method -- 3*9 + (49-27)*4 + 28*4 = 227 , 227 < 263 , estimation is 36 calories too low
Using include all carbs method -- 3*9 + 49*4 + 28*4 = 308 , 308 > 263 , estimation is 45 calories too high

This is why I said the calorie count was neglibible. I would think that the average person wouldn't be eating 2lbs of broccoli in one sitting. When subtracting the fiber from an average size serving of vegetables this number becomes much smaller. As you said fiber is for the most part indigestible by the body so IMO I think the difference would not add up to much in the long run.

aka23
03-07-2003, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by bradley
. I would think that the average person wouldn't be eating 2lbs of broccoli in one sitting. When subtracting the fiber from an average size serving of vegetables this number becomes much smaller.

My point was that I do not think you should be subtracting fiber calories from the package label calories. I believe that researchers determine the calorie listings on labels using a bomb calorimeter and measuring the total metabolic energy. There is no need to subtract fiber calories from the resulting label listing. Subtracting fiber is only used by some persons when using the less precise carb/protein/fat calories per gram type calorie estimations.

In the above example, the broccoli had 263 calories. This was the listing on the package. The less precise carb/protein/fat calories per gram subtract fiber estimate found that the broccoli had 227 calories. This number was off by -14%, but it was better than the estimate without subracting fiber of 308 calories which was off by +17%.

This becomes more clear when looking at a food that contains high insoluble fiber, but little soluble fiber. For example the label listing for the cereal All Bran says:

Calories: 105.6
Total Carbohydrate 45.36g
Dietary Fiber 30.66g
Protein 7.38g
Total Fat 1.86g

If you wanted to estimate calories using the subtract fiber method the estimation would show:

(45.36-30.66)*4 + 7.38*4 + 1.86*9 = 105.1 calories
This is almost exactly the same as the label listing of 105.6 calories

If you subtracted the 30.66*4 fiber calories from the label listing of 105.1, then the food would have:

105.6 - 30.66*4 = -17.04 calories.

Clearly subtracting fiber calories from the label is the wrong thing to do in this case.

Vido
03-07-2003, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by bradley


This is why I said the calorie count was neglibible. I would think that the average person wouldn't be eating 2lbs of broccoli in one sitting. When subtracting the fiber from an average size serving of vegetables this number becomes much smaller. As you said fiber is for the most part indigestible by the body so IMO I think the difference would not add up to much in the long run.

You may not eat 2 lbs of brocoli in one sitting, but I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to do so in a whole day. So, where then, do you draw the line and start counting calories? I mean I understand exactly what you're saying, but to say the calories are negligible in a normal serving of brocoli, but not in a 2 lb serving, means a line was crossed at some point.

aka23
03-07-2003, 03:45 PM
I chose an extremely large serving size for the broccoli to avoid small numbers in my calculations. I was not trying to say that people usually eat 2lb of broccoli.

Different types of vegetables have different numbers of calories per serving. A cup of lettuce has 15 calories, a cup of brussel sprouts has 50 calories, a cup of peas has 125 calories, a cup of lima beans has 215 calories, and a cup of potato salad has about 360 calories. Whether vegetables are significant depends on your diet and how precise you want your calorie estimations to be. I would suggest that you estimate the number of calories you get from vegetables in a typical day, then decide for yourself which vegetables are significant.

bradley
03-07-2003, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by Vido


You may not eat 2 lbs of brocoli in one sitting, but I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to do so in a whole day. So, where then, do you draw the line and start counting calories? I mean I understand exactly what you're saying, but to say the calories are negligible in a normal serving of brocoli, but not in a 2 lb serving, means a line was crossed at some point.

I personally am not worried about counting cals down to the last calorie. If I am off by 10 or 15 here or there then I am not going to worry about it. If you were trying to diet for a competition then it might become more significant. I guess it all boils down to personal preference and how close you are monitoring your calorie intake. Aka23 makes a good point and for simplicities sake it is probably easier to just use the cal count that is on the bag.

When I was referring to vegetables in my above posts I am referring to fibrous veggies (ex. broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, squash, etc). Veggies like peas and lima beans are different.