How do you decide whether to eat the doughnut or the banana when you’re standing in the convenience store, hungry, needing a quick snack to help you last until dinner time?
You can choose either one. They cost about the same. They take about the same number of bites to eat. They both give quick energy. Which one will you choose, and why? Taste, texture, nutrient value, disease-fighting properties, immediate gratification, habit, smell, or price?
The banana contains about 110 calories. It is good for your heart. It’s dense in nutrients and free of any fat, cholesterol, or sodium. It provides vitamin B6, and plenty of potassium which stimulates muscles, nerves and brain cells, and can even help reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke.
The banana is more filling but less bloating; it will keep you satisfied longer and it will make you feel more mentally and physically energized than the doughnut will.
The doughnut has more calories (about 260) but it doesn’t have many nutrients. Almost none. The doughnut also contains saturated fat, sugar and salt. You’ll ingest 14 grams of fat, 6 of which are saturated fat grams, and 300 mg of sodium. There will be about one gram of fiber, so it won’t keep you feeling full and it could lead to constipation.
Because of the low nutrient, low fiber, high sugar content, after eating the doughnut, you will likely soon be eating another snack.
But the doughnut smells so darn good!
So… hold your breath and reach for the banana! You won’t regret it.
Ten minutes later, when your doughnut eating buddy is tired and sluggish and still hungry (and thirsty from the sodium), you will have energy, brain power, and a feeling of satiety.
To summarize: when trying to lose weight or increase the nutritional density of your diet, choose foods that are high in fiber and vitamins regardless of calorie content because they will keep you satisfied longer, which keeps you from overeating in a natural way.
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