3 JULY, 2013

Beware of the summer-eating traps

The summer months are characterized by relaxation and emancipation from daily routines and our diet is also one of the areas that adapts to our new-found freedom. Thus, for many, the summer is also a good time to shake things up in terms of food as well. However, our favorite beaches hide small, dietary traps, that may give us calories and unwanted ingredients. It is important to at least know what these traps are and, if we want, avoid them or at least make them a little bit healthier.

Ice Cream

The summer dessert and most people’s choice. The energy value of an ice cream can range anywhere from 75 to 240 calories per 100 grams and contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, as well as, high levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A. Aside from the nutritional ingredients that ice cream provides, which make ice cream lovers rejoice, there ar ealso other factors that require its limited consumption. Great ice cream consumption could lead to weight gain. Attention should be given to fat content, in particular, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, which may have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system’s function. Regarding bulk ice cream (not sold in packages,) chocolate flavor has a high fat content than vanilla, while fruit ice cream flavors have fewer calories; parfait flavors require additional attention because they have higher fat content and therefore more calories.

Coffee drinks

For most people, coffee drinks are stimulating and refreshing and are usually not consumed as a means to combat hunger. Some coffee drinks though contain the same amount of calories as a light meal. There are many varieties of coffee drinks, from the most typical ones, and perhaps the lighter options, such as freddo espresso or freddo cappuccino (calories depends on the type of sugar and the milk used), to the «stronger» drinks, such as freddoccino. The latter may contain over 300 calories and fat, so they must be consumed in moderation.

Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol is also, in many ways, synonymous with summer vacation. How many of us enjoy a refreshing mojito or other cocktail to cool off? The one certainty is that alcohol gives us many calories and few nutritional ingredients. One gram of alcohol equals 7 calories, more than that of proteins and carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), and a few less than that of fat (9 calories per gram). The more alcohol contained in an alcoholic beverage, the more calories the drink itself contains. Aside from the alcohol content, calories are also determined by the rest of the ingredients, especially in mixed drinks and cocktails. Thus, when we add soft drinks, juice, sugar or other ingredients we are increasing the calories.

We can enjoy the summer and our vacation and be relaxed, while avoiding exaggerations that could bring unwanted results to our body. As the ancient Greeks used to say, «everything in moderation».

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