With Christmas just around the corner, people are now planning for their Christmas party and Noche Buena. We usually prepare for a sumptuous dinner to be shared with the family at exactly 12 midnight or after the midnight mass. It is in these times that we always neglect our diet and gobble foods high in cholesterol, salt and sugar. It is during this holiday season that we let our bodies pack some more fats and add more weight.
But before picking up our spoon and fork and drool on those crispy lechon (roasted pig), succulent ham, soft and flavorful humba (braised pork belly), hot and oily bulalo (beef marrow stew), creamy mango float and other noche buena regulars, let us be aware that:
1. Every bit of those food that you put in your mouth will be absorbed by your body and every gram of it has its equivalent (1 gram of fat = 9 calories; 1 gram of protein = 4 calories; 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories; 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories).
2. On a daily 2,000-calorie balanced diet, you need to consume 50 g of protein, 300 g of carbohydrates, 65 g of fat (20 g of saturated fat, 300 mg of cholesterol) and 25 g of fiber.
3. Therefore, eating a plate full of slices of lechon and ham, humba, pasta, desserts in one meal can be packed with fattening calories, harmful cholesterol, and deadly salt and sugars.
To give you an idea what I am talking about, here is an example of a typical Christmas or Noche Buena plate with computed calorie and cholesterol count.
1. 1 – serving Rice (1 cup) = 242 cal; 0 mg cholesterol
2. 2 – serving Lechon (200 g) = 484 cal; 190 mg cholesterol
3. 1 – serving Smoked Ham (100 g) = 122 cal; 22 mg cholesterol
4. ½ – serving Humba (50 g) = 86 cal; 14 mg cholesterol
5. ½ - serving Chopsuey (1/2 cup) = 50 cal; 0 cholesterol
6. 1 – slice Mango Float = 280 cal; 12 mg cholesterol
7. 1 – bottle Beer (330 mL) = 139 cal; 0 cholesterol
To sum up, you had 1,043 calories and 238 mg cholesterol in one EXTRA midnight meal! This is half of your daily calorie requirements and 80% of your cholesterol intake. No wonder it is in this holiday season that a lot of people gained weight and got heart problems.
With the extra calories you had, you need 2 hours of high impact aerobics or 2 hours of non-stop jogging or 5 hours of walking to burn out the excess calories.
It is important that we should watch out our food intake by choosing the right food and eating in moderation those that are high in fat and cholesterol and be prepared to go to the gym to sweat out and burn out those calories.