Can you really trust the label?

Discussion in 'Calorie Counting' started by Iris, 1 June 2009 Social URL.

  1. Iris

    Iris Full Member

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    Are you wary of any calorie-counted foods?

    I mean, do you doubt the accuracy of the calorie count, or feel uncomfortable eating it because it just -has- to be more than the label says it is?

    There's a pack from Asda's Good For You range. '2 Cheese & Chive filled Jacket Potatoes,' 400g. The pack says that it's 170 calories for half (one spud), 340 for the two. It also says that it's 97 calories per 100g.

    Here's the nutritional breakdown on the pack (per 100g):

    Energy: 97kcal
    Protein: 4.7g
    Carbohydrate: 16.2g
    Fat: 1.5g
    Saturates: 0.9g
    Fibre: 2.7g

    The column for 'per half pack' which should be 200g (right?) reads:

    Energy: 170kcal
    Protein: 8.2g
    Carbohydrate: 28.4g
    Fat: 2.6g
    Saturates: 1.6g
    Fibre: 4.7g

    The thing is, like every yo-yo dieter and former binger worth her salt, I've eaten my share of small meals and of whopping great mountains. Eating two of these potatoes feels like a binge. It feels like 700-800 calories. Is it possible they've miscalculated and it's actually 340 for one potato/half the pack?

    The reason I'm wary is because I know that Asda's fresh egg pasta has an incorrect calorie count on its label. I once ate half a pack after kidding myself it was okay due to the ridiculously low calorie count on the label. After examining it more closely, I realised they'd screwed up and applied the calories for a cooked weight to that of the uncooked weight.

    What do you guys think? Any foods that you've tried that you feel are inaccurately represented in the calorie stakes?

    How rigorously are these things checked and verified?
     
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  3. Little Noo

    Little Noo Full Member

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    i watched a programme on this about a year ago that investigated the accuracy of calorie content on food labels (i cant remember what it was called but it was really good)

    i think im right in saying that there is a 3% lee-way that they give themselves to play with - although it could be more - i cant really remember lol!!

    but basically the jist of it was that no they arent as acurate as they seem to be - and remember they wont be testing every single item for its calorie content - so often inidividual products may vary in their calorie content from one another.

    but then u have to think - if we cant rely on labels - how else are we supposed to know? i think that in reality we have no choice but to rely on lables - and i guess most of the time they are right. but like you've said - if something seems too good to be true - then it probably isnt.
     
  4. KD

    KD Gone fishing

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    No, you can't always trust the calories on the packets, but they are pretty accurate within a few (usually). I know that I could go astray to with not reading them properly:eek:

    I remember being fanatical about counting and checking the values by multiplying the protein/carb/fat/fibre grams to make sure they added up correctly calorie wise.

    Then Lightbulb moment [​IMG]

    Some might be higher but then some might be lower. Usually balances out.

    And it occurred to me when I was getting the excel sheet out to check they were 100% correct that the problem was more to do with my head than the nutritional info on the packets :D
     
  5. Iris

    Iris Full Member

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    That's wisdom right there. Painful wisdom but I needed it. Thanks!

    There was an article in The Times today on the humble baked spud. They mentioned that a typical 200g specimen was around 250 calories before fillings. So I guess the Asda pack -is- way off the mark. 340 for one, I suspect, rather than two. I knew there was a reason it felt bingey!

    Bah humbug. I really liked them, too.

    And KD- I'm fine with a good dollop of leeway either side, but when something's specifically from a healthy eating range and it appears to be misrepresented by more than half... call me picky, that just ain't on!:p

    If I was the letter-writing type, I may get scribbling. In fact, an email couldn't hurt...
     
  6. carefulcounter

    carefulcounter Rachel

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    Iris from what you have said it does seem a bit suspicious - i would e-mail Asda, it can't hurt and they won't be aware of the issue unless it is pointed out! I often annoy companies by emailing for calorie information when they don't have it on their products and I can't find it on the internet!!

    I don't totally trust calorific information either especially when you have something like for example a bag of mixed nuts! Well 10g that's made up of mostly almonds is going to be more that 10g made up of mostly cashews! But I try not to fixate and go with KD's philosophy that as long as you count everything, sometimes your noted intake for an item will be higher than the calories you actually took in, sometimes lower. It will balance out in the end. :)

    If you let Asda know - be sure to report back!
     
  7. Iris

    Iris Full Member

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    CC - The old mixed fruit/nuts bag can worry me a bit, too. But that's more because once it's open I don't have much self-control with them!

    Good on you for emailing the companies - keep them on their toes. I didn't email but last time I was in my local store I noticed an approachable looking employee in the ready meals aisle, so I had a wee word with her, turns out she's a calorie counter, too... ahhh, the bonds that can be forged in the battle of the bulge. ;) We had a good old yap about all things diet-related, and she said she thought the spuds sounded too good to be true as well, so she'd see what she could find out.

    In the meantime I've been trying some Weightwatchers frozen ready meals which are wondrously low in the calorie stakes, but very small portions. The beef hotpot is gorgeous, though. 209 calories! Wouldn't feed a sparrow on its own, but great with a pound or so of steamed veggies!
     
  8. carefulcounter

    carefulcounter Rachel

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    Yep I bought myself a little silicone steamer that goes in a saucepan and I have never looked back! I steam any veg unlucky to be caught by my wandering eye and I pile it up with my dinner...broccoli and pepper are my favourites!
     
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