I feel like I hear often… “does it really matter if I do this vs that?”
“This” and “that” can be a variety of things…
grill vs fry
regular yogurt or Greek yogurt
regular potato or sweet potato
diet vs regular pop
run or walk
While I can’t give an answer for all of these, I can provide a little bit of insight on choices that I make daily to either save calories, limit fat, or reduce the amount of sugar that I am eating. Of course, many items could be argued or speculated, this is only my opinion. Do I really feel some of these changes can really pack a big punch? Of course! If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write about it. This is sort of my own version of “this or that?” Take from it what you like!
Yogurt: Regular yogurt or Greek yogurt?
I choose: Greek!
Why? There are many versions of Greek yogurt out there that taste very similarly to regular yogurt. I hear people say all the time, “I just don’t like the taste. Too tangy and bitter.” In some cases, I completely agree, but one major benefit of switching to Greek yogurt (especially if you find one that you like) is the higher protein content that you will be receiving. Also, in many cases but not all, you can get a lower sugar content as well. For example: Yoplait Original French Vanilla packs 26g of sugar and only 5g of protein. Dannon Light&Fit Greek Vanilla however packs 7g of sugar and 12g of protein. That is over double the protein and almost 1/4 of the sugar. One may argue that this Greek yogurt uses artificial sweetener instead of regular sugar, which many people shy away from. I tend to think that artificial sweetener does the job it was given, it sweetens without using regular sugar, and in moderation is perfectly fine (again my opinion).
Peanut butter: Regular or reduced fat?
I choose: neither… I choose, PB2
Why? PB2 just recently entered my life and for a peanut butter lover who can definitely overdue the peanut butter, I love this substitution. Regular peanut butter such as Jif Creamy Peanut Butter has about 190kcal for 2 Tbsp and about 16g of fat. PB2 has 45kcal and 1.5g of fat per 2 Tbsp. PB2 comes in powder form and can be mixed in smoothies, yogurt, or with water to create peanut butter to spread on bread, cracker, etc.
Potatoes: Sweet potato or russet potato
I choose: Sweet Potato
Why? Sweet potatoes and russet potatoes both contain roughly around the same amount of calories and carbs, BUT it is all of the “extras” that come with sweet potatoes that make them my choice. Not only are they tastey, and can be made sweet or savory (I dare you to put some cinnamon on a regular potato…I bet it won’t give you the same effect) but they are also packed with Vitamin A, which is great for vision, immunity, and your skin, potassium, which is also found in regular potatoes, and added fiber when compared to russet potatoes. Vitamin A is really the star here. One cup of sweet potatoes can typically provided over the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A for the day. Other beneficial nutrients that come along with this food include Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and iron.
Oil: Olive oil or coconut oil
I choose: Olive Oil
Why? I am really not a “trend” person when it comes to diet or food trends. Every once and a while I will catch on, but this trend in using coconut oil actually really frustrates me. When it comes to overall health, especially heart health, the American Heat Association recommends a diet moderate in mono and polyunsaturated fats, while very limited in saturated in trans fat. If you take some time to read through their website, they actually state that mono and polyunsaturated fats are the “good fats” which saturated and trans are “bad fats”. Olive oil is comprised mainly of monounsaturated fat (about 75%) while coconut oil’s main component is saturated fat (about 91%). It is mind boggling to me the fad that is now to use olive oil in your cooking? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to support and of the new “beneficial” health claims about coconut oil, yet it is seen as this “miracle oil” in todays society. Choose what you would like to believe, but I don’t think I will be persuaded any time soon to switch to coconut oil for my cooking!