Breaking Down… Calories

Calories are simply a unit of measurement for energy. Just as meters and feet are for length, pounds and grams are for weight, and liters and fluid ounces are for volume. But the word has come a long way from it’s humble origins. Many misconceptions have been formed about calories, and not many people have a full explanation given to them before they form their opinions regarding them. Since being properly informed is the point of this blog, read on for the full explanation and mythbusting of calories!

The first myth about calories is that they are bad. People see high calorie foods, such as avocados, fish, and dairy items, and immediately assume them to be unhealthy. This is an extremely flawed process of thinking, because fish is one of the best meats, avocados one of the best vegetables, and dairy items are some of the best ways to get Vitamin D and Calcium into your body. As I mentioned before, a calorie itself is not bad. It cannot be bad. As mentioned before, calories are the unit of measurement for energy. But this is not the entire story. Calories are used to measure the energy that can be gained from a fuel source. Even fuels that seem extremely different from a cheeseburger, such as uranium, can be measured in calories. Surprisingly, uranium has about 18,000,000 kilocalories, but it is deemed unhealthy for other reasons which do not need to be explained. At least I hope they don’t have to. All food is fuel, so if you try to maintain a low-calorie diet, you might have to drive to the gas station a few more times.

The second myth is usually “discovered” after a basic understanding of the previous myth. People start to think that they need a lot of fuel. Many athletes have to maintain high calorie diets, but these diets never contain unhealthy foods. This is because of a concept known as an “empty calorie”. To understand what an empty calorie is, you need to understand what gives a food fuel to be high on calories. A few notable mentions, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, and fats. If a food has fibers and proteins, it can deliver a healthy and full high-calorie meal. But if the calories depend on fats and carbohydrates, then it can result in giving a short burst of energy, but cannot be maintained. When a food’s calories come from fats and carbohydrates, it most likely contains empty calories. When people have to bulk up their meals, they stay away from these foods, and you should too.

The third myth is based off of the format of Nutrition Labels. We’ve all seen thousands of them in our lives. What is the first item on the list? Calories. In bolded and large font, right at the top? Calories. We have been reprogrammed to focus on the amount of calories in a food instead of the other factors. An amount of calories does not make up how healthy a food is. Rather, the important information lies underneath. Keep an eye out for proteins (recommended 50 grams), carbohydrates (recommended 275 grams), sodium (recommended 2300 milligrams), fats (recommended 78 grams), sugars (recommended 50 grams), cholesterol (recommended 300 milligrams), and fibers (recommended 28 grams).

The last myth is more of a fun fact. This is not really a misconception, it just goes unnoticed by a lot of people. When I brought up the caloric information of uranium, my unit of measurement was not calories, but kilocalories. In most places you see the unit of calories, what is actually meant is kilocalories. If you search up how many calories are in a food, your result will most likely be in calories. This is because the two terms have been used interchangeably. In some scientific journals, the unit of measurement is more carefully regarded, but the general rule of thumb: people use calories as the unit instead of kilocalories. So if you ever see someone say 18,000,000 kilocalories, they do not mean 18,000,000,000 calories. They just mean 18,000,000 calories.

Now that these myths about calories have been cleared up, I hope that you will take a more logical approach when it comes to nutrition labelling and food choices. Stay healthy!

Sources:
For Empty Calories: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/jan/empty-calories-what-are-they-and-which-foods-are-they-hiding-in/
For Daily Values: https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/daily-value-new-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels
For Kilocalories vs. Calories: https://www.nal.usda.gov/legacy/fnic/what-difference-between-calories-and-kilocalories

Breaking Down: Expiry Dates

Expiry dates are one of the most controversial topics among the members of a household and the leaders of multibillion dollar corporations and businesses. A common topic of discussion, these dates can be warped to whatever standards the user desires them to be. This is because the user doesn’t know how to use these dates. All the unwritten laws, informal courtesies are useless, and it comes down to the facts.

The three types of expiration dates are “Sell-By” dates, “Best If Used By” dates, and simply “Use-By” dates. All three of these dates are important, but they cannot be used interchangeably, as the latter two commonly are.

First, let’s break down the “Sell-By” dates. This has the largest range of what is socially acceptable. Grocers typically put these food items out from a week to just one day before these dates. Baked goods, produce, and items that are considered fresh are usually sold with these dates. Think about it like this. If a cookie is made on Monday, then it is best on that Monday. The baker would probably want to empty out the storage, so the Sell-By date could be that same Monday. If a customer buys this, the choice falls into their hands. They could eat the fresh cookie on Monday, when the quality would be the best, or they could wait a few days, while the quality diminishes. This is where the human’s first dilemma occurs. Should they be able to wait for as long as the cookie can go before it becomes inedible, or should they consider the expiration date as the date when the cookie loses it’s fresh taste? Bakers use the “Sell-By” tactic so that the decision falls into the customers hands. Fresh produce without preservatives should be used up as soon as possible, within 5 days of purchasing. Baked goods can last up to a week, but quality goes down over time.

The next expiration date we need to tackle are the “Best If Used By” dates. These aren’t merely a suggestion, because all foods do expire. These dates are used for foods that can vary a lot in flavor, quality, or preservation. Canned foods are a good example. The shelf life of these foods can be extremely high, sometimes up to 10 years! But this also means that the margin of error has more of an impact. A 20% margin of error for a 5 day expiry date is just a give or a take of 1 day. But in 10 years, this margin of error could mean that your food goes bad a whole two years too early! Make sure to research the foods that you are planning on keeping for a long time, because you want to use them before they go bad.

Finally, the “Use-By” dates. These are the most strict and common dates. Used on dairy products, most processed foods, and others. For dairy products such as milk, it is best to stay close to the Use-By date. For yogurt and butter, the food is going to be okay to consume for at least a week after the date, given proper storage methods are in use. For frozen dairy items, there is more freedom. Freezing foods is the most effective way to keep foods normal for extended periods of time, so common sense is the best tool to use. Start avoiding frozen food if ice forms on it, it assumes an irregular color, or if it maintains a strong smell while in the freezer.

The lesson of this post is to only buy food that will be eaten. There is no point ignoring expiration dates when they exist solely for the purpose of the betterment of the customers health. And remember, the fragile foods which last for a short period of time contain the least preservatives, and these are the healthiest foods you can go for!

Salt vs. Sugar

The debate between the most detrimental common substance has long raged between salt and sugar. At first glance, they both look similar, normally being fine white grains. But as you find out more about them, you can answer the central question yourself; which is worse?

First, the definition of sugar needs to be cleared up. As I have clarified on this blog before, plain table sugar, sucrose, does not sum up the entire category of what dieticians and scientists define as sugar. Sugar is a generic term used to describe a sweet tasting, soluble, carbohydrate. Other compounds, such as glucose, lactose, and fructose are also sugars. Many people don’t need lactose, but it does help. Your body needs many sugars to work properly, so it is important not to wave them out of your diet. Next, the definition of salt. This usually comes with less confusion, but it doesn’t hurt to give a consice definition once and for all. Salt is a crystalline substance that is formed during a reaction of a base and an acid.

Over time, dieticians have studied the importance and effects of all different substances that fall into these categories. The benefits of salt have been studied, and it is a necessity. Salt helps regulate your muscle contractions and relaxations, it helps reinforce nerve functions, maintain blood pressure, and helps your body retain water, which keeps your fluid balance in check. Sugar only has one benefit, but this is an extremely important one. Sugar acts as an energy source. For your muscles, your brain, your nervous system, and if you ever have too much, it is simply stored for the next time! Both of these categories of substances have their pros, but what about the cons?

Salt can be extremely dangerous if overused. Overuse can inflame your muscles, including your heart. It can induce high blood pressure, kidney disease, stomach cancer, and even strokes. Your body needs salt to help maintain the health of your organs and muscles, but too much puts them at jeopardy. Sugar also has its cons. Along with high blood pressure and inflammation, sugar also brings diabetes, liver diseases, and increased risk of heart attack to the table. Most of these cons only occur hand in hand with overuse over a long period of time, but “overuse” is a vague term that doesn’t stay the same for everyone.

Synthetic sugars are more common than synthetic salts. Splenda, NutraSweet, and Newtame are all popular brands that claim to be a lot healthier than plain sucrose. At the end of the day, they are usually 100x stronger than sucrose, but they come with exponential weight gain, tumors, and other cancers. Synthetic salts are even more dangerous. They are drugs, and can become addictive. These synthetic salts have no health benefits whatsoever.

Both salts and sugars have their own pros and cons. Personally, I would choose sugar over salt. The main reason for this is storage. Excess sugar is stored in your muscles, waiting to be used as an energy source. Excess salt can slowly poison your bloodstream, and high blood pressure is prone to occur. After seeing all these facts, ask yourself, which substance is less detrimental to your health?

Breaking Down: French Fries

French Fries are the staple side dish. They’re everything that one could ask for. The vast variety, from light and crunchy to dense and chewy, they can compliment any dish! A few common pairings have been burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and even some exotic dishes that have their own version of a frenched and fried potato. In today’s blog, the history of the frenched fry will be uncovered so that you can have a true understanding of the icon in fast food, french fries.

The term “french” is a verb used to describe the method of cutting something into long rectangular prisms. This applies to French fries because they are, well, long rectangular prisms. The latter part of the name “fry” simply means that it is the result of being fried. There is no need to include any form of “potato” in this name because a summary of how the food was made is already the name. Who cares about the origin when the final product is sitting right in front of you? Well, maybe you should, because we need to talk about potatoes.

Potatoes are one of the least healthy vegetable. It lacks carotenoids, resulting in a plain brown color. It lacks vitamins, but it makes up for it with large amounts of starch and carbohydrates. This is why potatoes are known to have a high glycemic load, which is the scientific term for a food that spikes insulin surges in your body. Though they are one of the most versatile vegetables, they shouldn’t be treated as one. So next time someone tells you to eat some vegetables, please do not pull out potato chips.

French fries cannot be reduced down to the identity of just a food item. There is quite the political and historical conflict that goes behind it. The method of frenching originated in a region that covers the northern area of France, and the southern area of Belgium. Though most people consider that region to be Belgian, France has laid a historical claim to it, as the French Empire had control over it for a majority of modern history. An argument has been made that the word French would most likely be influenced by the name of the country, France, but the French people refer to the method as julienne. There is a complicated history, and anyone’s opinion will be based on what articles they read.

Something to remember, french fries were never intended to be healthy. As the new craze of health foods set in, alternatives came up. Home cooks have discovered that sweet potatoes are a healthier, less starchy alternative to the plain potato. Baking can replace the method of frying, for an almost equivalent level of crunchiness. The only issue with this is that sodium is still an issue. The natural sweet flavor in the sweet potatoes will rarely be overpowered by table salt, but many people try. This results in even more sodium that there is in a normal potato french fry. This same issue arises in the battle of meats versus imitation meats, but that is a later topic. Sacrifices have to be made, and the experience of a french fry depends on what you are looking for. The flavor will never be the same, but for some, the texture is enough.

The most common misconception about health foods is that it needs to be about change. It is always good to innovate in food choices, but sometimes, imitation is the opposite of flattery. Some things do not need to be changed. If you work too hard to change something, then there is no point of choosing that unique thing in the first place.

Breaking Down: Digestive System

Digestive System Explained: Organs and Digestion

Your digestive system is a complex structure which has developed and evolved over millions of years. All organisms have some way that they digest or break down their sustenance, but animals come at the top of the list of complexity. The ability to obtain nutrients and vitamins from any form of food is an ability that can decide whether a species can live on or not. Read on to find out more about the digestive system.

Something which you could have probably figured out by yourself, the first step in the digestive process is consumption through your mouth. This is a step which isn’t always necessary, as supplements can be injected or absorbed in ways that do not necessarily require having a mouth. Saliva in your mouth is responsible for breaking down food into smaller particles. This is why supplements are fine grained, usually in liquid form, they do not go through the mouth to be broken down by saliva. The food travels down your throat, where it doesn’t spend much time, into your esophagus. Now, the food has entered a place of no return. The esophagus has a pressure lid which keeps it from exiting. This pressure also forces it into your stomach, which is further down. Your stomach is home to many different enzymes and amounts of pressure keeping it in between layers of fat and muscle.

Your food continues to be broken down, and the acids separate the nutrients. The food is now in the small intestine. This is where separation occurs. After the waste is separated from the nutrients, the food is almost done processing. Before moving onto it’s famous counterpart, the food has to go through the pancreas and liver. At the stage of pancreas, the nutrients have been broken down to their most basic compounds. The liver purifies these compounds to the best of it’s abilities. After this, liquid waste is dropped off in the gallbladder. The compounds continue to the large intestine. The solid waste moves to the colon. Contractions called peristalsis move the waste and compounds to where they need to be. The compounds are absorbed by blood, the waste is stored and expelled.

Different animals have different digestive processes. Some have less muscular intestines, some have fattier stomachs. All of these strengths and weaknesses have played their own roles in evolution. Crocodiles have some of the most efficient systems, which is why they are one of the modern species which have close ancient counterparts. Chickens have small stomachs, and they lack acid around their intestines. This is why they have been a staple prey in the wild, and have evolved so much over the years.

Efficiency is key in the modern world. Everything that a human does relies on the efficiency of it. The digestive processes of humans are known to be the epitomes of an efficient process. This is one of the reasons why humans are so dominant to this day. If you are not feeding yourself healthy foods, then you are decreasing the efficiency of your digestive system. Choose healthy.

Monster Energy is Bringing New Products to the Market

Monster Energy Logo, history, meaning, symbol, PNG

Monster is an extremely influential brand in the soft drink and energy drink markets. It is brings in over 35% of the revenue in the entire energy drink market, second to Red Bull. Since 2002, Monster Energy has become a huge name and developed a large base of loyal customers. Now, after 20 years of selling non-alcoholic drinks, Monster Beverage is acquiring Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective.

Canarchy is a brewery known for it’s innovated and experimental brewers. New flavors are tested every day, and they are growing twice as fast as the Top 20 retailers of drinks. This growth is what made itself attractive to Monster. Monster uses caffeine to make their drink an energy drink, and their unique chemical taste is easily distinguishable from it’s competitors. Canarchy uses alcohol in their drinks, along with the chemical flavors that belong in their hard seltzers. Though both of these companies are unique, Monster has a bigger plan that goes along with their acquisition of Canarchy.

Caffeine is a highly addictive drug, in and out of energy drinks. The energy is short lived, but it’s reputation is only built on the positives. It does make your heart beat faster, your blood pump faster. It also unnaturally and redundantly jumpstarts your adrenaline. Trying to force your body awake with caffeine is not healthy. But energy drink companies choose to advertise the exciting flavors and attractive logos, that the caffeine is often overlooked. Their customers have gotten addicted to the chemical flavor and the caffeine, and the brand Monster has an extremely positive reputation among it’s customers.

Monster has hooked in many clients over the past 20 years, and their plan most definitely involves a new Monster drink. An alcoholic one. All of their original client base would now be drinking alcohol, and even most of their customers now are of age. The same, iconic, Monster flavor, with an extra kick of alcohol instead of caffeine. What’s not to love? Well, alcohol is one of the easiest substances to form an addiction to, and if people were able to get addicted to caffeine so quickly, then selling alcohol would be a great way to make money for Monster. The facilities that would come in their possession after owning Canarchy would be more than enough for them to become one of the biggest names in a very split alcohol community.

Like most brands, Monster only cares about two things; profit margin and market capitalization. In all the ventures that companies take to broaden their product variety, they are only in it for themselves. To them, addiction is just a loyal customer. This is an extremely messed up way of thinking, but unfortunately, it is the world we live in.

How Mass Production Has Affected Our World

Krispy Kreme IPO: DNUT starts trading on the Nasdaq

Mass production. As anyone studying economy can tell you, the demand must always be higher than the supply for a successful business. Even if there is no intention for the product to be exclusive, if you want your product to sell, you need to be needed more by the customers than you need the customer. This is the first rule of economics, but any industry that partakes in mass production thinks otherwise. They always want to have their product at the ready for use by the consumer. We see these trends in the industries of cars, clothes, furniture, and most importantly, food.

Mass production hasn’t always been a problem, and the techniques which built up to it were revolutionary in the world of technology. The production line from Henry Ford in 1913, the Speedee Service System from the McDonald brothers in 1948, and the evolution of industrialism over the last few centuries have all played their own role in this rapidly changing ecosystem. These systems were put in place to maximize efficiency and reduce stress. All business owners wanted to be the head of the most reliable business in its own industry. Ford made cars accessible to the middle class, and McDonald’s advertised their product so that it seemed attractive to every group of people. Quality wasn’t the main focus at the time, but it was still a factor which played a role in the validity of the product. As time went on, mass production has brought down the quality of products. It has gone unnoticed for a long time, because the price has gone down along with the quality.

Mass production has become socially acceptable for a multitude of reasons. The most successful companies in the world all rely on mass production in some shape or form. This gives mass production a good name. Apple is in possession of the facilities to produce 500,000 iPhones in one day! McDonalds do sell over 50,000,000 burgers a day! Without modern techniques in mass production, they wouldn’t be able to reach these milestones.

To sum it up, modern companies require modern solutions to the high demand that exists for any important product. They chose to resort to a method which prioritizes efficiency over quality. And for this, they are rewarded with billions of dollars of revenue. Though we as a species are meant to continue in our progression through evolution, some things should not be treated as collateral damage. The effects that low quality products can have could be detrimental to any consumer’s wellbeing. This is why it is important to stick to high quality foods and appliances.

Breaking Down: Coffee

How to tap into the health benefits of coffee

Coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world, falling just short of tea and water. Most adults drink it, most teenagers do as well. It is produced by more than 70 countries worldwide, and coffee beans industry is valued over $100,000,000,000. In this post, I will guide you through the process of how coffee beans start in countries like Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia, and end up in landfills and composters.

Coffee beans have been a part of culture in African and Asian countries for hundreds of years. There is a legend dating back 1300 years about a goat herder in Ethiopia. The legend claims that the herder kept his male goats in one pen, and his female goats in the other. After his separation of the goats, he noticed that the male goats had more energy than the female goats. After inspection, he discovered the existence of the first coffee plant. This legend does not make perfect sense, as the plant which would have been found in Ethiopia is called coffea arabica, and this plant does not give an extreme change in energy until its fruit is roasted or cooked. In the 1500s, villages in the Middle East began boiling a bitter drink with this coffea arabica, and that was the first coffee. In the 1600s, the methodologies of boiling this bitter plant spread as far east as India and the mountainous Himalayas, and was then cultivated in Europe. In the 1700s, the non-native plant was cultivated in South America, where it now prospers. 5 out of 10 of the countries which produce the most coffee beans are located in the Americas. After that, coffee became a more popular drink, and it evolved into a sweeter drink. Now, coffee has as many variations as there are seasons of The Simpsons.

Coffee can be prepared in many different ways, and each culture and species of coffee plant has its own specifications. The most common coffee, Arabica, is prepared with these instructions. The process begins by obtaining roasted coffee beans. These beans are harvested from the center of the plant. After the beans are roasted, they should normally be grinded right before use. If they are grinded by the packaging company, then the coffee will definitely lose its flavor. After you grind the beans, simmer them in a small amount of water. This is also when you can add different spices, such as cardamom and saffron. After the grinded beans are simmered, you need to boil it in a full pot. You pour the beans into the pot, along with all the water from the simmer. Then, you add the rest of your water, until it is a bit more than your desired amount. Boil the coffee for five minutes while stirring, as the excess water evaporates. Finally, you strain the coffee. For the flavor to be strong, let the coffee sit for 20 minutes before adding any foam or milk to it.

Now, it is time to talk about all the waste that comes from coffee. I’m not talking about landfill waste, I’m talking about health waste. People add lots of toppings to their coffee, making it unhealthy. They add many grams of sugar, fatty milks and creams, and some specialties are just plain junk food. The purpose of this blog was to show the harsh reality about how our modern world takes any food and makes it unhealthy. Coffee could have been a staple of the world even without cream and sugar. But our society could not let that be.

Breaking Down: Christmas Meals

The Best Christmas Meal Delivery Services - Variety

Christmas is a holiday that has been celebrated for almost two millenniums. It is a holiday to celebrate the spirit of giving, along with the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many dietary traditions that go along with the holiday. If you celebrate Christmas, then read this blog so that you are able to make informed decisions on what to eat when you are hanging out with your family.

Important foods that are in most traditional Christmas meals are roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and puddings. Normally, these foods are okay to have in proportion. But as mentioned in my previous blog, the problem is proportion. With this new set of food items, there are other problems that arise. The three foods that I chose have different problems, which should all be handled differently.

Roast potatoes are the first on the list. Potatoes are some of the least nutritious vegetables in the world. You can usually judge the nutritional value of a vegetable or fruit based on the color of it’s flesh. Potatoes have white flesh. A lack of color indicates a lack of nutrients. The only result that a potato consumer can see is an increase in carbohydrates and starch in their bodies. This can cause retention of water, making you feel bloated and sick. Roasting is a good method of cooking, because it doesn’t drain out nutrients. But when someone is roasting potatoes, there are barely nutrients to start with.

Brussels sprouts are next on the list. After explaining how a “bad” vegetable doesn’t help your body, it is probably surprising to see a “good” vegetable like Brussels sprouts on this list. This is surprising, as long as you are only counting the vegetable by itself. Unfortunately, the problem is not with the vegetable, but with the flavorings and methods of cooking, their nutrition is dwindled. They are normally shallow fried, or sautéed in large amounts of oil. Then, they are lathered with sugary and savory sauces, which add fat and sodium to the mix. American culture is known for taking foods and making it more unhealthy. Brussels sprouts on Christmas is an example of that.

Puddings are the most despicable item on the list. Yorkshire puddings are common on Christmas, so the nutrition information will be derived from Yorkshire pudding. There is simply no purpose for eating Yorkshire pudding. There is no benefit at all. A 100 gram serving of this pudding has 200 calories, all of them being empty. Over 10 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, and 190 milligrams of sodium. There are also almost 20 grams of carbohydrates. Yorkshire pudding is made from salt, flour, eggs, oil, and whole milk. Though it isn’t a sweet food, it still manages to have high amounts of carbohydrates. Yorkshire puddings have one of the worst combinations of food. Out of all savory baked goods, Yorkshire pudding is the one dish which you should avoid on Christmas nights. There is a joke that all the people in the United Kingdom who have issues with their weight are enjoyers of Yorkshire pudding. This joke has a strong basis, and might as well be responsible for the 31% obese population of the UK.

Jokes aside, you should always be aware of the negative buildups of different foods. Some might be high in sodium, endangering the blood flow to your heart and brain. Some might cause fat buildups. Some might unnecessarily bloat you. Remember to stay informed, and stay healthy!

Breaking Down: Thanksgiving Meals

Classic Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes

For centuries, Thanksgiving has been a holiday most commonly celebrated with food. Large amounts of it. As time has gone on, people have brought their own unique innovations into the holiday, and the food is what makes it special. But now, as obesity rates skyrocket, can we afford to continue making these unhealthy choices? Read on to see how we can improve our diets every time we eat a Thanksgiving meal.

Some of the staple items at a Thanksgiving table are the following: a roasted turkey, a pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a sweet potato casserole. Other items that could be served include different meats, such as ham and chicken. There are also many vegetable based dishes.

A 3 ounce serving of turkey contains 173 calories, over 5 grams of fat, and over 20 grams of protein. Turkey is also high in vitamins and minerals. This doesn’t seem unhealthy, but the portion size of turkey is often over the recommended 3 ounces, and the grams of fat keep on piling up. The pumpkin pie is the next item that needs to be broken down. Check yesterday’s fast fact about pumpkin pie for further information on this iconic dessert. A 5 ounce serving of pumpkin pie contains 323 calories, 13 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, and 318 milligrams of sodium. If you thought the unseasoned turkey was unhealthy, then this is unacceptable. And most people eat multiple slices of pie, thinking “It’s only once a year…”. If you want to take it even further, with the third of the Holy Trinity in Thanksgiving food, let’s take a look at mashed potatoes with gravy. A 10 ounce serving of mashed potatoes contains 265 calories, 20 grams of fat, 1143 milligrams of sodium, and 42 grams of carbohydrates. Mashed potatoes are among some of the worst food items to overeat. The sodium and carbohydrates build up and are the biggest factors to blame for heartburn.

A Thanksgiving meal is not to blame for what this holiday has turned into. The lack of portion control for each item individually has caused the holiday to be known for gaining weight and making unhealthy choices. As the holiday continues to be innovated, there are healthier recipes everywhere. Be encouraged to try them out. Stay healthy!