The dreaded diet counseling continued this week. I don’t dread the counseling, but the patient may dread it until they are overjoyed with their new knowledge to help them succeed with their goals!

I happen to enjoy the look on my┬ápatients face when I tell them that 4 ounces of orange juice is 75 calories and turns into 4 teaspoons of sugar (over 1 tablespoon!), or that the avocado they are eating as part of their healthy weight loss plan may be healthy (and it is filled with monounsaturated fats – the most heart healthy fat!), but every 2 tablespoons have 45 calories and is considered one fat serving. One patient this week was so excited to learn about nutrition. She has been successfully cutting back on portion sizes and fats, but didn’t realize some of the hidden calories and how quickly they can add up. She was surprised to learn that 3,500 calories equal ONE POUND – and if you reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, for one week, you will lose that pound!

It’s so easy! She was eating ½ an avocado. If 2 tablespoons has 45 calories how many calories in ½ of the avocado? Too many! One piece of cheese is 100 calories, 15 almonds is 100 calories, 6 ounces of juice is 100 calories, 8 ounces of skim milk is 90 calories, 4-6 crackers is 100 calories – and there you have it – your lost pound.

The moral of the story is: calories add up when you don’t think about them.

Marci Sloane

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University.