Thursday, 1 November 2012

Calorie Counting?

Just a small rant.

I enjoy reading cookbooks, and recipes online and in magazines. Most of these now have – alongside the ingredients and the method – the nutritional information [calories, fats/sugars/salt content etc] This is useful stuff. BUT – I am getting extremely annoyed by recipes which tell you the calorie content ‘per portion’ – but then have a picture of a huge slice of cake or whatever. For instance this was in a mag I read recently.

Bakewell-cake_flora cuisine

It is a ‘Bakewell Cake’ using an ingredient which claims to be “perfect for frying, roasting and baking” and has 45% less saturated fat than olive oil.

‘That sounds healthy’, I think to myself.

300Cals per portion.

I think again - ‘That’s a bit steep – but it is cake…’

Then I look carefully at the photo – that slice is about one sixth, maybe one seventh of the cake [let’s say 15%] . And the recipe states the cake should make 12-16 portions.

So the total calorie content must be somewhere between 3600 and 4800 calories – and that large slice could therefore be anything between 540 and 720 calories. Which is not a healthy serving.

I watched a programme the other week about a lady who struggled to diet – and much of the problem was that she was not aware how large her portion sizes were. These sort of photographs do not help!


  1. I agree that many people don't have any idea of what a portion size should be, and also that recipe photos can be misleading! I think one reason this is misleading though is that they've cut out a larger piece so the gap is about 1/6 of the cake, but the slice itself is smaller than that and perhaps is closer to being 1/12? The way they've done it and photographed it makes it look bigger. Which still means of course that it gives the wrong impression, so in no way takes away from your justified rant!

  2. I find that even the slimming magazines use photographic 'tricks'. By using very small plates, tiny pastry forks and no point of real reference (e.g. a human hand), the magazines mislead us into a false sense of security. I particularly remember making some Almond Bites last year (no pun intended). I used the recipe from a well known 'watching your weight' publication and when I actually measured out the mixture into bite(?)-sized portions ... well, it was all very disappointing. A complete waste of time and effort.
    When children's toys are advertised on T.V. there has to be a child's hand somewhere in the shot to give a real sense of scale. Perhaps the law should extend this idea to food portion sizes.

  3. I agree - it's very annoying and deceiving!

  4. I don't know what ingredient that may be, but if it's something concocted in a lab, give me good ol' natural olive oil. And butter is better still!

    You're so right about the deceptive photos.

    1. Couldn't agree more Mrs M, 'new' ingredients are never real food.


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