100 calories doesn’t sound like a lot. And it’s not – it amounts to 1½ digestive biscuits or a slice of bread. But over time an extra 100 calories a day adds up and within a year can result in nearly a stone in weight gain.
At this time of year in particular – eating a little bit more at parties, never mind the calorie blow-out that is Christmas Day – you can add up to 5lb to your waistline over the course of the festive season.
That’s why World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF UK) has introduced the 100 Calorie Challenge. By relatively easy and straightforward changes to your diet, you can avoid this weight gain – and the associated health costs – by sidestepping that extra 100 calories a day.
The UK’s weight problem
We’re concerned with weight gain because the UK is facing an obesity crisis, with a third of children and nearly two-thirds of adults being overweight or obese. While most people are aware of the health problems this causes in terms of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, fewer people realise that being overweight is a major risk factor for cancer – second only to smoking – and around 23,000 cases of cancer could be prevented every year in the UK if everyone was a healthy weight.
The cumulative effect of cutting 100 calories from your daily calorie intake makes a real difference in the long term. It can help prevent the gradual weight gain that most people don’t notice but increases incrementally year on year, Christmas on Christmas. Smaller changes are also easier to stick to than big switches in what we eat, so are more likely to be sustainable when you’re trying to keep an eye on your body weight.
What is the challenge?
During the three-week challenge, WCRF UK’s nutritionist Dr Rachel Thompson sends daily emails with top tips and advice about swaps that could cut 100 calories from your diet.
The emails put a spotlight on hidden calories and suggest realistic changes to help avoid weight gain but satisfy your stomach’s demands.
The first 100 Calorie Challenge ran in May, coinciding with Cancer Prevention Week, and proved a huge success with thousands of people around the country signing up. This time the tips and swaps have a more seasonal feel with ideas for cutting the calories at Christmas without having to sacrifice any of the tasty treats we all love.
The challenge has also introduced a lot of people to some of the healthy recipes on our website, which offer delicious meal ideas suitable for all occasions.
Sign up for the free 100 Calorie Challenge today and make an early start on fighting the Christmas bulge.