Top 5 tips to tackling the Easter bulge
If this year is anything like the last, Australia is expected to spend $191 million on chocolate this Easter with chocolate consumption accounting for 3.6% of the country’s total annual consumption .
With chocolate taking centre stage in Australians diets over Easter, Medibank’s Dr Ian Boyd says people should choose their chocolate wisely and take special note of portion sizes to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
“Companies are clever in the way they portion their products and it’s easy to get confused looking at the nutritional information label on the back of a Gold Bunny  for example, and mistake the 40g serving size for the whole 200g bunny. Suddenly you’re taking in 4542 extra kilojoules (1085 calories) as opposed to the intended 40g serving size which is 908 kilojoules (217 calories)”, said Dr Boyd.
The average Australian woman  would need to cycle for an hour and 20 minutes to burn 4542 kilojoules (1085 calories) while the average man would need to walk the dog for more than four hours .
Dr Boyd also recommends dark chocolate as a healthier alternative to milk and white chocolate that has preventative heart benefits.
“Dark chocolate with more than 70% of cocoa solids is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are found in a number of foods such as green tea, fruits and vegetables that have been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin resistance and prevent Coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure ”, said Dr Boyd.
But not all dark chocolate is created equal with the amounts of flavonoids and sugar in each variety of chocolate varying from brand to brand, so it’s important to take note of the percentage of cocoa in the ingredients list and choose accordingly.
“But whether you opt for dark chocolate or not it’s important to buy and eat your Easter eggs responsibly to know exactly what you’re up for in the kilojoule stakes and avoid unnecessary weight gain.”
Dr Boyd’s tips for avoiding Easter weight gain
- Set yourself a reasonable chocolate limit.
- Check your serving sizes – beware of serving sizing in grams for novelty chocolate like bunny’s and giant eggs and stick to labels which say the kilojoules/calories per Easter egg.
- Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate – it can improve heart health and make you less likely to overindulge because of its bitterness.
- Swap out the sweet version for the real version – hard boiled eggs are a great source of protein and at 326KJ per egg (78 calories) they’re a lot better for your waistline and your health.
- Think of how much exercise you’ll have to do before you reach for the Easter egg basket – for every mini milk chocolate egg you eat , you’ll have to jog 4 minutes to burn it off .
 IBISWorld, 2014, ‘Easter spending: sweets, seafood and the great Australian road trip’, http://media.ibisworld.com.au/2014/04/03/easterspending-sweets-seafood-great-australian-road-trip/
 Based on the nutritional information of a milk chocolate 200g Lindt Gold Bunny.
 Based on 2011-13 ABS data on ‘Profiles of health’ via http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4338.0main+features212011-13
 Based on calorie burn calculator via http://www.mydr.com.au/tools/calories-burned-calculator
 Based on information via http://www.tkd.org.tr/~/media/files/archive/documents/2015/mart/tkda_2015_43_2_199-207.pdf
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