Continuum Weight + Wellbeing

What that means and what you should know!

Remember the Lay’s Potato Chip slogan, “You can’t eat just one”?   

The people at Lay’s were right and they knew it.  In fact, they made their potato chips that way on purpose.  Why is it so hard to limit those types of foods? It’s all about science and brain chemistry.  Certain foods are hyperpalatable, meaning they possess the perfect combination of sugar, fat and salt, which can stimulate feel-good chemicals in our brain.  Certain emotions can disrupt the feel-good chemicals, leaving a deficit which can create cravings for foods that can stimulate the production of feel-good chemicals.  

Creating these hyperpalatable foods is the goal of food manufacturers.  This is referred to as the “Bliss Point”.  It is that precise combination of sugar, fat and salt that excites our brain and keeps us coming back for more.  The result, of course, is that we overeat these hyperpalatable foods because they are more attractive to the human brain. 

We commonly refer to hyperpalatable foods as junk food, treats, snacks, unhealthy and processed. When we coach our clients, we call these Sometimes Foods. This gives some indication of how often we can and should indulge. Sometimes.  But what does that mean?


Here are some guidelines for managing Sometimes Foods.  

  1. Sometimes Foods are calorie densenutrient poor foods best consumed in small amounts. Think of them as a condiment. Portion control is extremely important when consuming these foods. 
  1. To determine if a food choice is a Sometimes Food, use the following guide: 
    1. More than 10 grams of sugar per serving and/or 
    2. More than 10 grams of fat per serving and/or 
    3. More than 400 mg of sodium per serving 
  2. How do you fit Sometimes Foods into your life in a healthy way? 
    1. Decide how often you want to incorporate Sometimes Foods into your eating: Monthly? Week? Daily? 
    2. Assess your goals. Are you wanting to maintain your health and weight or would you prefer to get healthier or lose weight? 
    3. Exchange the Sometimes Food for a grain/starch or fat: 
      • 1 Sometimes Food = 1 grain/starch  
      • 1 Sometimes Food = 2 fats 

Example: You are going out for pizza and want to eat 2 slices (800 calories) of a large pizza. This is equivalent to 16 fat servings or 8 starch servings or a combination of the two: 4 starch servings and 8 fat servings. You would need to save your fat and/or starch servings throughout the week to accommodate the pizza. 

Following is a list of common Sometimes Foods and portions equaling 100 calories per serving.

Alcohol, liquor 1 shot
Alcohol, wine 4 oz
Alcohol, beer 12 oz
Bacon 2 slices
Banana bread 1/2 slice
Bratwurst with bun 1/4 of one
Brownies 1 two-inch square
Cake, bakery 1/16 of a layer cake
Cheesecake 1/12 of a cake
Chocolate Candy 2 small squares
Cookies, bakery 1/3 of one cookie
Donuts 1/4 of one
French Fries 1/2 of a small serving
Frozen Yogurt 1/2 cup
Hard candy 3 pieces
Hot dog with bun 1/2 of one
Ice Cream, vanilla 1/3 cup
Juice, sugar added 3/4 cup
Muffins, bakery 1/2 of a small muffin
Pancakes, restaurant 3/4 to 1 pancake
Pastries, fruit-filled 1/3 of one
Pie 1/3 of a slice
Pizza, frozen 1/3 of a slice
Pizza, restaurant 1/4 of one slice
Popsicles 2 singles
Potato chips 10 chips
Pudding, sugar added 1/3 cup
Sausage 1/2 of one link
Sherbert 1/2 cup
Soda, sugar added 3/4 can
Sweet potato fries 1/3 cup
Tater tots 5 tots
Tortilla chips 8 chips
Maple syrup 2 tablespoons
Honey 2 tablespoons

Cutting back on Sometimes Foods while eating a daily diet of nutrient dense foods like water, vegetables, lean protein and fruit gives us a healthy foundation and fuels our bodies properly. It also helps us stay more satiated, so we don’t find ourselves reaching for the Lay’s!

Happiness & health,

Kelly A Brennan, CFN

Contact the Continuum Weight + Wellbeing team for coaching support!