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Calorie counts on vending machines...will they really help?

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Pretty soon, whenever walk up to a vending machine, you will see the calorie count for each item listed right in front of you. The logic behind this is that, if people see how many calories are in each item, they will choose items with fewer calories.

However, there are some problems with this thinking. The first is the type of food placed in vending machines. For the most part, the food is JUNK! To an extent, it may not matter the calorie count. Most of these food lack any nutritional value, and simply add calories to your diet.

If you choose regular chips with 150 calories, or flavored chips with 170, you are still getting 150 to 170 bad calories. The extra 20 won't make much difference.

Now, some vending machine foods can be healthy, or at least not too bad for you. These can include nuts, trail mix, granola bars, or Fig Newtons. Unfortunately, posting calorie counts may mislead people into choosing less healthy foods.

The foods listed above contain nutritional value, such as protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. On top of that, they may take care of your hunger better than something such as chips or pretzels. However, if these healthier foods contain more calories, people may choose the chips or pretzels simply based on the calorie count.

One step further, the person choosing chips over healthier options, may wind up stopping at the vending machine a bit later. This just adds more calories. In this instance, posting calorie counts has actually done more harm than good.

So what's the best option? Take some time to educate yourself so you can make smart choices. Better yet, take your own healthy food with you when you go places. This is your best bet to cut calories. Rely on yourself to be healthy, not others.

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