Calories in Filipino Foods

by Dr. Philip S. Chua.
January 1, 2011
For Filipinos, the holidays started in November. At least, in the Philippines, that is. With the festivities, practically all of us will be feasting almost continuously, except when we are asleep. And some of us may even be dreaming about parties and food even in our slumber.

Today, more than ever, people are more health conscious, and since food greatly impacts our health, we are also interested to know how much calories are contained in a certain portion of each food item we choose to eat. It’s just like watching our budget for our financial health, or being aware of, or sensitive to, what we do and what we fail to do for our fellowmen, for our spiritual health.

Calorie is the amount of energy in food/drink we ingest, and also the energy consumed or lost with any bodily activity. The more we eat, the more calories we absorbed into our body, and the more we exercise, the more we burn or lose calories. The balance in the calorie intake and output determines whether we maintain our current weight, lose weight, or gain pounds.

To find out how much one’s total calorie requirement (TCR) is, one must compute his/her ideal body weight (IBW). The Tannhauser Formula will give us the answer. IBW (in kg) = (Height in cm minus 100) less 10%. Example: If a person is 5 foot 2 inches, the height in centimeter is (62 inches x 2.54) or 157.48 cm. So, 157.48 minus 100 = 57.48. And 57.48 minus 10% (or 5.748) equals to 51.73 or about 52 kg is the IBW.

Now that we know the IBW, we must find out the level of physical activity of the person. Using the Krause Formula, the standard average calories burned are as follows: Sedentary, just sitting behind the desk, 30 calories; average housewife chores, 40; carpenter, 45.

To find out the TCR, multiply the IBW with the physical activity, say, sedentary. So, TCR in this example will be 52 kg x 30, or 1560 calories per day. This energy is what is required to maintain the body weight, no loss, no gain. In general, the average calorie requirement per day ranges between 1500 to 2000.

Eating 500 calories more a day (in excess of the total calorie requirement) will make a person gain one pound in a week, and, conversely, eating 500 calories less than the TCR per day will reduce one pound from the person’s body weight in a week.

The average calories burned in 30-minute of any of these activities are as follows: sleeping, 35; typing on computer, 50; ironing, 63; cooking, 86; light housework, 115; mopping floor,119; shopping, 102; fishing, 119; climbing hills (no load), 232; walking slowly, 106; walking briskly, 120; running slowly, 280; running fast, 384; jogging, 215; cycling, 123; swimming, 311; ballroom dancing, 98; aerobic dancing, 198; volleyball, 96; football, 253; basketball, 265; golf, 140; tennis, 209; and, badminton, 186. Foreplay in sex for 15 minutes, burns about 22.5 calories and actual sexual intercourse for 15 minutes, 67.5 calories (a total of only 90 calories for the entire activity, believe it or not!).

Most of the available information today on calories in the different food items pertain to western and European food varieties. In the Abbott Club Red publication, we found interesting data on calorie counts for various Filipino foods, delicacies and drinks.

The following vegetables yield about 16 calories per cup or 90 g (cooked): ampalaya fruit, ampalaya leaves, Baguio beans, banana heart, cabbage, cauliflower, chayote fruit or leaves, eggplant, kangkong, malunngay leaves, mushroom, okra, patola, onion bulb, petsay, saluyot, and upo. Half cup of the following also provides 16 calories: coconut shoot (ubod), Mungbean sprout (togue), sitaw, canned green peas, sweet corn, tomato juice.

The fruits listed here give 40 calories: apple (1/2), atis (1 fruit), lakatan, latundan banana and chico, per piece; dalanghita (2); duhat (20 pieces); durian (30 g); grapes (10); guava (2); guyabano (1 slice); langka (40 g); lansones 97); mangosteen (3); melon (1 slice); papaya (1 slice); pineapple (1 slice); rambutan (8); santol (1); sinkamas (1/2, 110g); suha (3 segments); watermelon (1 slice); star apple (1/2), buko water (1 cup); banana-que (1/2); mango chips (2); maruya (1/4); turon (1/2).

Thirty grams of the following provide 41 calories: tenderlolin, porterhouse, shank, sirloin, shoulder, rump, chicken leg, breast (1/4), meat internal organs (3/4 cups); 1 slice of bangus, lapulapu, dalag, etc; bacon (1 slice) is 45 calories. And so with ½ avocado, s teaspoon peanut butter, 5 pieces of pili nut, or a teaspoon of peanut or olive oil.

Rice and rice products (the infamous carbo) contain very high calories, 100 for each of the following: rice (1/2 cup); lugaw (1.5 cup); bibingka, galapong (1 slice); malagkit 91 slice); biko (1 slice); cassava cake (1/2 slice); espasol (2); kalamay, latik (1); kutsinta (1); palitaw, no coconut gratings (4); puto bumbong (2); sapin-sapin (1 slice); tikoy (1 slice); pan de sal (3); lady fingers (5); mammon tostado 93); hopia hapon (1.5); ensaymada 91); bihon, sotanghon, (each, 1 cup); kamote (1/2) ubi (1.3 cups); kastanyas (11 pieces); and, sago 91/2 cup).

Table sugar, one teaspoon, 20 calories; and so with the following: taho with syrup and sago (1/4 cup); ube, haleya (1 teaspoon); and yema (1). Halo-halo (2.3 cups) has 80 calories and pulvuron (1), 40 calories.

Each of the following carbos has 145 calories: buko pie (½ slice); bitso-bitso 1); hopia, baboy (1); hot cakes (1); fruit cake (1 slice); chocolate cake (1 slice); Spanish bread (1); cinnamon roll (1). One half donut has 190 calories; croissant, 235; muffin, 290; éclair, 212, century egg, 135; embotido, 2.5, 187 calories.

As for menu dishes, ½ cup adobong baboy, 302 calories; 1 cup callos, 260; 1 cup dinuguan, 124; ½ cup kare kare, 103; ½ cup kilawin, 113; litsong baboy (50 g) 273; lumpia fresh with sauce, 273; lumpia with peanut sauce, 403; 2/3 cup of menudo, 144; okoy with tagunton, 184; and, putsero, 1 cup, 282.

Alcoholic drinks: Pure water, zero; beer, 11 oz, 163 calories; cognac, 75; gin, dry, 107 per jigger; ginebra, one bottle, 832; martini, 143; whisky, 107, wine, red, 73 a glass; white, 85; champagne, 85.

As the above data show, it takes a lot of work, a lot of physical exercise, to lose even a pound, and so much easier, so fast, to gain weight. Calorie-awareness is essential to good health. Eating is enjoyable and a healthy appetite is good. It is, therefore, prudent and wise for all of us to be disciplined and live a healthy lifestyle to be able to live longer and have more time, more years, to enjoy the pleasure of eating, besides our other blessings.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones, a wonderful Christmas and a New Year blessed with love, good health, peace, joy and prosperity. To our nation, a new direction, with honor, dignity, and pride, and justice for our people. To the world, tolerance and peace. #
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