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8 pounds overweight with a condensed milk obsession

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dear Donovan,

I would like to lose eight pounds. I currently weigh 148, but would like to weigh 140. I am five feet six inches tall, and have started by cutting out sugar and other sweets. However, I love condensed milk and use it heavily in anything that requires milk. I don't drink milk otherwise. Is this fattening? What of other dairy products such as cheese, butter etc. Also can you suggest a diet plan for me?

It is very nice to hear that you are watching your weight, because being overweight is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and many other lifestyle disorders. It is always good to watch your weight and if it goes out of the normal range you should do something about it.

Cutting out and sugars and other sweets is a step in the right direction and you should have lost some weight, provided that you had not substituted other foods that are sugary and sweet. Please be aware that your weight loss programmes will run out of steam if it is not adjusted, in other words, you will reach a plateau.

It would be interesting to know if since cutting out sugar and other sweets, you have now reached a plateau which is the reason why you are looking at the fact that you have been sweetening with condensed milk. If this is so, adjusting your food and your exercise regimen will help to break the plateau.

Without a doubt, sweetened condensed milk is dense in calories, because it is made from a mixture of milk solids and sugar, but to be fair, it does derive some nutrients from the milk solid that it is made from. One tablespoon of condensed milk will have a range of 55 to 62 calories and may supply almost two grams of mainly saturated fat. However, condensed milk is better than cream which has more saturated fat. Milk and dairy products are calorie dense. Milk, especially cow's milk, was designed by nature to increase the weight of a calf in a short time, so it was necessary for it to be calorie dense.

If you are not very careful, milk and milk products can contribute to weight gain in a short time. One cup of whole milk, for example, has approximately 146 calories, while one cup of two per cent milk contributes 122 calories. You can therefore reduce your calorie intake by trying one per cent milk, almond milk or rice milk which have fewer calories. One ounce of cheddar cheese can contribute 133 calories while one tablespoon of cream cheese gives you about 35 calories. Eight ounces of plain yogurt could amount to approximately 149 calories.

As you can see, milk and milk products can add a fair amount of calories to the diet. So for a person on a weight loss diet, you should endeavour to only have a small amount of these products.

Please see below a menu you can follow to assist with you weight loss efforts.


Two to three fruits or pieces of fruits only

Mid-morning snack

Coconut water (12 ounces) or green juice (12 ounces)


Protein with raw or steamed vegetables

Light soup with a raw salad

A light shake

Mid afternoon snack

Coconut water (12 ounces) or carrot juice (12 ounces) or one fruit


Protein with a raw salad

Two to three fruits

Light soup with salad

Raw salad

We will answer your weight- related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, Suite 16, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5. Send your questions to wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com.

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