MB #038: How Food Can Be Sneaky, Avoid These Calorie-Dense Foods

food mission briefing Nov 05, 2023

Read Time:~3 Minutes

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Hey friends,

Welcome back to The Mission Briefing, the weekly newsletter with the goal of equipping you with what you need to further transform your physical and spiritual health.

Today we're going to talk about sneaky foods and how those sneaky foods can hold you back from your fitness and health goals.

But before we dive in, you'll need to watch this short IG Reel for context before reading any further - just don't get lost in the social media world and forget to come back and read the rest of this issue.

Okay, so now you've watched the video, and in turn, taken the red pill as it pertains to tortilla chips. You can't unsee that.

Tortilla chips aren't the only food that is like this. In fact, there are several things often working against you when it comes to processed food.

Scientists have literally told us that they engineer food to be addictive and cause you to crave it.

The formula for the most addictive foods is pretty simple. Sugar + Fat + Salt. That's the winning formula. And it's basically in nearly every bag of chips or crackers you've ever eaten. That's part of why "once you pop, you just can't stop".

You can see from that video how quickly things can get out of hand with the wrong/sneaky food choices. 20 tortillas at ~60 calories per tortilla = 1,200 calories. That's 1/3rd of the calories required to add an additional pound of fat to your body. And who hasn't eaten a tray of chips like that before in one sitting - alongside your entree and maybe some guac or queso?

That said, most people aren't going to totally derail their health plan by splurging every so often on a basket of tortilla chips. It's the cumulative total of that plus lots of other little extras. Here are a few of the really sneaky ones:

Coffee add-ins

One study found that people who add cream, sugar, or anything else to their coffee are stirring in an average of 69 calories. That might not seem like much, but if it’s a daily habit, it can add up.

Salad dressing + fixin's

Of all the sneaky foods, salads can be some of the worst. A salad can often contain more than a thousand calories without realizing it—that’s more than a burger-and-fries combo at most restaurants. Here's how this happens: 2 tablespoons of creamy dressing can add 129 calories (most people underestimate and use more like 4 tablespoons), 2 strips of bacon 108 calories, 2 tablespoons of parmesan 42 calories, and ¼ cup croutons 31 calories. Add in chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or anything else and it is easy to see how you quickly exceed your intended amount. Do this a few times per week and you're possibly adding enough calories extra to stall or reverse your fat-loss efforts.


Not a salad person? Let's take a quick look at a sandwich instead. 3 ounces of lean turkey is only 93 calories, but 5 ounces of pastrami is 209 calories. That’s before you add 2 slices of Swiss at 223 calories, and add 1-2 tablespoons of mayo at 188 calories. Suddenly your lunch just got a lot more hefty than you probably intended. Tack on a small back of chips with another 200+ calories. You get the picture.


A glass of wine is more than 100 calories, and a can of beer is more than 150 calories. And if one glass leads to another, and that leads to a bag of chips and sneaking some chocolate from the pantry, you can see where this is going...

Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

If you’re guilty of sneaking an extra couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter once or twice here and there, that could be nearly a hundred calories PER BITE!

Again, no one of these sneaky foods is going to likely derail you on its own, but most people are doing multiple of these each week, along with a long list of other things I didn't dig into - like lacking a mindful (or just plain dishonest with yourself) assessments of portions.

If you want to dig deeper into this topic and learn how to use your hands instead of calorie-tracking apps, to control your portions and be mindful of intake so you can keep progressing towards your health and fitness goals, check out issue #019 where I outlined these details.

That's it for today. I hope and pray this was both sobering and helpful!

PS: When you're ready, there are a couple of ways I could help you

1. Are you a Christian father who wants to get healthy, strong, and lean, and improve your family life and relationship with God in tandem? Apply for private one on one coaching here.​

2. If you’re still looking to get healthy and coaching doesn't work for you, I’d recommend starting with an affordable course + coaching experience:

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