Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Point Density with the new SmartPoints

So I've written before about my preference for thinking about points in terms of densities. With the shift to SmartPoints today, my main concern was whether my point-density fudging would work. Specifically, I like knowing that for most of what I eat, the point densities can be estimated as either 0 (spinach, fruit, etc) or 1 (potatoes, pasta, lean proteins).

I took some time to go through all my old tables of point values and update them for SmartPoints and the result is that for the food I eat most of the time, my old tricks work. If you follow my instructions for a 1 PPV-density on-the-fly pasta-or-grain salad, it still works fine. As a rule, you'll see that lean proteins, especially fish, come out as winners here, mostly because the fats in those proteins get penalized less. Nonetheless, at reasonable portion sizes, those changes will often amount to no more than a point, so your old estimates will probably work just fine.

The thing that quickly emerges from the point densities are that prepared foods get hit -- assume at least a 1-point-per-ounce increase for most prepared foods -- and that sugar and butter get hit hard, which is bad news in Christmas Cookie season. The points-density of sugar and butter have nearly doubled, which means that for a typical cookie, the points will have nearly doubled as well.

I've broken down the points in more detail by categories below. Enjoy!

Real Food:
For real food, the change doesn't seem too bad. Here are the charts I used to justify my guestimate per-ounce calculations, with conversion into smart points.

FoodPoint Density (value of 1 oz)Smart Points (value of 1 oz)
Most Fruits & Vegetables00
Potato, baked1 (0.67)1 (0.76)
Egg1 (1.03)1 (1.13)
Cooked pasta1 (0.99)1 (1.09)
Rice (brown or white)1 (0.79,0.83)1 (0.9, 0.92)
Hamachi (raw yellowtail)1 (0.97)1 (0.71)
Chicken breast - meat only1 (1.05)1 (0.63)
Pork chop, cooked lean1 (1.15)1 (1.01)
Swordfish1 (1.17)1 (0.97)
Salmon1 (1.45)1 (1.34)
Cooked pasta1 (0.99)1 (1.09)
Bread2 (1.68)2 (2.21)
Chicken thigh - meat only2 (1.65)1 (1.03)
Pork Ribs, country style2 (1.98)2 (2.10)
Pork Sausage2 (2.48)3 (2.94)
Cheese3 (3.04)4 (4.32)
Bacon, cooked crisp3 (3.41)4 (4.08)

The result is that for the foods that should make up most of your eating, there's not that big a big difference. For indulgences, the penalty is bigger.

Fruits and vegetables00
Cooked starches/grains & lean protein11
Fatty meat22-3
Cheese & Really fatty meat34
Butter & oil(2)68-10

There was some talk in my meeting about big differences among the oils, but I'm not seeing them. Here are a few fats in the new SmartPoints:
Olive Oil9 (8.71)
Canola Oil8 (8.10)
Butter10 (9.99)
Safflower Oil8 (7.96)

The one thing I should note here is that in general proteins are "cheaper" in this new system, and the relative penalties or benefits of the more healthful choice are exaggerated. For example, the difference between yellowtail and pork sausage (fatty fish vs. fatty meat) used to be 0.97 vs. 2.48. Now that difference is 0.7 vs. 2.94. That means that 3 ounces of Yellow Tail now comes in at a mere 2 PPV, undercutting my 1 point rule-of-thumb for lean protein, and the pork sausage needs to be estimated at a solid 3 points per ounce with 3 ounces coming in at 9 rather than 8 points. That said, for a reasonable portion, your errors are within a point, so I'd say you could do worse than to say you can estimate points the same for everything but your fats, for which you have to learn new rules of thumb (4-points-per-ounce for cheese, 9 for oil, 10 for butter).

Baking Ingredients:
For those who cook food themselves, here are the key points-contributors of home-made treats. You'll see that the big changes here are for butter and sugar, which have almost doubled in value. That's going to have a big impact on cookies, pie, etc.
FoodPPV Density (value of 1 oz)SmartPoints Density
Butter610 (9.99)
Sugar3 (3.26)7 (6.67)
Flour, white3 (2.56)3 (2.83)
Flour, whole wheat2 (2.42)3 (2.54)

Prepared Foods 
For prepared foods, you could do worse than to say, take your old estimates, and add a point with the new system. Here's my summary with PPV compared with Smart Points -- some more specific data follows below.

FoodPoint Density (value of 1 oz)Smart Points
Dry snack foods34
Dry greasy or sugary snack foods45
Bready stuff22
Cakey stuff35

Here's a more detailed breakdown:
Baked GoodPoint Density (value of 1 oz)Smart Points
Chocolate Chip Cookie (homemade)3 (3.42)5 (5.10)
Brownie (prepared)3 (3.43)5 (5.18)
Apple Pie (prepared)2 (2.06)3 (2.94)
Cheesecake (prepared)2 (2.4)2 (1.783)
Chocolate cake w/ frosting3 (3.09)5 (5.01)

Snack FoodPoint Density (value of 1 oz)Smart Points
Popcorn, light3 (2.85)3 (2.73)
Multigrain Cheerios3 (2.71)4 (3.73)
Corn Flakes3 (2.79)3 (3.12)
Frosted Flakes3 (2.81)5 (4.57)
Saltine Crackers3 (3.08)4 (3.43)
Animal crackers3 (3.40)4 (4.32)
Tortilla Chips4 (3.62)4 (4.22)
Cheetos Puffs4 (4.11)5 (4.88)
Potato Chips4 (4.24)5 (4.75)
Milano cookies4 (4.39)6 (6.33)
Edy's Slow Churned Caramel Ice Cream1 (1.32)2 (2.44)
Premium Ice Cream2 (2.06)3 (3.45)
Pound cake3 (3.12)5 (5.08)

No comments:

Post a Comment