Festival of light tends to make us heavy

Dietitians: Expect to gain 2 kg over Hanukka... self-control is needed to prevent exploding waistlines.

sufganiyot 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
sufganiyot 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
By the end of eight days of Hanukka on December 29, the public is expected to gain about 14 million kilos - an average of two kilos each - from eating fried doughnuts (sufganiyot), potato pancakes (latkes) and other fat-laden foods. Dietitians note that in winter, people spend more time indoors and thus are tempted by food that warms them, while they also spend less time exercising outside. Therefore, self-control is needed to prevent exploding waistlines. Oily foods are traditional during the festival marking the Maccabees' victory over the Syrian-Greeks, because the small amount of pure oil found to reconsecrate the Second Temple in the Second Century BCE was enough to burn for eight days. But the average jelly doughnut contains 500 to 600 calories, and many people eat at least one a day. Potato pancakes have 150 to 200 calories each, and few latke fans stop at one. Sigal Frishman, head of the nutrition and diet unit at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, advises the overweight or those with high cholesterol or chronic disorders like heart disease or diabetes to substitute oven-baked vegetable quiches and veggie latkes for some or most of the doughnuts. It is better to cut an ordinary doughnut in two and eat just half than consume two mini-doughnuts, which have more calories because their surfaces contain more oil, she added. People who make or buy whole wheat doughnuts are fooling themselves into thinking they are "more healthful;" this usually leads to them eat more than they ordinarily would, says Frishman, who advises against them. She also suggests baking doughnuts in the oven made from 20 grams of yeast, three cups of flour, three tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of canola oil, one egg, a cup of water, half a teaspoon of salt, a shake of ground nutmeg and half a cup of 1% milk, and then injecting them with low-calorie jam when they're done. Each one contains a quarter of the calories of ordinary ones. Exercise as much as you can and seek out a support group or dietitian if you are unable to lose weight put on during the holiday, Frishman suggests.