Can you tell which of these salads has double the calories of the other?

Can you tell which of these salads contains the most calories? [Photo: Instagram]

Many of us turn to the seemingly failsafe salad when attempting to embark on a diet in the run-up to summer but is it the healthiest option?

Australian dietician Paula Norris took to Instagram to prove that the leafy dish can actually be a lot more calorific than we think.

In the revealing post, Norris shared two images of the ‘same’ salad but while one contains 535 calories the other weighs in at an extraordinary 995 calories.

According to the dietician, this is as a consequence of “calorie-heavy dressings, too much grain and not enough veg” which can result in a “salad with calories closer to that of a risotto.” Yikes.

In the healthier option (on the right), Norris included 1/2 cup of cooked Pearl Barley, 35g of haloumi, 2/3 courgette, 1/2 pepper, 100g aubergine, five cherry tomatoes, 100g poached chicken, 1/2 cip of herbs and 2tsp of balsamic vinegar and seeded mustard.

Whereas in the more calorific salad, Norris used one cup of Pearl Barley, 70g of haloumi, 1/3 courgette, two florets of brocolli, 1/4 capsicum (pepper), 50g aubergine, three cherry tomatoes, 200g poached chicken, 1/2 cup of herbs and 2tsp of oil and balsamic vinegar.

But this isn’t the first time the dietician has taken to the social media platform to highlight the dangers of stereotypical ‘diet’ foods. Though her page is not designed to encourage unhealthy calorie counting but to “demonstrate the impact that ingredient manipulation can have on the overall calories in a meal”.

And her posts are bound to surprise some with many go-to ‘diet’ cereal bars and yoghurt-covered fruit snacks weighing in at the same calories as popular chocolate bars.

So while it’s not healthy to calorie-count when embarking on a diet, it’s interesting to note the surprising number of calories hidden within popular diet foods.

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