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Calories Are Everywher2

Calories Are Everywher2

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Published by Anna Barsèghyan

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Published by: Anna Barsèghyan on Mar 20, 2012
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Calories Are Everywhere, Yet Hard to Track

By JANE E. BRODY, Columnist
Yvetta Fedorova

Americans are having a passionate love affair with something they cannot see, hear, feel, touch or taste. That something iscalories, billions upon billions of which are consumed every day, often unwittingly, at and between meals.
Personal Health Jane E. Brody writes about consumer health.

Certainly calories are talked about constantly, and information about them appears with increasing frequency on food labels, menus, recipes and Web sites. But few people understand what they are and how they work — especially how they have worked to create a population in which 64 percent of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese, or how they thwart the efforts of so many people to shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off once and for all. Enter two experts: Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University; and Malden Nesheim, professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University. Together they have written a new book, “Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics,” to be published April 1, which explains what calories are, where they come from, how different sources affect the body, and why it is so easy to consume more of them than most people need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. “The human body does a superb job of making sure that it gets enough calories to meet biological needs but is much less effective at knowing when calories are in excess,” they wrote. “The result is that it is much easier to overeat than to stop eating when you are no longer hungry.” Out of Control People living in affluent societies today swim in a sea of redundant calories. Food is everywhere, and it is relatively inexpensive, accounting for about 10 percent of Americans‟ disposable income on average, Dr. Nestle said in an interview. “When did it become O.K. to eat in bookstores?” she asked. “Or in Staples? Bed, Bath and Beyond, or drugstores?” Portion sizes — especially restaurant portions — have mushroomed out of control, she noted.

therefore. “And that didn‟t include the soda and dessert. available in sizes as large as 64 ounces. Cookies didn‟t used to be this big. for example. Nestle said. Dr. Nestle and Dr.” Health claims for foods are another seductive factor encouraging overconsumption. A typical American restaurant meal is more like dinner for two. At least 100 different hormones. “You may want that cookie. should feed eight people.” Ending Excess The human body has a very complex and redundant system to make sure the brain gets the sugar calories it needs to function. Nestle said restaurants have resisted her suggestion to serve half the amount of food for about a third the price. two ounces per serving is about what Italians consume as a first course.” she said. When Dr. they simply said. the amount the average woman needs in a day.“People who pay attention to calorie labels on menus are shocked. She‟d already told them that an eight-ounce soda has 100 calories. A pound of pasta. or sodas. a colleague of Dr. you have no idea how many calories are being packed into a given dish. to discover that a single cookie contains 700 calories.” Dr. but the students guessed a Double Gulp contains less than 400 calories. Recently Lisa Young. making it so difficult for people to lose weight. She recently found at one New York restaurant that a “personal-size pizza” contained 2. “800 calories — that can‟t be!” People who do check calorie information on nutrition labels often fail to note the size of the serving it applies to. asked the students in her nutrition class how many calories were in a Double Gulp.” Nor were bagels. but then you can‟t eat anything else. a 64-ounce soda available at 7-Eleven convenience stores. Young asked why their estimate was off by 100 percent. a burger is three ounces. Nestle said. now 500 or 600 calories each. enzymes and other chemicals — with more likely to be discovered — act to regulate appetite and to assure that people eat enough to maintain brain function. A serving of ice cream is just a half-cup. Nestle at New York University. She‟s found that words imparting “a health aura — like „organic‟ or „low-fat‟ or „heart-healthy‟ — can prompt people to forget about calories.100 calories. . Nesheim explain in their book. Dr. But it is these very systems that go into overdrive during starvation (translation: a reduced-calorie diet). The shock extends to those supposedly in the know. and uncooked pasta is merely two ounces. Dr. “Unless you‟re in the kitchen watching what the chef is doing. not two or four.

and whole grains in reasonable portions. Nestle and Dr. participants in the Nurses‟ Health Study report consuming 1. Calories expended count as well. or fat — or what? They found scant evidence to support the popular notion that any one nutrient is responsible for our obesity. even if they are simply fidgety.” She applauded the current campaign by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to get people to stop “pouring on the calories” by consuming fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks. Dr. Of course. Nesheim also review the weight-regulating effects of different sources of calories. Is it high-fructose corn syrup that makes so many people fat? Are other carbohydrates to blame.As seductive as the current food environment is. Nestle said. lean meats. or that a low-carbohydrate diet is everyone‟s secret to success. And since most people cannot come close to estimating how many calories they consume or expend in a day. the amount of calories consumed is not the only factor influencing weight.” Dr. but it appears to be much less important than the ability to resist pressures to overeat calories in general.” she said. . “I don‟t count calories.” the authors wrote. few people seem able to refrain indefinitely from the carbohydrate-rich foods they love. The long-term effectiveness of low-carb diets for a vast majority of people who try them has yet to be assessed. a better way to monitor intake and output. You have to pay attention to eating better and in moderation: plenty of fruits and vegetables. “I recommend eating food. Although a diet low in carbs and high in fats and protein may enhance satiety and curb snacking. and not too much junk food. For example. is to regularly check the notches on one‟s belt or numbers on the scale. it is still easier not to gain excess weight in the first place.600 calories a day. “The source of the calories may make a small difference in weight maintenance or loss. the better able they are to balance intake with output. and the more active people are. and I don‟t recommend counting calories. but their body mass index on average is 26 or higher — well into the overweight range and supported by many more calories than the women seem to think they are eating. Dr. Nestle said. Most people seriously underestimate how much they eat. “It‟s much easier to lose a pound or two than 20 or 30.

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