Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mark Bittman: Not All Calories Are Equal (Amen!)

For all those nutritionists and dieticians still counseling people to count calories, it officially may be time to let go of the 1970s. (And losing the egg white omelet spiel would be nice as well.)

Mark Bittman, in his latest opinion piece ("Which Diet Works?") in The New York Times, addresses the flawed thinking behind counting calories and explains why avoiding processed—especially white—foods is, many now believe, much more essential to good health than the avoidance of calories (and fat and cholesterol).

Remember, it's the type of calorie and the type of fat and the type of cholesterol we are eating that matters. An omelet from nutrient-dense pastured eggs is an absolutely different animal than an omelet made from factory eggs devoid of any flavor and nutrition (and full of genetically engineered and pesticide-laden feed).

Here's the start of Bittman's article:
"One of the challenges of arguing that hyperprocessed carbohydrates are largely responsible for the obesity pandemic ('epidemic' is no longer a strong enough word, say many experts) is the notion that 'a calorie is a calorie.'

"Accept that, and you buy into the contention that consuming 100 calories’ worth of sugar water (like Coke or Gatorade), white bread or French fries is the same as eating 100 calories of broccoli or beans. And Big Food — which has little interest in selling broccoli or beans — would have you believe that if you expend enough energy to work off those 100 calories, it simply doesn’t matter.

"There’s an increasing body of evidence, however, that calories from highly processed carbohydrates like white flour (and of course sugar) provide calories that the body treats differently, spiking both blood sugar and insulin and causing us to retain fat instead of burning it off.

"In other words, all calories are not alike."
Click here to read the entire piece.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether we should give up counting calories too soon, maybe the formulas need to be changed regarding daily calorie recommendations as overeating 'good' carbs and fat can still cause weight gain. The big thing is still knowing when to stop.