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Death of the Calorie

Discussion in 'Low Calorie Diets' started by britishpub, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. britishpub

    britishpub Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Interesting article in the Economist 1843 magazine this week.

    For more than a century we’ve counted on calories to tell us what will make us fat. Peter Wilson says it’s time to bury the world’s most misleading measure

    By the 1930s the calorie had become entrenched in both the public mind and government policy. Its exclusive focus on the energy content of food, rather than its vitamin content, say, went virtually unchallenged.

    By the late 1960s, obesity was becoming a pressing health concern as people became more sedentary and started eating highly processed foods and lots of sugar. As the number of people who needed to lose weight grew, changing diets became the focus of attention.

    So began the war on fat. Because counting calories was seen as an objective arbiter of the health qualities of a foodstuff, it seemed logical that the most calorie-laden part of any food item – fat – must be bad for you. By this measure, dishes low in calories, but rich in sugar and carbohydrates, seemed healthier. People were increasingly willing to blame fat for many of the health ills of modern life, helped along by the sugar lobby: in 2016, a researcher at the University of California uncovered documents from 1967 showing that sugar companies secretly funded studies at Harvard University designed to blame fat for the growing obesity epidemic. That the dietary “fat” found in olive oil, bacon and butter is branded with the same word as the unwanted flesh around our middles made it all the easier to demonise.

    A US Senate committee report in 1977 recommended a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for all, and other governments followed suit. The food industry responded with enthusiasm, removing fat, the most calorie-dense of macronutrients, from food items and replacing it with sugar, starch and salt. As a bonus, the thousands of new cheap and tasty “low-cal” and “low-fat” products tended to have longer shelf lives and higher profit margins.

    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  2. lindisfel

    lindisfel · Well-Known Member

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    Humans are not calorimeters!
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Winner Winner x 2
  3. AloeSvea

    AloeSvea Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I personally use the phrase 'the energy I get from food' rather than use the word calorie. As it is a concept and not a number to be counted, I like it a lot.

    On the other hand, when I am experimenting with my health markers by lowering the amount of energy I am taking in from food - calorie counting is a very straight forward way to do it, as ghastly as it is. Other ways are no-food fasting and intermittent fasting, which do not entail watching energy from food over the day. but dependent on time periods. But I personally have found calorie counting as a good way for me to eat something, but keep it at small enough amounts of food to make a difference for me metabolically (ie on my health markers with T2D). That is also called a 'very low calorie diet', the Blood sugar diet, and of course - the newcastle diet. I just see 'calories' as a means to a health end, in this case. I would never dream of living like that fulltime, only for as brief a period as possible, (so far - two lots of two-months in five years) and use calorie counting food intake only as a desperate act to decrease my metabolic ill-health! (As it happens to work.)

    If I didn't get type two diabetes, I would never have bothered counting a calorie, gladly have had nothing to do with Prof Taylor, Dr Fung, and Dr Mosley (as lovely as Michael Mosley is) I cannot stress how personally sad and disappointed I am that I have to look at my waistline as a determiner, perhaps, of how long I have to live. I enjoyed my life before I got really sick, not giving a toss about such things. Sigh. And that life now includes, sometimes, counting calories. Big sigh.
  4. zand

    zand Type 2 · Expert

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    When I stopped counting calories I started to lose weight.
    • Winner Winner x 1
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