If you are weight watching, do you look at an item of food and wonder how many calories it contains?
Well, according to Dr Marion Nestle, a Professor of Food and Nutrition at New York University, counting calories is actually unhelpful for weight loss and disease prevention.
The problem with obsessing over your calorie count is, he says, ignoring biochemistry and buying into the misconception that all calories are equal.
“They’re not. Different foods are metabolised differently, absorbed differently, converted into fat or energy differently and raise or lower your risk for disease differently,” he points out.
In other words, dieters have been preoccupied with quantity when they should have been focused on quality.
Dr Nestle’s stance is supported by Dr Walter Willett, Chairperson of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University.
He also stresses the importance of quality over quantity pointing out that the quality of our calories, meaning the types of food we eat, has an important effect on whether we gain or lose body fat.
“Whole foods are inherently slow-digesting and don’t cause insulin to rise very much. Eating them is going to get you most of the way toward a healthy diet,” he advises.