October 11, 2013

The New Science of Counting Calories

“Recent research shows why nuts, fresh fruits and uncooked foods can be attractive choices for weight-conscious clients.” According to Kadey, Matthew, MS, RD in an article produced by Idea Fitness Journal.  

If you didn’t know, and I know I didn’t, the current method to determine the energy value of food is called the “Atwater” system which assigns a set number of calories to a food’s macro-nutrient components, being: carbohydrates, fat and protein.  “Atwater” determines that carbohydrates and proteins possess 4 kilocalories per gram, while fat has a lofty 9kcal/g. 

Lately, however the century old “Atwater” system has come over scrutiny and is not showing us the complete calorie value of some foods especially when consumed in their raw state.  

For example, when eating an ounce of nuts we generally consume an average of about 170-195 kcal.  But, this is where the Atwater has received some criticism.  According to the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” scientists determined that 1 ounce of almonds deliver about 129 kcal 30% fewer than the roughly 167 kcal determined by the “Atwater” system. 

Another important note to take from this article is the importance of moving away from the stove and cooked meals and begin to harness that power of “raw foods”.  Take this food for thought.  In his book (Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human – Wrangham),  while the benefits of cooking helped ancestral humans meet their energy needs in an environment of scarcity, most of us today spend our days in front of a computer snacking on heavily processed cooked food instead of foraging or hunting for dinner.  Could this be a contributing factor to excess caloric consumption and weight gain?  Well, provide your thoughts and leave me with some feedback.

Point in all of this is to be ware of what we decide to consume and how often we decide to consume it.  Maybe instead of taking that bag of potato chips with you to work, try packing a pre-packaged bag of almonds an apple and some peeled carrots.   





About Geoff Rubin