Should You Trust Calorie Counts?

The answer is a little disheartening. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that frozen food contains around 8 percent more calories than the label claims and that restaurant dishes contain around 18 percent more calories than what is listed on the menus. There was even a movie about this phenomenon: Filmmaker Casey Neistat made a documentary called Calorie Detective and discovered that almost every item tested had more calories than the labels said.

To make things even more confusing, researchers believe that the science behind counting calories may be flawed—that not every calorie is burned equally and that some calories don’t get burned by the body at all. So what’s a calorie-counter to do? Use the calorie counts you see as a guide when choosing between foods, but don’t become too focused on the exact numbers. A better thing to concentrate on is eating mostly unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein.

For more information on calories and how to manage them, check out these other blogs:


Photo credit: Brett Jordan

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