The Science of Calories

Monday, March 26, 2012

When it comes to weight loss, does it matter more what you eat, when you eat or how much you eat? Marion Nestle, professor in the department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and of sociology at New York University tries to answer that question in her new book, Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics.

Comments [19]

Gabriel from Uniondale, NY

Is there a way to estimate calories of the food you make at home?

Mar. 26 2012 10:58 AM
chris from Brooklyn

ANy comment on the recent Harpers article on extreme fasting (several weeks of no food) for weight loss?

Mar. 26 2012 10:57 AM
Fabian Kean from Toronto

The argument that a calorie is a calorie is an appealing argument because it has a simple, concise, and pardon the pun easily digested, unfortunately it is likely wrong.

Obesity has exploded using this approach. Sugars are dangerous and high fructose corn syrup is especially.

See this NY Times piece:

For a simple hip distillation of the problems of sugar and the debunking of a calorie is a calorie argument check out this argument.


Mar. 26 2012 10:57 AM

How does a piece of exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, calculate the number of calories burned?

Mar. 26 2012 10:57 AM

How is stevia, a plant, an artificial sweetener?!! Please have her address. It's hard to take her seriously.

Mar. 26 2012 10:56 AM
Diana from Manhattan

Calories are calories no matter their source. But why are you supposed to eat protein to avoid muscle loss? Are proteins, carbs and fats metabolised differently? Or is this a myth? Thanks.

Mar. 26 2012 10:55 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Re: pasta vs. low fat: there is another distinction that matters in diets with these 2 items. Pasta and fats are slow-digesting foods, which enhance feelings of fullness and therefore people are inclined to eat less. Foods with less fat are likely (depending on other items) to feel less full and therefore remain hungry.

Mar. 26 2012 10:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I have been a follower of the so-called Atkins lo-carb diet since 1997 and quickly lost 40 pounds and have kept most of it off since then with no descernible health consequences.

Mar. 26 2012 10:55 AM
Edward from NJ

What about regional differences in gut bacteria? Can't those greatly effect how many calories various populations are able to extract from the same food?

Mar. 26 2012 10:55 AM
Patricia from Millburn

How much should I weigh? Is there an easy way to calculate the amount of calories I should consume daily?

Mar. 26 2012 10:54 AM
John from NYC

There it is "A calorie is a calorie."

I am sure a lot of listeners are bugged by this segment. Here is one thing that bothers me.

This approach looks at food "scientifically." This would be like talking about sex as a mechanical release.

Sex is biological, reproductive, cultural, emotional, romantic, personal etc.

Same for food.

Mar. 26 2012 10:54 AM

Do carbohydrates turn into sugar?

Mar. 26 2012 10:53 AM
Jeb from Greenpoint


Stevia is NOT an artificial sweetener. It's not sugar, but it is plant-derived.

Mar. 26 2012 10:52 AM
Jen from Village

The guest asserted that stevia is an artificial sweetener, in fact it is a plant, not at all artificial, and very healthy for sweetening...

Mar. 26 2012 10:52 AM
John A.

Probably should mention the break-down of how "Zero Fat" foods can make you fat...

Mar. 26 2012 10:52 AM
Ben from Williamsburg

What about calorie content and intake for infants (6-12 months)? Wha'st suggested?

Mar. 26 2012 10:51 AM
Barbara from Chester, NJ

Why when you get older, especially women, do you gain weight even though you maintain the same amount of exercise, and you don't consume more calories than you did when you were younger?

Mar. 26 2012 10:51 AM
Mary Beth from Brooklyn

Two years ago, I lost 40 pounds in a few months by decreasing the amount of calories I ate per day from around 2,000 to 1,200. I could eat my beloved cheese, or ice cream โ€” as long as I ate the right amount and also, ate plenty of vegetables. It really helped me learn moderation โ€” either I could eat a piece of cake for 400 calories and still be hungry, or eat a full healthy meal for the same amount of calories and be satisfied. Exercise was also important, but in the end it came down to not eating too many calories, and making (for the most part) nutritious decisions.

Mar. 26 2012 10:50 AM
Fabian from Toronto

What is her opinion of Gary Taubes position that the most important thing is not the calorie count but the calorie composition.

He wrote
Good Calories Bad Calories

and Why We Get Fat.

Mar. 26 2012 10:49 AM

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