by Joyce Hung

Filed Under:
calories, diet, fat, food, kilocalories, workout

DailyDirt: Counting Calories Should Be A National Pastime

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

While it may be a bit late for New Year's resolutions, it's never too late to start counting calories as part of a sensible weight loss (or maintenance) plan. But before embarking on a crusade to cut out all those extra calories, it might be wise to learn more about this unit of energy. For example, scientists are still debating whether all food calories are equivalent from a metabolic perspective -- are calories from fat the same as calories from carbohydrates? The answer still isn't clear, but one thing is for sure: eat fewer calories and you'll lose weight. Here are a few more interesting tidbits about calories. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2013 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re:

    Yes most of it is water but not all, otherwise people wouldn't lose weight if they took less than that number.

    Heat measurements have problems too since when you don't have anything to burn you don't lose weight just water.

    Not to mention it is an indirect measurement that is difficult to quantify.

    If you are going to measure something measure the thing that can be measure directly.


    Also you can test it.

    Do the weight thing and eat bellow the amount of weight you lose and you see if your weight doesn't go down, you don't need to believe anyone, you can see it for yourself.

    Calories on the other hand, I doubt that anybody really knows what they mean or how to measure it, and even if they could it probably be more cumbersome then just having to weight yourself 2 times a day.

    There is no temperature equipment in the market for normal people to measure temperature 24/7 to graph it all and see how much you heat you are generating.

    Theoretically, food energy could be measured in different ways, such as Gibbs free energy of combustion, or the amount of ATP generated by metabolizing the food. But the convention is to use the heat of the oxidation reaction, with the water substance produced being in the liquid phase. Conventional food energy is based on heats of combustion in a bomb calorimeter and corrections that take into consideration the efficiency of digestion and absorption and the production of urea and other substances in the urine. These were worked out in the late 19th century by the American chemist Wilbur Atwater.[2] See Atwater system for more detail.

    Source: Wikipedia: Food Energy

    That doesn't look like an easy way to measure anything.
    It can't account for any metabolism, is number fixed, not something that will vary according to individuals so I can't see how possibly that is any better.

    Weight on the other hand you can see it, it is easy and accessible data that you can do it yourself.

    And it is not just for weight loss, you can maintain weight just by eating the amount that your body can process, you neither gain or lose weight and you don't have to worry about what you eat, in fact you could even gather personal data about what you eat and see how it affects your gaining or losing.

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