October 30, 2008

In The News: Taking Back "the C Word"

Let's do this Vagina Monologues style. Ready?

Say it with me:

c-c-ca-ca-ca-calo.... calor-calor-caloriesssss!

How wonderfully liberating!

After a long period of foolishness where mainstream weight loss rhetoric focused on fat grams, carbohydrate grams, or what time of day you stopped eating, The New York Times -- in an article beautifully titled "Calories Do Count" -- reports that "good old calorie counting is coming back into fashion."

That's right -- after being dismissed by the likes of Gary Taubes and his ilk, calories are the new black!

Consumers are simply beginning to re-embrace the idea that successful, long-lasting weight loss comes with familiarizing themselves with calorie contents of foods, as opposed to eating unlimited amounts of foods that are simpy very low in carbohydrates or fats.

It is worth pointing out that this heightened caloric awareness is a direct result of labeling laws that take the guesswork out of ordering at many restaurant and takeout chains.

Meanwhile, restaurants -- profits firmly in mind -- are "jumping on the latest bandwagon."

"Dunkin’ Donuts recently added a low-calorie egg white breakfast sandwich, Così is using low-fat mayonnaise and McDonald’s large French fries have dropped to 500 calories this year from 570 last year."

Additionally, "Quiznos is testing smaller sizes and less-caloric sandwich fillings in its New York stores. At Le Pain Quotidien, which has 17 outlets in New York... the popular quiche Lorraine was trimmed to 6 ounces from 11, with extra salad filling out the plate."

Food manufacturers, meanwhile, will soon be catering to the "calorie trend" by printing calorie values on the front of their packaging.

Don't be surprised if, a few years down the road, mandatory chain restaurant calorie labeling laws go national.


Lori said...

I can't wait for calorie labelling to occur in Canada!

Anonymous said...

Have you actually read Taubes's book yet, Andy? He spends a lot of time debunking the simplistic clap-trap that's perpetuated in the Times article. The people who dismiss Gary Taubes are the ones who misconstrue his arguments. He does not, of course, deny the reality of the laws of thermodynamics. However, he demonstrates that the human body is not some simple calorie-counting machine -- and that the TYPE of calories (i.e., carbohydrate vs. fat vs. protein) has a profound effect on how the body processes those calories.

If don't object to people arguing against Taubes's theories, so long as those people argue from an informed position. Seems to me that you like to take pot-shots without offering any substantial rebuttal to his arguments (probably because you still haven't read the book).

Andy Bellatti said...

The issue with Taubes' core argument is his final conclusion.

Yes, nutrients are metabolized differently (different enzymes, pathways, etc.) and some calories are more filling than others (ie: 200 calories of almonds are more filling than 200 calories of pretzels), but that does not mean that caloric intake is irrelevant.

If that were the case, can he point to any situations where someone reduced their caloric intake and GAINED weight?

WifeMomChocoholic said...

Yea! It's about time restaurants got on the "healthier" bandwagon.