How Many Calories are in That?

By Anna Brown

If any of you out there know who Jonny Bowden or Wilbur Atwater is, you may love them or you may want to go their houses and murder them.

At the turn of the 20th century Bowden and his hard-earned PhD in nutrition partnered up with Atwater’s scientific background. They discovered if you put food into a machine called the bomb calorimeter (clever name) and burn it you could measure the foods ash and heat to find out how much energy was in it. Thus why the word calorie (a French derived term) means a unit of heat.

So that’s when we started counting.

Thanks to these geniuses, men and women (let’s be real; mostly women) have gone calorie crazy. Weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem etc. all deal with counting and controlling your calories.

What people don’t understand is CALORIES ARE DECEIVING! A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Just because a Big Mac has the same amount of calories as a bowl of whole-wheat pasta, doesn’t always mean you will lose the same amount of weight if you choose the Big Mac.

Let’s take Regina George for example. Say her daily caloric intake is 1500 calories. For breakfast George has a stale doughnut: 200 calories. For lunch she has cheese fries: 300 calories. For dinner she has a Kälteen bar: 1,000 calories. And then George sneaks a late night bite of baguette: 100 calories.

That’s approximately 1500 calories. She is totally going to lose three pounds.

Wrong.

It depends on the amount of fat, sugar, fiber etc. Not just calories. You can only imagine how unhealthy her sodium and sugar levels are and her blood pressure and cholesterol.

Calories are one thing, eating healthy is another. If you splurge 500 calories on a well-balanced meal of lean meat, vegetables and whole grains that is obviously much better than one juicy, cheesy, mouthwatering- I mean lousy – Big Mac.

In 2010, a new healthcare law was passed. This law requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations (and vending machines) to post calorie counts alongside paper and board menus and even drive-through windows.

Unfortunately, people are still losing weight from unhealthy calorie counting. The point is, if you are going to count your calories, make them count.

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