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An article published in the Sunday Times this weekend touched upon the latest big idea out of our beloved government through the Food Standards Agency. Their big idea is to follow the NY idea of asking food outlets to provide calorie guidance on retail / restaurant food.
The big question to ask oneself is this? Does calorie counting work? Clearly the authors of the article published last week thought otherwise . Are they right? Could the government be wrong?
Whilst the basic idea of eating less and doing more seems totally logical the logic does not account for two very real sciences – physics and bio chemistry. The world looks flat but isn’t.
Unless you drop your calorific intake to starvation levels (Very Low Calorie Diets) there is simply no evidence to show that calorie reduction, as recommended by government, will work. In fact the published peer reviewed science in this subject shows quite the contrary. When I wrote Big Fat Lies I had hoped to engage the government in a discussion on this topic to discover what piece of research I had missed that showed calorie counting as effective in weight loss. Unfortunately the only response I got from the Food Standards Authority was an attack on my status as a lawyer. It is unbelievable that the government continue to peddle this nonsense when there is more than enough evidence to show that it doesn’t work. Here is a short list of reasons why calorie counting is total rubbish:-
• Reduce calories and you reduce your metabolic rate
• Measuring food by reference to calories doesn’t tell you about the quality of the food
• The key is to burn fat and not muscle – calorie counting is more likely to reduce muscle rather than fat
• The rules of thermodynamics show that higher calories can mean more fat burn if you eat the right type of food
• Linking food to numbers is a very bad way to show people how to value food.
• Calorie counting will create a dependency on mass manufactured food.
These are just a few of a long list of reasons why calorie counting is a complete waste of time and perhaps explains why we are all fatter now than we were in the 70s before calorie counting started.
We need to start a campaign which actually works across experts who are united in one message which is stop the calorie counting and start looking at real nutrition.

6 April 2010

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