Reappraisal of calorie intake

Nutritionists are calling for calorie intake and nutrition information to be reviewed.

  • They say the present system does not differentiate between raw and cooked food. Processed food is easier to absorb, so it provides more calories.
  • USCA researchers found that pistachios' caloric value had been overstated by 5 percent on the nutrition label. Almonds were overstated by 32 percent.
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Health

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Counting calories in food

The system for counting calories comes from chemist Wilbur Atwater. To find out how much energy we get from eating, he measured the nutritional value in food and subtracted the amount of energy left in people's bodily excretion.

His research resulted in the 4-9-4 rule: Each gram of protein, fat, and carbohydrate provides 4, 9, 4 calories of energy, respectively.

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When we are hungry, the hormone ghrelin stimulates the brain. Our brains pay more attention to cues for unhealthy foods—those which are high in sugar and fat—than healthy foods when we are hungry. 

It may be possible to train ourselves to ignore tempting cues.

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Snacks are part of a healthy diet

Snacks keep us over till the next meal. Balanced snacks and meals at consistent times during the day keep your blood sugar stable and keep you from overeating.

Healthy snacking include protein, fibre, and other nutrients that will keep your blood sugar in an optimal range. In contrast, low blood sugar causes exhaustion and makes you crave sugary or fatty foods.

One calorie (kcal) = 4.18 kJ

To convert from calories to kJ, multiply calories by 4.18.

For example, a medium-sized banana (118 grams) provides 105 calories (kcal). 105 x 4.18 = 439 kJ.

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