Calories – can you count on them?
Almost every packaged food today features calorie counts on its label. Many of us live our lives by these little numbers, feeling alternatively happy, or guilty depending on our daily food choices. But can we count on them being accurate? And are they telling us the whole story when we allow them to guide us to what we eat?
Calories – are the labels accurate?
No. This isn’t because of any great conspiracy. Most of these counts are inaccurate because they are based on a system of averages that ignores the complexity of digestion, while the ripeness of certain foods can also have an impact, for example in the case of fruit.
• Many calories we extract from food depends on what we eat, how we prepare our food, which bacteria are in our gut and how much energy we use to digest different foods.
• Current calorie counts do not consider these factors. Digestion is so intricate that even if we try to improve calorie counts, we will likely never make them perfectly accurate.
Every food is digested in its own way. Processed foods lacking nutrition are so easily digested in the stomach and intestines that they give us a lot of energy for very little work. In contrast, veggies, nuts and whole grains make our bodies work for our calories, but generally offering far more vitamins and nutrients than processed items, often with slow release, helping us feel more satisfied for longer, while keeping our gut bacteria happy. Counting calories based on food labels is not as precise as we are led to believe, while our choice of foods has the bigger impact on our health.
Make eating real food Just Routine