calorie counting

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An awareness of the calorie content of foods is healthy, but an obsessive preoccupation with the exact number of calories you eat in any one day can be both unhealthy and ineffective. It can be unhealthy because the calorie content gives no indication of the nutritional value of the food, only its energy content. It can be ineffective because once those on a calorie controlled diet overshoot their daily target they often eat without restraint. Calorie awareness should include the fact that all foods contain calories (even a piece of celery!), but that it is really only worth considering calorie consumption and expenditure in hundreds of calories; many drinks, especially alcohol, have a significant calorie content; and that fats and sugars are the most calorie dense foods (25 g of butter, for example, has more calories than 275 g of potatoes). Most dietitians and nutritionists agree that it is better to understand the basic principles of nutrition so that you can eat a balanced diet containing all the main food groups in their correct proportions, than blindly follow a set of calorie-counting rules. Nevertheless, simple calorie counting does provide a way of controlling energy intake and losing weight.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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