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  • 3 years ago
Don't Count on the Calorie

Don't Count on the Calorie

Calories are sneaky. For those who have tried counting them to lose weight, you know quite well that they slip through your fingers during that latte and biscotti snack break. But it turns out that regulating our diets strictly through calories, technically just a unit of energy, has recently proved less reliable than we thought.
Take nuts, for example. Nuts are generally regarded as a calorie-dense, energy-dense food group. But David Baer, a researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture, found that our bodies only absorb about 70 percent of the calories in almonds. Same with walnuts and pistachios.

A meal for research subjects at the USDA lab.
(Nicola Twilley)

And then there’s the question of what happens when food is changed from its natural state. Richard Wrangam, a Harvard anthropologist, was studying chimpanzees and decided to try and mimic their diet of raw, unprocessed foods. He quickly found this had a much different impact on his body: “I discovered that it left