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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday 4/13

And Counting

Any calorie-conscious consumer will tell you, it’s tough.  Counting is generally an easy thing to do and we’ve all been counting since we could play hide-and-seek.  It’s the adding that’s the hard part.  But even the adding isn’t the hardest thing.  There’s the serving size (who has time to figure out exactly how much their eating).  You need to figure out how much you should eat at each sitting and how many calories are in each food being eaten and add them all together and . . . well, it’s turning into rocket science.  What is a calorie, anyway, and who decided that it was a good idea to start counting them?

That’s a two part answer (Great… now we’re answer-counting.)  What is a calorie?  Easy, it’s the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degrees Celcius.  (I know what you’re thinking: . . . what?)  In other words, one calorie equals 4.184 joules.  (That didn’t help either, did it?)  Oh, and the real name of the food calorie is the kilocalorie.  ( . . . )  Simply put, a calorie isn’t really a thing.  It’s a measurement.  Think of it as like an inch or a centimeter.  You know what an inch is, and how long it is, but you can’t physically touch it.  Even the word ‘calorie’ comes from the Latin word for heat, which is another way to look at them.

How do you count something like that?  Thanks to the Nutrition Facts labels on foods you buy, you don’t have to.  It’s right there on the side . . . or the back . . . or somewhere on every package (except those ones that say ‘not labeled for individual resale’).  Sometime back in the 80s, someone started a movement to label foods with all this information because Americans were unarmed in food facts.  Then it became law in 1990 and has been changing ever since.  Thank the government for making eating so hard.  (Help us if they ever start requiring nutrition labels on those little produce stickers.)

So the question is still out there: Why count?  I’ll answer that question with another question: Why do some people still wear tie-dyed shirts and have mullets?  Because it was all the rave at one point in time. 

Intuitively, people know whether or not something that’s going in their mouth is beneficial for their body and that exercising is a good thing.  The best advice?  Don’t emo-eat, patrol your portions, regularly recreate, and enjoy less junk. 

So I’ll leave you with one last question: Are you hungry yet?  I am.

By: S. Cole Garrett


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