Counting Calories? Marion Nestle's Newest Book Says Don't.

Counting Calories? Marion Nestle's Newest Book Says Don't.

Cambria Bold
Mar 23, 2012

Contrary to what the title may lead you to believe, Marion Nestle's newest book Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics does not encourage you to count calories. Rather, it attempts to explain the scientific and social significance of the calorie so we, the readers, are better able to navigate the "convoluted world of food labels and diet fads."

Eleanor West of the blog Civil Eats recently interviewed Dr. Nestle to talk about her new book, which was co-written with Dr. Malden Nesheim. When asked why she decided to write a book about calories, Dr. Nestle responds:

My editor at UC Press took me to lunch at one point and said he wanted me to do two things--one was to update Safe Food (2003) and the other was to write a book about calories. I thought it was a brilliant idea. It was so current since nobody seems to know what to do about obesity and there are huge debates about what you're supposed to eat to maintain a healthy weight. There's so much misunderstanding with calories especially since, as we say in the book, you can't see them, smell them, or taste them.

Another interesting point: Dr. Nestle admits that in one lunchtime experiment, she and her fellow nutritionists underestimated the calorie count of their respective meals by almost 30 percent. As Dr. Nestle describes it, it was "inconceivable" to her that a small dish of risotto would have 1,200 calories. Chefs later told her she "obviously didn't know anything about being in a restaurant kitchen and they were right."

Read More: Counting Calories? Marion Nestle Says Forget It at Civil Eats

(Image: Food Politics)

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