Why are we Being told to Stop Counting Calories & Focus on Nutrition
Over the past few days there has been a lot of debate over a new piece of research. The research advised that the current method of counting calories was not enough in order to improve the health of patients. The reason? The trouble with calorie counting is that foods low in fat are preferred as they contain less calories giving the impression that they are healthier.
The media uproar from this piece, published in the British Medical Journal Open Heart (click here) can be said to have divided individuals as well as health professionals. However, what is this article actually saying? Is it telling us to eat as much as we like?
On the contrary. What the authors are saying is that the focus on food and nutrition needs to be holistic rather than simply focusing on short term weight loss goals as it can lead to patients taking drastic measures in order to meet the goals set to them by their doctor. The paper does not say that calories are not important, but rather stresses the importance of sending the message that food quality is much more important if health is going to be improved.
Studies continue to show that the quality of food has a far greater impact on health. The reason being that the human body is a complex mixture of chemical reactions and the “Calorie is a Calorie“ mantra is ignoring how different foods interact with the body.
This same week new research has showed that over the past 30 years, the food trends of the British public have improved and become healthier i.e. more in line with the current government dietary guidelines - yet how can this improvement still be costing £10 billion to the NHS in diabetes care, a condition known to be closely tied to food choices?