Tri Diva Reunion Event? Hell, yeah!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For those watching calories...

I subscribe to the RSS feed for the Nutrition Data blog. Today's post is striking to me. It's really a reiteration of an article from Marion Nestle.  The first thing that strikes hard:
Here’s the deal on food composition tables: you have to consider these numbers as ballpark figures, not as something engraved in stone.
That's not really too shocking. Food science has never been an exact science. I understand that intellectually. I think I fail to grasp the concept emotionally though.  That's when I saw this:
A 50-gram hard-cooked egg is 78 calories? Plus or minus 10 maybe.
Sure, it's 10 calories; but if it's 10 here and 5 there and 10 over there, that's 25 calories extra that I am eating and may not know it. The other thing that whacks me hard in the gut: companies know quite well what is in their products but they won’t give the USDA any information about nutrient composition beyond what is on the food label; they consider that information “proprietary” and don’t have to.
It seems so useless when reading this article. Why bother when the data we do have is circumspect (despite the very best efforts); and companies want to keep it that way?  Dr. Nestle says:
I use the USDA figures as ballpark estimates and don’t pay any attention to small differences.
I wonder what "small differences" mean to her.  Maybe I'm just tired of fighting a battle that has more obstacles than I have ideas.  Does this mean "counting calories" is really about consistency?  If it is, what does that really mean for the concept of move more + eat less = weight loss?  How can you trust that you are eating less when your morning hard boiled egg could be 68 to 88 calories?  This makes my brain hurt.


Courtney said...

You know, I've been in the habit of rounding up for years. I guess it's a little OCD, but so be it. I also refuse to count anything has "0 point" in the WW world. Too anal for that. 1 cup of green beans isn't 0's 40 calories and that's close enough to 1 to be counted. I don't care how much fiber is in it. LOL I'm sure I've lost the folks that have never been brainwashed by WW...but YOU feel my pain, Lesli. :)

Hungry Girl recently mentioned that food labels can be off as much as 20%...THAT makes me ill, but what can ya do? I continue to round up, weigh portions and do the best I can.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

My brain hurts too! I think it's the little things that are important with food & on race day!