Counting Calories? Count Higher!

Holy calorie counting Batman!  A new study (published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association) shows that prepared foods and restaurant meals could actually contain up to 18% more calories than stated.  That is a huge number!  And it could make us huge!

Those of you counting calories know that each little bit adds up.  Could you imagine always underestimating by 18 percent?  By the end of a year you could be packing on a few, or a lot of, extra pounds.  Or have no idea why you didn’t lose as much as you thought you would:(

This is not the first time that misrepresented nutritional information has made the news.  I remember several years ago when I was on Weight Watchers, there were multiple food manufacturers who had to come clean and change their package information.  I, along with countless other WW followers, were picking foods based on their calories, fiber, and fat content.  Forums were filled with great low-point finds and WW participants loaded their grocery carts in droves.  I should have known those frozen chicken quesadillas were too good to be low-cal!  And then more recently, Applebees restaurants were sued because of misrepresenting the WW point value of meals.

Why does the FDA allow a 20% margin of error on labels?  20 percent!  Imagine if you were really eating 20% more than you thought you were.  That could easily add up to 30 pounds a year or more.  Is our only option for accurate calorie counting to completely ignore processed foods and not eat at restaurants?  Or should we stop worrying about calories altogether and just concentrate on carbs?  Should we petition the FDA to change their policy and to crack down more on nutrition labeling discrepancies?  Or do we even care?  In the meantime, I suspect there might be an increase of orders for Dominos, whose large thin-crust cheese pizza actually had one-third LESS calories than reported!  Delivery anyone?



Filed under dieting, food, restaurant/social eating

6 responses to “Counting Calories? Count Higher!

  1. 299lbs

    Wow, 20 percent, really!? You’d think that if they wanted a healthier public they’d start by looking at themselves – the government – before pointing fingers elsewhere. I think that’s a damn shame, and very, very, very sad and counterproductive. We all know by now that obesity is one of, if not _the_, worst thing for a western society – and we’ve got so much of it already!

    Makes me mad.

  2. Lisa

    Thank for stopping by my blog 🙂

    I can’t believe that calories can be that off. UGH!! How frustrating….

  3. Sunny

    Very disheartening! I DO know using “Low Sodium” Taco seasoning on ground TURKEY for three nights resulted in a full pound gain AND maintaining that gain for those 3 days, despite being at 1,200 calories (home stuff not any restaurant) for the three days. The day after I stopped eating it, the pound started to drop off. Low sodium food still causing water-retention weight gain. Obviously they used their full 20% of lies THERE. :: sigh ::

  4. waistingtime

    I think the food guidelines need an overhaul. There seems to be no oversight to terms like low-fat or low-carb or low anything either.

  5. laurajean64

    Trust no one if it’s the FDA! After reading on food production in the US, I’m afraid to eat anything that isn’t locally grown, all natural, or organic. That will surely cut some calories!!

  6. hmmm…that margin of error can be huge! i always put a butter in my food for a margin of error, but maybe 10%. great post!

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