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Old 07-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by Stu Christensen View Post
Getting calorie counts from food is very specific and close to exact. There's no guessing involved. A tbsp of butter is the same in every restaurant as well as my home kitchen, same as 100g of pasta, 4oz of chicken breast, or a piece of bread.

You are comparing a GUESS, to a scientifically proveable and testable number.
Actually, determining the number of calories in a single portion of food is very difficult. Sure, we all know how many calories are in a Tbsp of butter, but what fraction of that tablespoon actually ended up on a particular customer's plate? Customer A's plate of mixed veggies was mostly broccoli, but customer B's was mostly carrots. Customer C's steak was leaner, while Customer D's mashed potatoes got an extra ladle of gravy. And the more complex the dish, the more difficult it is.

With that said, 1000 calories is a lot, well beyond the kind of errors I'm talking about.

Katherine
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:40 AM   #12
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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You are comparing a GUESS, to a scientifically proveable and testable number.
Counting only one side of the equation won't work. The calorie counting method requires counting both the calories in and the calories out and then seeing if the numbers are equal. It's easy to show that at least one side of the equation is a guess, if not both sides. That makes the whole concept of counting calories pseudo-science. It's only applicable in the most crude brute force scenarios which is not really science at all.

Quote:
Getting calorie counts from food is very specific and close to exact.
Really? How exact? Plus or minus what percentage?

Compare that percentage of error to a typical yearly consumption of 500,000 to 1,00,000 calories per year. Assuming that weight is simple matter of calories in vs. calories out, how accurate would you need to be in order to maintain a stable, healthy weight? Chew on that for a while and you'll see that weight maintanence couldn't possibly be a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out. Our weight would yo-yo up and down like crazy if that were the case. It doesn't. For the most part, bodyweight is either stable or increases at a relatively slow and steady rate (less than 10-15 lbs. per year.)

Last edited by Lincoln Brigham : 07-27-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #13
Steven Low
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
Counting only one side of the equation won't work. The calorie counting method requires counting both the calories in and the calories out and then seeing if the numbers are equal. It's easy to show that at least one side of the equation is a guess, if not both sides. That makes the whole concept of counting calories pseudo-science. It's only applicable in the most crude brute force scenarios which is not really science at all.

Really? How exact? Plus or minus what percentage?

Compare that percentage of error to a typical yearly consumption of 500,000 to 1,00,000 calories per year. Assuming that weight is simple matter of calories in vs. calories out, how accurate would you need to be in order to maintain a stable, healthy weight? Chew on that for a while and you'll see that weight maintanence couldn't possibly be a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out. Our weight would yo-yo up and down like crazy if that were the case. It doesn't. For the most part, bodyweight is either stable or increases at a relatively slow and steady rate (less than 10-15 lbs. per year.)
Gotta agree with Lincoln here.

What did all of civilization do before what? 1970? when they started putting calories onto labels? Why do we have an continuing AND progressing obesity epidemic when "science" gets more specific with "macronutrients" and caloric intake?

Calorie counting can get to insanely obsessive levels and is not healthy.

It's better to focus people on eating high quality foods, and "calories" take care of themselves. The body should get more credit than we give it in regulating itself once you start to eat good foods.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:40 AM   #14
Bob Cieszkowski
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Why do we have an continuing AND progressing obesity epidemic when "science" gets more specific with "macronutrients" and caloric intake?
Not sure if your question is rhetorical in nature Steven, but I imagine the U.S. Government's policy of heavily subsidizing calorically dense crops like corn and soybeans has something to do with it.

Unfortunately this happens at the expense of more nutrient rich "specialty crops" like fruits and vegetables.

And I couldn't agree more about eating good stuff (in the right proportions) and the calories take care of themselves.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:14 AM   #15
Eric Montgomery
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by Bob Cieszkowski View Post
Not sure if your question is rhetorical in nature Steven, but I imagine the U.S. Government's policy of heavily subsidizing calorically dense crops like corn and soybeans has something to do with it.

Unfortunately this happens at the expense of more nutrient rich "specialty crops" like fruits and vegetables.

And I couldn't agree more about eating good stuff (in the right proportions) and the calories take care of themselves.
Well that, plus the fact that people spend too much time worrying about the least important stuff. Rather than counting grams of fat and carbs and whatnot, they should be focusing on the quality of what they eat.

Sorta like I'd be wasting my time if I worried about whether I needed to run on the Stairmaster for 30 minutes at the 60% fat burning rate or for 20 minutes at the 80% cardio training zone, or whether I should do 3x10 or 4x8 on the adductor/abductor machine. Those distinctions wouldn't have nearly as much impact on my overall fitness as just telling me to squat, deadlift, press, do pullups, and sprint, and ignore everything else that doesn't really matter.

What's Michael Pollan's first rule? "Eat food"...which means real food, not highly processed frankenfoods. If people followed that rule and ignored everything else, to include calorie counts and macro ratios, I think our obesity problems would fix themselves in a hurry.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:34 AM   #16
Stu Christensen
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by adam adkins View Post
But why does it matter and who cares?

Again, if you are relying on accurate calorie counts from Chucky Cheese to keep you lean and healthy you got bigger problems.

Someone please explain to me why it matters if Pizza Hut tells me the P-Zone is 800 kcal when in reality it is 5000kcals? (note: i made those numbers up)

How does it matter in the long run?

If the argument is, "well, if you have an extra 4200kcals everyday you are going to get fat." My response is why are you eating a P-Zone everyday?


For the record, when we go to a chain (maybe 3-5 times a year) I get the biggest piece of meat they have with whatever type of veggies they have. The veggies are almost certainly cooked in some type of franken-oil but I don't care. What is the calorie count in that meal? I have no idea nor do I care.
It doesn't matter to me, I don't care. I was just pointing out that Lincoln's methodology wasn't sound.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:45 AM   #17
Stu Christensen
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Re: 1 in 5 Restaurants Lies about Calories

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
Counting only one side of the equation won't work. The calorie counting method requires counting both the calories in and the calories out and then seeing if the numbers are equal. It's easy to show that at least one side of the equation is a guess, if not both sides. That makes the whole concept of counting calories pseudo-science. It's only applicable in the most crude brute force scenarios which is not really science at all.

Really? How exact? Plus or minus what percentage?

Compare that percentage of error to a typical yearly consumption of 500,000 to 1,00,000 calories per year. Assuming that weight is simple matter of calories in vs. calories out, how accurate would you need to be in order to maintain a stable, healthy weight? Chew on that for a while and you'll see that weight maintanence couldn't possibly be a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out. Our weight would yo-yo up and down like crazy if that were the case. It doesn't. For the most part, bodyweight is either stable or increases at a relatively slow and steady rate (less than 10-15 lbs. per year.)
You're also assuming someone would eat the exact same thing, every day, for a year, without the notion of how thier body is reacting to the nutrients.

As for what percentage? It depends on the person cooking, and of course the more complex the meals the more variance. Most restaurants have SIMPLE meals, to ensure consistency in taste, serving portion, and appearance. There is a lot less variance than you think. I would estimate less than 5%. That's a FAR cry from the 100% some restaurants are off on that list. 5% of a 2500kcal diet a day is 125kcals... or less than 13 pounds a year....if everything else was exactly the same.

What i'm saying is FOOD nutrient information available online is FAR more specific and accurate than the restaurant information available on line.

Me, I don't care....if I'm eating at a restaurant, I know that meal is not what it says it is.....but that doesn't mean those restaurants wouldn't be able to get a much more accurate account of kcals than being 800 or 1000 off! lol

The examples you posted had more than a 1000kcal difference per day.... that's 104lbs in year!! I think my 13 pounds is a lot closer than your 104 pounds. Therefore, like I said...I believe the information available to count calories is significantly more specific than your information available to determine a person's caloric requirements. And restaurants should be able to estimate the total calories in a meal closer than 1000kcals! That's all I'm saying.

Last edited by Stu Christensen : 07-27-2011 at 11:49 AM.
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