Calories Count: But Can Consumers Count on Them?

Staff - ama-assn.org - 07/19/2011
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Excess energy intake contributes to weight gain. Although energy output can help balance energy intake for weight control over time, weight loss for most sedentary people can be achieved only by reducing energy intake. 1, 2 Despite long-held assumptions that diet composition might influence the rate and overall capacity for weight loss, randomized controlled trials have recently documented that regardless of shifts in total protein, carbohydrate, or fat intake, the bottom line in achieving successful weight loss is adherence to a diet that is reduced in total energy intake. 3, 4

Behaviorally, this involves reducing the total number of calories consumed to achieve an energy deficit over time. Energy-dense foods and beverages such as those with added sugar or fat have more energy per unit weight of food compared with non–energy-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables that contain more water or fiber. 5 Both energy density and …

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