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Calories don't count – but the way a body absorbs them does
POSTED 22 Jun 2021 . BY Tom Walker
Yeo argues that the focus should be on how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb Credit: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

Credit: University of Cambridge
Don’t blindly count calories – because all foods have different caloric availability
– Dr Giles Yeo
A new book makes the case that the current approach to calories is "entirely wrong"
Dr Giles Yeo argues that the focus should be on how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb
Yeo says this "caloric availability" is a much more accurate measurement
His new "Why Calories Don’t Count" book was published this year
Dr Giles Yeo, a geneticist at Cambridge University in the UK, has written a new book in which he makes the case that the current approach to understanding calories is "entirely wrong".

In his book Why Calories Don’t Count, Yeo, who has been researching obesity and its causes for more than 20 years, writes that rather than focusing on how many calories a food contains, the emphasis should be on its “caloric availability".

This, Yeo says, is the measure of how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb.

"Don’t blindly count calories – because all foods have levels of different caloric availability," Yeo says.

"This is the number of calories digestion can extract from a food, versus the number of actual calories in that food.

"Every calorie might be equal, but some are more equal than others.

"For example, the caloric availability of protein is 70 per cent, meaning we absorb, on average, 70Kcal for every 100Kcal we eat. This is different from the more than 95 per cent we absorb when it comes to carbohydrates and fats."

According to Yeo, this could – and should – have a bearing on weight loss guidelines, which almost always use calories as a simple measure of how much energy we’re consuming.

Yeo points out that, while calories are a useful measurement, the simplistic approach that the more calories an individual consumes the more weight they will gain is "outdated".

The relationship between calories and "caloric availability" could partly explain research results, which have shown that people who consume the same number of calories – but acquire them from different foods – put on different amounts of weight.

For example, a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed that people eating ultra-processed foods gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet.

The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had exactly the same number of calories and macronutrients.

To read more about Giles Yeo and his research, click here. To find out more about his latest book, click here.
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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
NEWS
Calories don't count – but the way a body absorbs them does
POSTED 22 Jun 2021 . BY Tom Walker
Yeo argues that the focus should be on how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb Credit: Shutterstock/Syda Productions
Credit: University of Cambridge
Don’t blindly count calories – because all foods have different caloric availability
– Dr Giles Yeo
A new book makes the case that the current approach to calories is "entirely wrong"
Dr Giles Yeo argues that the focus should be on how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb
Yeo says this "caloric availability" is a much more accurate measurement
His new "Why Calories Don’t Count" book was published this year
Dr Giles Yeo, a geneticist at Cambridge University in the UK, has written a new book in which he makes the case that the current approach to understanding calories is "entirely wrong".

In his book Why Calories Don’t Count, Yeo, who has been researching obesity and its causes for more than 20 years, writes that rather than focusing on how many calories a food contains, the emphasis should be on its “caloric availability".

This, Yeo says, is the measure of how many of the calories in a food are available for the body to absorb.

"Don’t blindly count calories – because all foods have levels of different caloric availability," Yeo says.

"This is the number of calories digestion can extract from a food, versus the number of actual calories in that food.

"Every calorie might be equal, but some are more equal than others.

"For example, the caloric availability of protein is 70 per cent, meaning we absorb, on average, 70Kcal for every 100Kcal we eat. This is different from the more than 95 per cent we absorb when it comes to carbohydrates and fats."

According to Yeo, this could – and should – have a bearing on weight loss guidelines, which almost always use calories as a simple measure of how much energy we’re consuming.

Yeo points out that, while calories are a useful measurement, the simplistic approach that the more calories an individual consumes the more weight they will gain is "outdated".

The relationship between calories and "caloric availability" could partly explain research results, which have shown that people who consume the same number of calories – but acquire them from different foods – put on different amounts of weight.

For example, a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed that people eating ultra-processed foods gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet.

The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had exactly the same number of calories and macronutrients.

To read more about Giles Yeo and his research, click here. To find out more about his latest book, click here.
RELATED STORIES
FEATURE: Talking Point: Weight loss


The industry is conflicted when it comes to offering weight loss programmes and interventions. HCM examines the issues
FEATURE: Talking Point: Fat shaming


Bristol University has committed to embracing body positivity and rejecting diet culture. Should the rest of the fitness sector follow suit?
Amanda Daley: change food labelling to get people more active


Food labelling that shows the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories in food items would result in people re-thinking their eating habits – as well as get them more physically active.
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Exclusive: HCM talks to Rainer Schaller about buying Gold’s Gym
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will have to prepare for permanent life with COVID-19 – but that the future will also present plenty of opportunities for the sector.
Arena gets US$5.2m seed financing to enter connected strength training market
Fitness startup Arena Innovation has secured US$5.2m worth of seed funding, as it looks to launch its robotically-assisted resistance training product to the market.
EuropeActive to publish new study on COVID-19 cases and health club visits
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness clubs and leisure facilities is currently being developed by EuropeActive.
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Orbit4

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+ More profiles  
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+ More catalogues  

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FreeMotion Fitness - Freemotion FUSION Team Training
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+ More directory  
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25-26 Jul 2021

The Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Conference 2021

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Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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