Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

A Calorie is a Calorie. Not So Fast?

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Cover of the first issue of Journal of the Ame...

Cover of the first issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The problem:   Is  a calorie a calorie?  A new study raises some interesting questions.

The bottom line:  A  low carbohydrate, high fat diet and a low-glycemic diet burned more calories than the traditional low fat, high carbohydrate diet.

However, the low-carbohydrate, high fat diet did have adverse effects on CRP (an inflammatory marker) and cortisol excretion. Cortisol may promote adiposity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease.

This has been an ongoing controversy on whether all calories are created equal – a common promotion by the food processing industry as well as many nutrition professionals.  This is now questioned in a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2012:307:2627-2634)

The article below presents a great review of the study findings and opinions of some notable food writers.  Marion Nestle does suggest a good counterpoint:  this was a small study and that other studies find little differences over the long run – so does this occur in a real-life setting?   Interesting!!

So as in all nutrition studies – more research needed not only on weight loss maintenance but also on other metabolic aspects (good and bad)  of these particular types of diets.


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