Calorie-focused approach may mislead attempts to manage dietary choices

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the ONA take:

In advising patients about maintaining their nutritional status as best as possible, some strategies may be more effective than others.

A new paper challenges the idea that “a calorie is a calorie.” The idiom implies that 1 calorie of any food or drink is the same as 1 calorie of any other food or drink. The authors, however, argue that different types of foods create different metabolic changes, and calorie-focused thinking may result in a biased approach to foods as good or poor choices. 

That bias could misdirect patients toward consuming foods they should avoid and avoiding those that could be healthy choices. For example, high-fat foods would be considered poor choices, even though many of these foods may actually be ideal in a balanced diet (eg, nuts, olive oil, oily fish, whole milk). One author points out, “The fact is that some calories will squelch a person’s appetite and promote energy utilization, while others will promote hunger and energy storage.” 

The authors advocate taking special note of the calories that chosen to eat. Absorbable carbohydrates-sugars and refined starches, such as white rice and those with substantive amounts of white flour, cause blood sugar and insulin to rise rapidly then drop. 

In general, the authors advise consuming whole/minimally processed foods and not continue to promote a calorie-focused approach to dietary choices.

Nutrition intervention leads to dietary behavior changes in Latina breast cancer survivors
In advising patients about maintaining their nutritional status, some strategies may be more effective than others.
Perhaps not all calories are created equal. Instead, the authors argue for a greater qualitative focus - paying more attention to the foods from which the consumed calories derive - and on the metabolic changes that result from consuming foods of different types.
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