cover image Why Calories Don’t Count: How We Got the Science of Weight Loss Wrong

Why Calories Don’t Count: How We Got the Science of Weight Loss Wrong

Giles Yeo. Pegasus, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-64313-827-5

“The calorie-counts that you see everywhere today are WRONG,” according to this informative and entertaining guide. Yeo (Gene Eating), a geneticist researching obesity at the University of Cambridge, explains calories in terms of “caloric availability,” or the number of “available or usable calories” the body can extract from food, which is different from the number listed on nutritional labels. To that end, Yeo makes a case that “the system of caloric availability brings all diet plans under one umbrella,” with the takeaway being that low-carb, high-fat, and ketogenic diets are based on the premise that “calorie by calorie, meals higher in protein appear to be more filling.” Yeo’s guidelines for how to make healthier food choices rely on focusing on the nutritional content in food, getting enough protein and fiber, and avoiding sugar and meat. Two appendixes break down the nutritional values of common foods, and provide recipes for “no-rush weekend dishes,” such as crispy duck with pancakes and beef short-rib rendang. Yeo explains complex biochemistry—how the digestive system works, metabolic rate and how it’s measured, how carbs and fat are burned—and delivers his plan with a chatty tone and humorous anecdotes. Straightforward, encouraging, and easy to implement, this is sure to please readers looking to switch up their approach to food. (Dec.)