Science shows there is a clear equation for maintaining one’s weight: calories consumed balanced with calories burned. Unless, there are extenuating circumstances involved such as genetics.
A study published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine provided a definitive defense of that equation. The study showed that it doesn’t matter what foods you eat, rather how many calories you consume in all that you eat during the day which makes a difference.
As Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Levitz wrote: “You aren’t what you eat. You’re how much.”
The study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health with funding support from the National Institutes of Health.
Harvard’s principal investigator for this study, Dr. Frank Sacks, told the Wall Street Journal that the study “really goes against the idea that certain foods are the key to weight loss. This is a pretty positive message. It gives people a lot of choices to find a diet they can stick with.”
We’ve long made this same science-supported and common-sense-backed argument when it comes to our caloric beverages. You can be a healthy person and still drink regular sodas, so long as it’s done in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Portion control was a major theme that emerged from the Harvard study.
It’s more about how you eat – and exercise – not what you eat. Trying to demonize and eliminate people’s access to certain foods is just foolishness. It’s not going to make a difference in addressing obesity or overweight issues. One food or one beverage does not make the difference in determining a person’s weight.
Dr. Maureen Storey, our senior vice president for science policy, summed it up well.
“This study reaffirms the importance of energy balance in losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, that is, counting calories in and calories out, not focusing on specific foods and beverages. There is no miracle diet for weight loss. Calories matter when it comes to losing weight, not the latest fad that encourages certain foods while eliminating others from a diet plan.”
Thank you to the Harvard researchers for providing more scientific support for energy balance with calories. It’s good to see some balance in the research on weight and food.