Scientists say calorie content stated on food labelling is highly misleading and has for years ignored the energy content of fibre. So the stuff they say is healthy and we should be eating is actually not as good as the food fascists told us. Why are we not surprised?
Dieters and calorie counters, it turns out, have been unknowingly eating more calories than they thought in their muesli porridge or bran flakes.
The issue of misleading labelling came up yesterday at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston where Dr Geoffrey Livesey, a British nutritionist: said: When people eat muesli, it is a healthy food but they are often putting on lots of weight.
Regulators have known since the early 1990s that fibre had a calorie content, but stuck with the old system for assessing calories which said fibre is indigestible and so had a negligible calorific contribution in the same way as they stuck with the discredited Body Mass Index as an indicator of our body fat ratio rather than simply a ratio of height to weight.
Traditionally, calorie content has been calculated using the general factor system, which only looked at the protein, fat and carbohydrate in a food item. Four calories were assigned for each gram of protein and carbohydrate, while each gram of fat added nine calories.
Dr Livesey said: What the old system gave us is a very general calorific value, which is misleading.
‘So consumers have been eating more calories than they thought, particularly if the food was high-fibre.
One day scientists will get something right and millions of people will die of shock. Meanwhile, bring on the pies, bacon sandwiches, sausages, burgers and chips.