Here is an interesting short video (just over 5 minutes) about how we can unwittingly consume more calories than we want even when we are carefully reading labels!  Keep this in mind as we approach the holiday season starting with Halloween, moving into Thanksgiving, and then the wonderful month of December ...

Diet programs revolve around a proven principle: if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. The calorie is the defining metric. And so, in the interest of public health, the Food and Drug Administration requires most packaged foods to list their calories, among other data, on labels. In theory this is great, but according to the F.D.A., no one verifies the accuracy of these calorie listings. The system essentially runs on an honor system.

For this Op-Doc video, the investigator selected five items he might consume in an average day: a muffin, a tofu sandwich, a Subway sandwich, a Starbucks Frappuccino and a Chipotle burrito. Then, two food scientists at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center painstakingly tested the caloric content of each using a device called a bomb calorimeter. It’s a precise but slow process — taking more than an hour per sample. The results were surprising.

SPOILER ALERT: Four out of the five items tested had more calories than their labels reported, adding up to 550 calories. If anyone unknowingly consumed those extra calories every day, in a week he/she would put on an extra pound of body weight. Not good.

Our current system for regulating calories is woefully inadequate.

- Ginny Adams O'Connell and Kerry H. Cheever,
  Co-Directors, IN FOCUS Center for Investigation: Healthcare