SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Could it be time to quit counting calories?

It may be a controversial concept, but, according to some new research, the method of counting calories is outdated when it comes to weight loss.

Researchers at North Carolina University say nutritional data on food labels is based on a 19th century science — some of which doesn’t hold true today.

Researchers say how many calories are needed can vary from person to person. In fact, they say, some obese people may have a gut bacteria imbalance which makes them absorb more calories.

A study found that while an ounce of raw almonds contains around 170 calories, about 130 are actually absorbed because calories are burned digesting them.

In contrast, processed foods such as sugary cereal often have more calories than what the label actually says.

Researchers say, the way food is cooked — along with individual metabolisms — determines how many calories are actually absorbed. One study showed that mice that were fed raw sweet potatoes lost weight but gained weight when fed the same amount of cooked food.

[See the study as published in Scientific American]

Sheba Roy, a doctor of natural medicine at Beaumont Hospital, says those looking to drop some pounds should concentrate on eating  unprocessed whole foods.

Roy said that the kinds of processed foods that are found in boxes, bags and cans can interfere with a healthy gut bacteria balance, which can ultimately affect how we metabolize what we eat.

So, what should we be eating?

“Shopping on the outside of your grocery store, aiming for organic produce and vegetables where you can afford it,” Roy said.  “Looking for brightly colored fruits and vegetables.”

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