When you are surrounded by Taco Hell, you get to thinking that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If we are to believe the results of the so-called “Twinkie Study,”of course they are all the same. If we try delving anywhere into a place I would like to call reality, however, we find that not all calories are created equally. Let us not forget the shameful deceit of corn sugar, for example.

Weight Watchers, helping men and women lose weight since the 1960’s is now coming to acknowledge something I feel as though I have known my whole life, with great advice from my mother telling me all about the importance of eating complex carbohydrates (brown rice) and not simple ones (white rice) — the source of the calories is just as significant as how many calories you consume.

Some calories come from foods that fill you up more than others, and some calories come from foods that do not spike insulin levels so much. Some calories come from foods with virtually no nutritional value (empty calories), while others are rich in vitamins and minerals.

All fresh fruits and the majority of vegetables now score zero points in the Weight Watchers new PointsPlus system. Dried fruit and some vegetables, such as potatoes and corn will still have points.

Similarly, we can look at a comparison between consuming calories that have their root in animal sources versus plant-based sources. Most of the animal sources are deficient in any of a number of positive qualities and are loaded down with excessive artery clogging cholesterol.

When you are facing down the menu, you need to know that your choices aren’t as simple as how many calories a food item has because two thousand calories coming to you from the empty calorie sugar train won’t do you any good.


  1. Well done, Gordon! I take it that fresh fruits and vegetables counting for “zero points” is a good thing, right?

    If you can’t eat somewhere safe — like Angelica Kitchen or VP2 or Red Bamboo in NYC — you need to cook at home and read the food labels if you want to control your weight and health.

    I always tell people looking to lose weight the right way, but quickly, is to stay under 5 grams of Saturated Fat a day. Now, that’s tough to do because a lot of saturated fat in the mainstream diet comes from animals — so that means you really have to carve that flesh out of your diet, for awhile at least, and look for other good, non-saturated fat food sources like fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

    That method is an easy way to keep track of what you’re eating without having to specifically calorie count every single thing. Just know your saturated fat sources and moderate them downward and out of your mouth.

    1. That’s right, David — the more fruits and vegetables people eat, the better.

      I like your approach to weight loss. I keep to a vegan diet so I suppose I don’t get much saturated fat, if any. 🙂

      1. That’s right, Gordon, but there are some non-flesh sources of saturated fat that we must try to avoid:

        In general, the main sources of saturated fat are from animal products: red meat and whole-milk dairy products, including cheese, sour cream, ice cream and butter. But there are also plant-based sources of saturated fat, principally coconut oil and coconut milk, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, and palm oil. And while you probably don’t go to the store and buy these—with the exception of coconut milk—these plant-based saturated fats crop up in a number of commercially prepared products. Cocoa butter is in chocolate. Coconut oil and palm oils are in anything from non-dairy whipped toppings and coffee creamers, to cookies and cakes.

        Americans consume an average of 25.5 grams of saturated fat a day, which is 5-10 grams more than we should be eating. Saturated-fat intake is linked to high cholesterol and increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

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