Introduction -- Part one. Understanding calories: it all starts with the science. What is a calorie ; The history: from ancient Greece to modern calorie science ; Foods: how scientists count the calories ; Bodies: how scientists measure the use of calories -- Part two. Why you need calories: survival, warmth, and work. Metabolism: how the body turns food into energy ; The first use of calories: basic life functions ; The second use: heat losses while metabolizing food ; The third use: physical activity -- Part three. Calorie intake and its regulation. How many calories do you need? ; Calorie confusion: the struggle to estimate intake ; Secret calories: alcohol ; Calorie regulation: the body's complex weight management system -- Part four. Too few calories. Starvation and its effects on the body ; Individuals, communities, nations: calories and gobal hunger ; Could restricting calories prolong human life? -- Part five. Too many calories. An introduction to obesity ; Calories and weight gain: another complex relationship ; Do excess calories make some people gain weight faster than others? ; Are all calories created equal? ; Do some kinds of diets work better than others? -- Part six. The politics of calories: a closer look. Today's "eat-more" environment: the role of the food industry ; More calorie confusion: portion distortion, health halos, and wishful thinking ; Calorie labeling: science and politics ; Alcohol labels: industry vs. consumers ; Will calorie labels help fight obesity? -- Conclusion: How to cope with the calorie environment -- Appendix one. Selected events in the history of calories, 1614-1919 -- Appendix two. The respiratory quotient (RQ) -- Appendix three. Frequently asked questions.
"Calories--too few or too many--are the source of health problems affecting billions of people in today's globalized world. Although calories are essential to human health and survival, they cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. They are also hard to understand. In Why Calories Count, Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim explain in clear and accessible language what calories are and how they work, both biologically and politically. As they take readers through the issues that are fundamental to our understanding of diet and food, weight gain, loss, and obesity, Nestle and Nesheim sort through a great deal of the misinformation put forth by food manufacturers and diet program promoters. They elucidate the political stakes and show how federal and corporate policies have come together to create an "eat more" environment. Finally, having armed readers with the necessary information to interpret food labels, evaluate diet claims, and understand evidence as presented in popular media, the authors offer some candid advice: Get organized. Eat less. Eat better. Move more. Get political."