A special episode brought to you by Gastropod, the podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history.
Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s the simple formula for weight loss or gain. But dieters often find that it doesn’t work. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley investigate in this episode of Gastropod, and in their Mosaic feature, Why the calorie is broken.
For most of us, the calorie is just a number on the back of the packet or on the display at the gym. But what is it, exactly? And how did we end up with this one unit with which to measure our food? Is a calorie the same no matter what type of food it comes from? And is one calorie for you exactly the same as one calorie for me? To find out, Cynthia and Nicola visit the special rooms scientists use to measure how many calories we burn, and the labs where researchers are discovering that the calorie is broken. And they pose the question: if not the calorie, then what?
For more stories visit mosaicscience.com
If you liked this story, we recommend How we became the heaviest drinkers in a century by Chrissie Giles.
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