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Counting Calories: Not Exactly an Exact Science

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If you’ve got the time and discipline to count calories in your effort to lead a healthier, less hefty life, here’s some bad news.

The American Dietetic Association is questioning whether the calorie counts at restaurants and on boxes and cans of food are accurate following tests that have found disparities on labels, writes 9News. For instance, researchers measured Lean Cuisine’s Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta at 319 calories rather than the 220 on the label. A serving of grits at a Denny’s that should have been 80 calories tested at 258 calories. And if you are a calorie counter, the difference can be 10 pounds of weight gain a year.

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“If you’re thinking you’re eating 200 calories and really you’re getting 250, that makes a big difference at the end of the day,” says Dr. Marc Cornier of the University of Colorado at Denver’s Center for Human Nutrition.

It seems calorie-counting tests are to blame—human error—rather than a conspiracy. One key to keeping off the pounds: Exercise like crazy. 5280 associate editor Julie Dugdale recently tried out three innovative local regimens meant to whip you into shape.

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