NewsBite: Calorie Communication and Lessons Learned

The article, “Confusion on All Sides of the Calorie Equation: Lessons Learned, Future Directions,” appearing in the September/October 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition Today addresses common communication challenges and disconnects faced by the nutrition and health community when communicating to those who most need to know what to do to improve their health. The article’s co-authors are Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, the IFIC Foundation’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD, formerly with the IFIC Foundation, and currently senior manager, public affairs, Monsanto Co.; Christina DiMarco-Crook, MS, U.S. Department of Agriculture fellow and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James Hill, Ph.D., executive director, Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, University of Colorado, Aurora; and Cheryl Toner, MS, RDN, president, CDT Consulting, LLC

The Nutrition Today article discusses how to effectively communicate about calories, or energy balance and why it is essential for health professionals to consider consumers’ understanding of those concepts and terms. For instance, few consumers connect the term “energy balance” with calories, often equating it instead with a state of “feeling energetic.”

Within the publication recommendations are offered from an expert roundtable on energy and calorie balance hosted by the International Food Information Council. Outcomes revealed that consumers need personalized messages and customized goal-setting based on their individual needs. It advocates familiarizing consumers with their personal “daily calorie number,” or the amount of calories needed to maintain weight, based on their “unique weight management profile.”

Topics addressed in the article include:

  • Exploring Consumers’ Perceptions;
  • Barriers to Tracking Calories Consumed and Burned;
  • Putting Prominence on Calorie Labeling;
  • Expert Perspectives on Best Practices to Help Consumers Achieve Calorie Balance; and
  • Implications and Future Directions.

To access the Nutrition Today article, click here.