On the Lack of Trust: the Calorie Issue

So anorexics count calories. Duh. Not all of them (us), but most do. Most of us obsess over numbers: calories, fat, protein, carbs, you name it. Some are more obsessive than others; and most (like myself) are uncomfortable when a certain product does not have the calorie content stated explicitly on the box or in the menu.

Even going grocery shopping can be hard sometimes – for example, you get a box of cookies, right? What can go wrong? Tons of things, if the calorie content is stated only per 100 grams, and not per one cookie. So you try to estimate how many grams are in a cookie, and then do long division in your head to figure out how many calories are in a single one. Yeah. We do that. Most products in the U.S., for example, have calories per serving indicated on the box. In Europe, though, that is completely optional.

This is good. Calories per 100 grams and per serving.

What is worse, though, is when the obsessive thoughts become near-paranoid: what if the people making these cookies are just trying to make them more popular by downplaying the actual calorie content? What if this 50 calorie digestive wonder is actually 200 calories and full of trans fats? What if the entire world is against you?

It gets even worse when you’re at a restaurant. You order something that you think is light – like a salad, or steamed fish. And it arrives with some sort of cheesy dressing or mashed potatoes smeared all over it. Your faith in humanity crashes.

What about eating at home? When grandma tells you that her pancakes are ‘light’ because she made them on olive oil and not butter?



It happens. When this happens to your favorite anorexic, just bear with it. The best comfort in this case is information. Try to find out the calorie content. If you do, you can try to rationalize the situation: explain that it’s not that bad, that since the person in question didn’t eat that much today, or went for a run in the morning, those extra sauce calories won’t do any harm.

Information and support. That’s all you can do.



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