Calorimeters in the fight against obesity

Obesity is a growing problem in developed countries due to the convenience of fast food and the “omnipresence” of fast food restaurants. Replacing certain ingredients with ones lower in kilojoules can help to curb obesity.

Calorimeters have been invaluable in determining the health effects of various fats and oils and other foods by determining the energy value of the food. Fats and oils have approximately 38 kj of energy whereas protein has only 17. Dieticians were able to state as a fact that a diet high in protein and low in fats and oils will help someone to lose weight. This could be taken a step further – which foods exactly have the lowest energy values? To someone who is dangrously obese, this is important because they need to be able to not only eat a balanced diet – telling a person with this problem to just eat lettuce leaves would be unhealthy and impossible to follow anyway – but to choose foods wisely.

Using calorimeters (amongst other things) means that detailed research into food energy values is relatively easy and helpful in finding healthier alternatives such as substituting olive oil for sunflower oil because the kilojoule content has been determined.

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