By Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim
University of California Press, $29.95, 303 pages

Reviewing Why Calories Count is a bit tricky. Is this a book for those in need of eating fewer calories, or is this a textbook? The layout of the book is like a textbook written for nutritionist and dietitians. Illustrations are few (24 black-and-white figures) and the text is fairly dry, though the writing is good. The 26 tables are pure science, helping to break up the text, and the authors, Nestle and Nesheim, further lightened the reading by dividing each chapter into short sections. Yet many features suggest that the authors targeted overweight people. The cover shows a piece of broccoli, a hard-cooked egg and a cupcake. Much of the text suggests, too, that losing weight is the emphasis. The section of Frequently Asked Questions (appendix three), for example, lists questions regarding diets and weight loss. Other aspects indicate that this book was written for dietitians, nutritionists and those with vocations in the food industry, such as ‘Appendix Two: Respiratory Quotient’ and a 35-page dry ‘Notes’ section that concludes the text. If this volume was written for dieters, it failed. Not many would bother to read through endless paragraphs in chapters dealing with the many aspects of the science of calories.

Reviewed by George Erdosh,