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by Kayla Siracusa

Counting calories and grams of fat has become a popular method for planning meals. It can be appealing to reduce meal planning to simple arithmetic. Although "a calorie is a calorie", there are certain foods that will make you feel fuller than other foods – for example, foods that are high in fiber and protein. Focusing on diets that contain these foods can be a way to help reduce compulsive overeating episodes.

Focusing on calories alone is not recommended for those suffering from eating disorders since it’s easy for people to eat too few or too many calories if they become focused on a number rather than a balanced meal. Calorie counting can be especially dangerous for people with eating disorders. The number of calories in food can act as a trigger for people with anorexia and bulimia much in the same way that the number on a scale can cause weight obsession.

Rader programs uses a modified diabetic exchange system which helps the patients learn how to form balanced meals without counting calories– therefore people don’t get hung up on the number of calories in everything they eat and can instead focus on enjoying healthy and delicious meals. The exchange program allows individuals to plan meals by choosing foods from various lists. Therefore, eating disorders patients can plan healthy meals without having to eat the same meals over and over again. As they say, "variety is the spice of life."