Health & Fitness

Getting an airtight count on calories

Do we get fat because we overeat, or because of the types of food we eat? That’s the question posed by the Energy Balance Consortium Study, described by Sam Apple for Wired magazine. Apple gives a fascinating picture of how the study was conducted: Two days a week, participants were locked into “tiny airtight rooms known as metabolic chambers,” where scientists calculated how many calories they burned by measuring changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide in the rooms’ air. Their meals, delivered through vacuum-sealed portholes so researchers’ breath wouldn’t interfere with the measurements, were chemically analyzed to determine exact levels of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. (One site for the research was the metabolic ward at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.)

Annie Calovich

To bee or not to bee

Some new cultivars of wildflowers have lost the ability to feed pollinators. Here’s how to tell whether they are worth planting — for you and for the bees and butterflies.

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