We've been told to count calories if we want to control our weight. But now we need to do even more counting, according to a new weight control strategy recommended by the specialist counting agency Counts 'R'Us.
They say that if we expend exactly the same number of calories doing active things as the number of calories we consume, then our body weight should stay stable.
So the latest diet strategy requires that we spend more time counting. Health scientist Dr Ima Kowntinnam says that this new method is very straightforward if we're good at counting - and if we know the exact calorific content of each item consumed.
"For instance," she says, "if you eat one raisin (which contains 6 calories), then make sure you chew it 6 times. Because with each single chew you will expend one calorie. A strawberry (10 calories) you'll need to chew 10 times. So it's easy, isn't it? Even if you fancy a biscuit (74 calories) then all you need to do is chew it 74 times."
However, you might think twice about a kebab - because you'll have to chew it 429 times. So make sure you get a really tough one.
Rather than count in your head, it's best to use all 10 fingers to ensure accurate counting. And while you're using all your fingers to count with, then you're not stuffing more food into your mouth.
If you get fed up of too much chewing and counting - or if you might be embarrassed at dinner parties, then Dr Kowntinnam recommends fidgeting - preferably with as many parts of your body as possible. This is more acceptable at very posh dinner parties.
Other scientists have observed that the man who holds the world record for fidgeting is quite a slim guy - and good at counting.