Reading The New York Times this morning, I was reassured to see common sense supported by research and science. ("The Optimal Diet," by Dean Ornish: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/opinion/sunday/the-optimal-diet.html?smid=pl-share) It stresses that what you eat matters. Your diet, what you eat, has a relationship to the diseases you may develop and the good the health you hope to have.
Counting calories is certainly not a gimmick, but it can become another thing to hang your hat on, another "weight loss tool" we use in an endless quest to "diet." What we should be focusing on is the nutritional value of what we're eating. Does a piece of white bread have fewer calories than a piece of wholewheat bread? Yes. Is it better for you?
Eat for your health - not for a number.