Why Calorie Counting Doesn't Work?

How many of you believe in calorie counting? How many of you think that weight gain and obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories from food than he or she burns? Raise your hand if so……

I can see many of you still think so. Well…. I was one of the persons that thought the same way you do. I thought that I could eat a piece of chocolate or an ice cream and then go to the gym, kill myself, burn it and keep a healthy weight.

The truth is……. BIG MISTAKE!!!

Exercising is important to increase your energy levels, get strength, boost your immune system, have a good mood and feel healthier; but not just to burn calories.

Imaging that a typical American food intake for a man is 2700 Kcal/day, which is around 1,000,000 Kcal/year and would be 10 tons Kcal/decade. Crazy!!

The question is: How accurately we have to match calories in/calories out to make sure we don’t get 20 lbs in a decade?

This formula published in a metabolism textbook demonstrates why calorie counting doesn’t work.

Imaging that you eat your regular meals, then you go to the gym and you burn everything but 20 calories……

(20*365*10)/3500 = 21 lbs/decade

365= number of days in one year

10 = decade

3500 = calories in a pound of fat

If we stick 20 calories a day into the fat tissue then we are likely to have 42 lbs within 20 years and have a high risk of obesity.

The accuracy is 0.8%, which means that if we burn 99.2% of what we eat, we are going to be obese in few years from now.

I think you already have the answer…… It is impossible to play with energy balance and be that accurate.

How do we have to do it if we don’t want to get obese? It is as simple as eating healthy and keep exercising.

It is not the same 1000 calories of veggies than 1000 calories of French Fries.

  • The effect in your body is different. Fries are made with potatoes (starch with a high amount of sugars) and usually hydrogenated oil (trans fat). Fries help inducing chronic diseases while veggies help preventing them.

  • 1000 calories of fries are a small portion compared to 1000 calories of veggies, which means that you will continue eating fries until you get full. You end up eating more than 1000 calories.

It is not about quantity, it is about quality!

During the human evolution, we passed from being fit hunters to get obese. How did we get here? The difference with our ancestors is the change in diets. They used to eat ocean or land plants and animals, no refined carbohydrates, no trans fats, no sodas or energy drinks, no process foods.

Also prosperity made us lazy. We move much less than our ancestors. We spend a big part of the day sitting, which is as bad as smoking and is demonstrated to lead to chronic diseases and raise mortality.

Prosperity and the increase of sugar intake took us here.

Good news! We can prevent it and it is reversible!! It is about making gradual lifelong changes in what we eat and our lifestyle.

Does it mean you have to suffer when you eat? Do you have to stop eating foods you love if you want to eat healthier? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! A few changes here and there in you current recipes make difference.

If you love ice cream, you can still eat it! Here is an easy and healthy Recipe for Tropical Ice cream

½ cup Frozen Mango

½ cup Frozen Banana

1 Tbsp. Almond Butter

½ cup Almond or Coconut Milk

Stevia (optional)

Blend it all and enjoy!




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