It’s NOT About Calories!!! Part 1

Written by Grant Roberts. Posted in Unified News

We have all heard the overly simplistic theory – “weight” management is a simple matter of counting calories or what is commonly known as the:

Calorie Balance Theory, or

Energy Balance Theory, or

Law of Thermodynamics

That suggests:

1)       If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight.

2)       If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.

3)        If you eat the same amount of calories that you burn your weight will not change.

So all you allegedly need to do is simply determine the number of calories you need to maintain a certain “weight” and eat exactly that number?

First let me ask the glaringly obvious question… what is weight?

“Weight” like calories does not tell us anything really. Losing or gaining weight doesn’t tell us if we are losing or gaining fat, muscle or water… calories likewise tell us a limited amount of information about food.

The naïve energy balance idea, that managing body composition is a simple matter of counting calories is wrong on so many levels. First of all, we never – ever burn exactly the same amount of energy in any given day – its constantly changing depending on activity and very dependant on what foods are being consumed.

I am constantly shocked, appalled and disgusted by the overwhelming numbers of supposed health care experts that continue to promote the calorie / energy balance theory as some sort of a solution?

In my opinion this advice equates to nutritional malpractice!

You can starve to death – no matter how many calories you consume on a diet of strictly carbohydrates. They are non-essential and provide nothing but a source of energy.

Responsible nutritional information first and foremost insures that all of our essential nutrient needs (water, protein, fat, mineral and vitamins) are being met daily. The term calorie is just a unit of measure…they technically don’t even exist.

Yes we can measure food by weight or by calories – and that… is what should be advocated… using calories or weight to quantify or measure specific NUTRIENTS to meet individual needs to promote health and accelerate fat loss if required…not calories which are generic / non-descript

The oversimplified counting calorie theory suggests that all foods are equal…and perhaps worst of all… when the message is eat less calories to loose weight – another non descript malpractice statement since it is excess body fat we are targeting not weight… if eating less is interpreted as good, then twisted logic might convince someone that eating much less or starving themselves is even better. That won’t work – The body will panic – the emergency survival system will kick in, existing body fat will be hoarded and lean muscle tissue will be sacrificed to meet and simultaneously reduce energy demands and metabolism will slow down. Everything about the oversimplified calorie equilibrium theory can have devastating consequences to health, with little to no immediate fat loss.

Perhaps the most conclusive evidence of the ill-conceived calorie balance theory is summarized in the results of a nutrient specific experiment that was performed in 1950 at London’s Middlesex Hospital. If you are familiar with the adage … the numbers don’t lie… in this case neither do the figures.

Middlesex Study

A clinical study was performed that observed and recorded the effects of patients consuming a daily diet of calorically equal amounts of predominantly a single nutrient.

The subjects were divided into one 3 nutrient categories and would consume a daily allowance of exactly 1000 calories of either 90 % protein, 90% fat or 90% carbohydrates.

The allotted daily caloric value of 1000 calories was considered to represent a caloric or energy expenditure deficit required to support normal life functions. Accordingly the body would be required to access additional stored energy reserves to meet the energy needs required to sustain life from either lean muscle tissue or stored fat deposits. The amount of additional energy the body would consume was anticipated to provide measurable results in physical weight loss. Each patient would be measured at the beginning and end of each day and the results recorded.

If the calorie equilibrium theory was correct, in this case the calories IN being less than the calories OUTput to sustain life then the results for the subjects should be uniform in the amount of weight lost.

Can you guess what happened? I’ll give you a hint… the results were not identical. So which category of nutrient do you think resulted in the most weight lost?

If you guessed protein… The individuals on the protein diet lost on average 0.6 pounds per day. If you think they were the big winners or rather losers…guess again.

The group consuming primarily fat lost 50% more weight daily than the protein group… dropping an average of 0.9 pounds per day

But the powers that be keep telling us that eating fat is what is causing us to get fat. How can that be…But wait…that’s not all – how can they possibly explain what happened to the group that ate carbohydrates?

You know the nutrient the USDA continues to suggest should consist of 65% of a quote – unquote… healthful diet… well the carbohydrate group, consuming only 1000 calories per day … actually gained weight on a calorie or energy deficit diet.

So much for the idea of calories in equals… calories out.

Clearly what you eat is important. And if counting is involved then counting carbohydrates will prove far more successful than counting calories.

© 2011 Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved


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Grant Roberts

Grant Roberts is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most successful trainers/nutritionists and lifestyle coaches. Roberts received international acclaim following his work with actress Hilary Swank who captured an Oscar® for her performance in the Clint Eastwood film - Million Dollar Baby. Grants clients include Academy Award® winning actors, leaders of industry, world champion athletes, he is a consultant to the US military.

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