Monica Fink | The Fundamental Flaw in Counting Calories
2798
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-2798,single-format-standard,ajax_updown_fade,page_not_loaded,

The Fundamental Flaw in Counting Calories

Posted by Monica Fink in Nutrition 09 Aug 2015

Whether I’m talking with clients or friends and family, almost everyone asks “which is more important?” – total calories or type of calories. As is often the case with nutrition and fitness questions, my answer is almost always “it’s both”. Many people are familiar with the concepts of protein, carbohydrates and fat when talking about food and calories. While those are important factors to consider, they distract us from the bigger picture and what is ultimately important – the nature of the foods we eat. More important than grams and calories is choosing whole foods over fractionalized and chemicalized foods. What do I mean by fractionalized and chemicalized? Let’s start with looking at what a whole food is.

Whole foods grow in the ground, on a tree, on a vine etc. They require no processing before we eat them – think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, certain tubers, herbs. An orange is an easily identifiable whole food. Now consider orange juice. Orange juice requires an extensive amount of processing before arriving at the grocery store. It is devoid of its original water content, its fiber and so much of its naturally occurring phytochemicals and anti-oxidants that some of those are artificially added back in when processed. Even the oxygen is “sucked” out of the juice so that it can be stored for months on shelves before it is “re-concentrated” into orange juice.

When it comes to whole foods, the nature of the food outweighs the importance of the calories consumed. For starters, our bodies recognize these foods and find them very satisfying.

 

 

 

The water content in fresh fruits and vegetables, along with the plentiful fiber, also fill us up both physically (stomach volume) and chemically (cellular level), which virtually prevents us from overeating these foods. So no need to worry about calories. You actually burn more calories digesting certain foods (like watermelon) than you do ingesting them. (Yay watermelon!)

Fractionalized foods have the opposite effect. When we eat these foods the body somehow knows that something is missing and often fails to feel full when an adequate number of calories are consumed. Ever notice how you can polish off an entire bag of your favorite snack (say potato chips) and continue to look in the pantry for something to eat? So in this case the total number of calories consumed is very important, whether we are looking to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight.

post.counting.calories.02

 

As a society we have been overwhelmed with an abundance of information, much of it mis-information and propaganda from large agri-business.

 

post.counting.calories.03

 

 

Fractionalized foods have the opposite effect. When we eat these foods the body somehow knows that something is missing and often fails to feel full when an adequate number of calories are consumed. Ever notice how you can polish off an entire bag of your favorite snack (say potato chips) and continue to look in the pantry for something to eat? So in this case the total number of calories consumed is very important, whether we are looking to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight.

Finally, fractionalized and chemicalized foods do not trigger a very important hormone, called Leptin, that plays a key role in fat-burning and in creating a sense of satiety. When the normal functions of our hunger and metabolic systems are disturbed or circumvented by fake foods, the body pays the price in the form of disease and excess body fat.

 

 So here’s a little mantra I teach my clients to simplify our choices and remind ourselves what to eat: Eat real food. Not too much. And mostly plants.

 

(Courtesy of Michael Polland)

Latest Posts


Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Post a comment