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    The “Calorie Counting” Trap

    Most cardio equipment will have a calorie counter to tell you how many you have burned. I’ve seen people swimming in sweat, literally a pool of it surrounding their bike, after what must have been a huge grind session and all this with 850 calories expended. That’s right, 850. Most people will not get anywhere near that unless they’re flat out for 50-60 minutes and the average “cals” burned would be 500-600.

    Check out how many cals a medium cappuccino and bagel with cream cheese puts into your system. Then you may start to realise counting cals may not actually be the thing you thought it was.

    Do you know how they measure how many calories are in a food? Do you think someone actually eating food comes into the equation? Nope. They burn the food and measure the temperature change, a one degree Celsius change is 1 calorie, a basic explanation from McGill University in Canada is here.

    A calorie is a measure of energy, which kind of makes sense as it relates to human power. Whether burning the food bears any resemblance to how mitochondria utilises nutrients in human cells to produce energy is, in my mind, highly debatable. I would go as far as to say it’s almost ridiculous.

    So how then do people lose weight when they “count” calories? Well, they usually end up eating much less than they ordinarily would so they’re restricting the amount of food and therefore reverse the increasing weight gain paradigm so many of the population finds themselves in.

    As I have written about previously, the human population has become subjected to manufactured foods that are highly processed and largely nutrient-deficient. For a lot of the western world this has resulted in an epidemic of obesity, as described by the WHO. Almost 40% of the world’s adult population is overweight and 13% technically obese.

    After spending a significant amount of time researching the subject and attempting to understand the primary causes without the pressure of financial interests dictating outcomes, it is clear to me a primary cause is the food we eat. After all, more people suffer from too much food than not enough as is evidenced by the previously linked website.

    So exactly what is the issue with counting calories? Here are the problems –

    • there’s a tenuous relationship between the true energy contribution of food and what values are attached to them by the term calorie
    • focussing on numbers distracts people from the quality of the foods they’re consuming
    • focussing on numbers can mean other highly relevant concepts are not considered such as intermittent fasting (IF)
    • focussing on numbers takes away from understanding the origins of food

    We should be focussing on IF and food quality, primarily nutrient density and choosing whole foods. These concepts are the ones most people should be building their nutrition plan around and especially that of their children. A focus that is purely on numbers is simple to do but not beneficial and it is based on flimsy science – it’s not the only flimsy science seen in the fitness industry, think 220-your age as a maximal heart rate for training purposes – bunk!

    I survey the fitness and health scene frequently and am always questioning what people are doing. Way too many times I see a reliance on calorie counting as a means for determining food selection – this is a big error. Change you ways people!

    darren@3TRUTHSFitness.com
    www.3TRUTHSFitness.com

    #Building Better Humans

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      The “Calorie Counting” Trap

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