Counting calories will get you nowhere. In the long-term it will cause more harm than good. There are no benefits to calorie counting. On the other hand, there are countless benefits to throwing out all worries about the total calorie count in a particular food.
Read on to find out why counting calories causes more harm than good.
1. Calorie counting is extremely inaccurate
Counting calories with bullseye accuracy is impossible. Perfection is not necessary. However, there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. If you are off by 50 calories per day in the wrong direction (which is very easy to do) then you could easily put on 25 lbs of fat in just 5 years.
Read closely what I found from this page. There is no emphasis because every single word is vitally important.
The 29 restaurant meals and side dishes evaluated by the Tufts researchers were found to contain an average of 18% more calories than stated, and the 10 frozen meals from supermarkets were found to contain an average of 8% more. When applied to the typical 2,000 calorie per day diet, a caloric excess of just 5% can cause 10 pounds of weight gain in a single year. What’s even more alarming is that some of the foods evaluated had more than twice as many calories as stated.
You might wonder how restaurants and food manufacturers can get away with these discrepancies, but such a thought assumes that there are strict standards in place. There aren’t. The FDA only requires that the calorie content of packaged foods doesn’t exceed the stated amount by more than 20%. For restaurant foods, there’s no limit at all.
Yikes! This means that a low fat yoplait yogurt that has only 100 calories may actually have 120 calories. Oops! Do you now see how easy it can be to underestimate by 30 calories or more for an entire days worth of food?
Did you know that cooked food has more calories than raw food? For example, 100 grams of cooked broccoli has more calories than 100 grams of raw broccoli. Did you know that protein takes more calories to digest than fat and carbs? This means that your net caloric intake would be less from 100 calories of fatty meat vs 100 calories of a potato or banana.
2. Muscle burns more calories
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. In order to gain muscle, you need to eat more calories than you burn. There is no way around this.
The less you eat, the slower your metabolism. This means you burn less calories at rest.
Do NOT go obsess about how much fat you have. You need fat on your body. You may have too much but the absolute best way to lose that fat is slowly.
3. Quality is more important than quantity
Low fat yogurt has less calories per ounce than full fat yogurt. This is a very bad thing…
- The fat is replaced with sugar
- Vitamins A, E, K and D are stored in fat. Remove the fat and you remove those vitamins!
- The cost of full fat and low fat yogurt is probably the same per ounce. This means you are paying more for the low fat yogurt per calorie since there are less calories per ounce.
This is the case with all low fat foods. Skim milk is often presented as a super food. It’s far from it. It’s junk and can lead to a number of problems. Whole milk naturally contains vitamin A and D. Skim milk contains neither. When you look at the nutritional profile of skim milk you will notice it does have Vitamin A and D. This is because they added it back in after processing it. They will more than likely be synthetic vitamins. This can be very harmful.
To learn more on the truth of skim milk please read this excellent article: Why skim milk isn’t necessarily better.
If you count calories, then you may become obsessed with calorie counting. You may buy low fat this, fat free that. Can you lose fat doing this? Certainly. But it’s far from healthy. You are not getting all the nutrients your body desires.
Another example is the egg. Whole eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. However, most fear fat for several reasons. One of them is because they are counting calories and learn that one large egg yolk has around 50 calories and one egg white has only 20 calories.
The theory is that simply throwing out the yolk will lead to weight loss. I mean, you are saving 50 calories!! Ah ha! Guess what? One large egg white has about 9% DV of Selenium. It has no other vitamin and mineral. Egg yolks on the other hand? Full of vitamins and minerals.
If you choose not to count calories then you gladly eat the egg yolk. You also won’t starve later.
4. Calories provide energy
This is simple folks. A Calorie is a unit of energy. Given that you don’t stuff yourself and eat reasonably, the more you eat, the more energy you will have. Especially when you eat whole, real foods like an entire egg or a banana.
When you eat whole foods and don’t worry about how many calories you consume then you will never feel light headed. You will have more energy to walk, move around and exercise. Your mind will be more clear which will then burn through more of those calories you consume.
In short, it’s pure stupidity to limit your calorie intake.
5. Calorie counting will more than likely lead to stress
I think it’s safe to assume that most people who count calories like it’s their religion add stress to their life. Who wants this? No one does. Yet folks still count calories because they think they will lose weight and become healthier. This is a poor assumption as you have now learned.
I’m on my second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I’m doing very well with my slight modification of allowing more fruit and potatoes. I’m very mindful of what I am eating too. I failed miserably the first time around. Why is this time different? Food journaling is a big reason. I am writing down everything I eat. However, I am not weighing and measuring. I have no idea how many calories I am consuming!
Saturday, June 16 Food Log Day:
9:00 Breakfast: Smoothie with coffee, banana, coconut milk
1:30 Lunch: Smoothie with kombucha, mango, banana. Salad with spinach, onions, olives, half of an avocado, lime juice, chicken breast
6:30 Dinner: Fruit skewers, grilled burger without bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno mustard, potatoes, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper salad and kombucha to drink.
I had a fair amount of fruit on this day. No problem. I worked out intensely in the morning and it was super hot throughout the day. No junk. Dessert was served for our celebration of Father’s Day and my sister’s birthday but I easily passed it up.
I have no idea how many calories I consumed but I know that I fed my body the nutrition that it desired. I felt great afterwards and if I ate every day how I ate on this day then my body will naturally continue to get leaner. Yours will too if you do the same.
Isn’t this what you want? To get leaner without having to count calories?
6. It’s not a long term solution
I’ll admit that counting calories for a few days and maybe up to one week has its benefits. It allows you to become aware of what you are putting into your body. You learn that junk food not only has a lot of calories but is completely worthless when it comes to nutrition.
You also learn that high calorie foods like egg yolk, fatty meat, whole milk, real butter (especially grass-fed), potatoes and more are extremely nutrient dense.
This is a damn good thing.
This does not mean it’s a long-term healthy solution to effective fat loss! It’s far from it actually. I hope you understand this by now.
Instead, intuitive eating is probably your best solution.
7. Calorie counting prevents you from eating intuitively
You are an intuitive eater. If you knew nothing about the calorie, carb, fat, protein, vitamin and mineral profile about any food then you would naturally eat the foods that your body needs and wants. You know that cookies are bad for you. You know meat is real food and provides the elements that your body desires.
There are times when your body craves carbs. Other times it may crave more fat. There is a reason for this. It depends on a number of factors including activity, climate, season, whether or not you are pregnant, etc.
If you count calories then you will naturally lose this ability. It all of a sudden becomes about the calorie and nothing else. You may eat the egg yolk but because you have to eat under X amount of calories you may eat only 2 whole eggs instead of 3. This is a ginormous mistake.
You should NEVER dismiss a food just because it has X amount of calories. Never ever. In my strong opinion, it is extremely harmful to become a calorie counter. There is a time and place for it but the time is short as I explained above.
You are more than likely deficient in a few vitamins and/or minerals. I am too. You need to eat to obtain these nutrients. Eating the yolk with the white or eating one more whole egg can go a long ways.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to lose fat?
- Do you want to gain muscle?
- Are you trying to have a baby?
- Are you deficient in any vitamin and mineral?
- Are you depressed?
- Do you get sick often?
- Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?
If you answered yes to any of the questions then consider following this advice…
Do NOT count calories.
Do you count calories? Why or why not? Does reading this post change your mind? What other reasons do you have for or against calorie counting? Sound off in the comment section below!